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Standard User binary
(member) Sun 20-Nov-16 17:27:28
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Fresh install of Windows 10 after a total disk wipe?


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Hi, I've been tasked with doing something that has suddenly become a bit urgent and I'm kinda busy at the mo, so my apologies to anyone who thinks I should have googled around for the answers a bit more... the various help pages I have just quickly scanned through don't appear to cover my situation.

I have a laptop running Windows 10, which was upgraded for free from Windows 8.1. It has had a load of information stored on it of varying degrees of confidentiality.

I want to securely wipe the hard drive and then re-install Windows 10 afresh, then the laptop is going to be handed over to a grateful recipient who needs one pronto.

Obviously there isn't any installation media (DVD etc) for Windows 10 as it was a free digital download from Microsoft, and if there ever was an install/recovery DVD for Windows 8 then there is no longer.

I understand that the Windows 10 licence is tied to a particular machine via a 'hardware fingerprint' - so will I be able to just go about installing Windows 10 without any product keys etc and it'll just work? I'm not planning on changing the hardware at all.

I am aware of the existence of the Windows 10 'media creation tool'... I'm guessing this is what I need.

For wiping the hard drive I was planning on using the 'Disk Wipe' freeware program.

Thanks very much for any useful pointers!
Standard User micksharpe
(legend) Sun 20-Nov-16 17:52:51
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Re: Fresh install of Windows 10 after a total disk wipe?


[re: binary] [link to this post]
 
There should be no problem and a fresh install of Windows 10 on the same hardware will be activated automatically. See:
When you install and activate Windows 10 on a system for the first time, the installer confirms that you have a “genuine Windows” system installed and registers your hardware with Microsoft’s servers. After that, you shouldn’t have to enter that key again on the same PC–Microsoft will recognize your hardware the next time you install Windows 10 on that machine, confirm it’s registered, and automatically activate itself.
Standard User zyborg47
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 20-Nov-16 19:54:36
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Re: Fresh install of Windows 10 after a total disk wipe?


[re: binary] [link to this post]
 
If windows 10 is a OEM, in that the original Os, be it windows 7 or 8 was installed ont he laptop from new, then yes windows 10 will now be linked to the hardware, If the original Os was a retail, which i doubt it was, then Windows 10 will be linked to the key of the original OS.

windows 10 media creator is the best way, t a clean install of windows 10 is the best way to go. you will need a USB pen drive, large enough to hold the uninstalled version of Windows 10 and also another computer so you can put Windows 10 on that pen drive.

Disk wipe will do the job, but remember there is only one way you can be 100% sure that the data is gone and that is to shred the drive platters and destroy the drive.

Adrian

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Standard User binary
(member) Sun 20-Nov-16 23:43:43
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Re: Fresh install of Windows 10 after a total disk wipe?


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
Thanks zyborg,

Yes the previous Windows 8 installation was OEM not retail. Seems like it will actually be as easy as I'd hoped it'd be!

Re the installation file produced by the Windows 10 media creation tool (what a mouthful), would it not be possible to create that file on the USB pen drive using the computer I wish to wipe (before wiping it, obviously!)?

The information isn't super duper top secret - it wasn't actually my laptop, and most of the files have been (non-securely) deleted already before I got it so I can't provide a definitive judgement, not that I'd want to go nosing around said stuff anyway. But it wouldn't justify a data recovery type operation.

It was just that I had been saying to the previous owner that they should really do some sort of secure wipe before handing the machine on, and so I got lumbered with actually doing it! In particular I remember a friend buying an older second hand Mac to tide them over for a while, and it had all sorts of accounts files saved on it which I'm sure weren't supposed to be for all and sundry to see. Not best practice!
Standard User binary
(member) Sun 20-Nov-16 23:44:34
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Re: Fresh install of Windows 10 after a total disk wipe?


[re: micksharpe] [link to this post]
 
Thanks, I'll report back my success (or otherwise) once I've done it.
Standard User David_W
(knowledge is power) Mon 21-Nov-16 13:17:26
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Re: Fresh install of Windows 10 after a total disk wipe?


[re: binary] [link to this post]
 
As has been said, the correct way to reinstall is to use the Media Creation Tool. This can create a bootable USB stick or an ISO (for mounting in a virtual machine or burning to a DVD). Microsoft store activations of free upgrades on their servers, so hardware that had a free upgrade to Windows 10 should reactivate without problem.


One potential wrinkle with handing on a machine that has been upgraded free of charge is that Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Windows 10 version 1607) has the ability to link an activation to a Microsoft account. This can only happen if you have an Administrator user linked to a Microsoft account. I thought user intervention was required to link the activation, but on my three Windows 10 Pro VMs (all upgrades from Windows 8 Pro) the linkage seemed to happen automatically. I'm not bothered as the activations are stored in my Microsoft account and they are my VMs. However, if you are transferring an upgraded machine to a new user, it would be better if the activation was linked to their Microsoft account so that they do not need to log in to your Microsoft account if automatic reactivation based on machine identity fails.



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Standard User zyborg47
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 21-Nov-16 17:37:15
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Re: Fresh install of Windows 10 after a total disk wipe?


[re: binary] [link to this post]
 
Yes, yuou can use the computer you are going to wipe to create the bootable pen drive.,

Easy peasy to be honest, it is pretty self explanatory once you run the windows media creator.

Adrian

Desktop machine now powered by windows 8.1 pro 64bit, no dreaded metro, laptop by Linux

Plusnet FTTC
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