Fear NOT! Windows 10 Clean Install not scary at all…

wtenproSo my Dell XPS PC was pretty state-of-the-art back in the day. It came with Windows Vista installed, so we’re going back what 10 + years? I’ve update Windows on this through Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. All of those were updates “on top” of pre-existing ones. Considering the barrage of crap thrown at this machine, I’ve held it together quite well.

Going from builds 1709 to 1803 (yes I live on the bleeding edge of technology as a Windows Insider) caused a bit of a few “niggly” issues. Unfortunately for me, these things start to bug the bejesus out of me long term. I knew I should perform a “Clean Install,” but really dreaded the process.


So I finally bit the bullet. I was going to go the route of buying a suitable thumb drive, using media creation tool, creating an ISO file, hop on one foot, pray to the old DOS G*ds… then I decided to go the easy way. I had attended a Microsoft Alumni event at Microsoft Campus last Friday and dropped by the Company Store. I bought the Windows 10 package which comes on a very small USB drive, the equivalent of making your own but easier and less of a pain for me.

I can’t tell you how much of a glorious experience this was, really I shit thee not! Made sure my BIOS was able to read USB first before defaulting to the hard drive, put the device in the PC and I was on my way, no turning back now. It hand held me through the entire process first asking which partitions I wanted to delete (I boldly selected and deleted ALL of them, I’m such a rebel). And we went from there.

Took 20-minutes for the “clean install” (the speed of my old hard drive is what slowed this down, newer HDs or even SSDs would go faster I’m sure), An additional 23-minutes for necessary updates. And folks that was it! What took the longest amount of time was turning on Windows Insider and going from 1709 to 1803 (April Update) which took 60-minutes. So 1-hour and 43-minutes later I had a spanking NEW PC.


By-the-way… Cortana’s help during the install was something I hadn’t experienced before… she was very helpful and made the process even cooler.

I was so dang impressed, I grab another computer in the house for another surgery… a gifted Lenovo 110S laptop. It came with Windows 8.x and I had updated it to Win 10. That didn’t go so well on a laptop with VERY limited RAM and practically no hard drive space. The update really crippled the machine, just not enough room on the HD to get things done properly. So I went at it with the Windows 10 flash drive, low and behold the Lenovo was resurrected! The machine is quite sprite now, using Wi-Fi with Office 365 apps via the Cloud, this machine (which would have been a doorstop) ROCKS now!

The Install and especially the Clean Install process is something that Microsoft got VERY RIGHT! This was a great experience and I’m sorry I hadn’t done it sooner, but trepidation for clean installs where you’re formatting HDs is real folks.

NOTE: 10 Days Later!

So shortly after doing a clean install on my 10+yr. old Dell XPS… I decided to take the plunge and upgrade to an SSD drive.

Amazon had a good price in some WD SSD drives and I bit the bullet. Nothing like being on the “bleeding edge of technology” eh?

So WD (Western Digital) also provides access to one of their software apps named Acronis. This app allows you to “clone” your hard drive, the entire hard drive with your OS and everything else.

Pretty much plug and play. I plugged it into the tower and rebooted. I started the cloning process and a few hours later (due to the slow HDD) the process finished and shut the PC down for me. Unplugged the original C: drive (so the new cloned drive which when finished was D: drive… takes the place of the original C: drive).

Damn, so FAST! The boot time is incredible; the apps opening are fast, switching user accounts, everything is FAST! After it was determined everything was hunky-dory, I plugged the old drive back in, rebooted and changed appropriate settings in the BIOS so the starting sequence was correct.

Glad I made the update, breathed life into an old work horse.

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