How To Clean Install Windows 10 Without Windows 10 License Key

A couple of days ago something weird happened to my Windows 10 Laptop & that made me think of how to do Windows 10 clean install.  I was afraid to lose my Windows 10 license key as I was going to reinstall it again. But, NO! you will not lose your Windows 10 key if you fall under the below category. Read On…

In this article, I will show you the exact method on how to clean install Windows 10 without Windows 10 license key.

How To Clean Install Windows 10

This article is for those Windows 10 users who took part in Windows 10 free upgrade.

So by saying that I mean the users who upgraded there licensed Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 to Windows 10 for free by taking part in Windows 10 free upgrade program a couple of years ago.

Also Read: How To Check For Windows 10 Updates?

So if you do not fall into the above category of Windows 10 users then this article is of no use to you.

Also, do not trust software or programs like Windows 10 product key finder etc. as it will not make your Windows 10 genuine. Instead, buy Windows 10 product key from the Microsoft store.

So let’s see how to clean install Windows 10 and how to activate Windows 10 without product key.

How To Clean Install Windows 10

We will be using the below tools/programs in order to do the clean install of Windows 10:

  • A USB thumb drive or a DVD with almost 8GB of free space.(USB drive is better)
  • Windows 10 Media Creation tool.

Ok, so I assume you have USB ready with you? We are going to make Windows 10 bootable USB for the clean install of Windows 10. Please follow the below steps:

Windows 10 Installation Steps Screenshots:

  • Insert USB drive and make sure you do not have any data in it. During the process, your USB will be formatted so if you do have any data on your USB just make a backup of it somewhere on the laptop/PC other then C drive(Includes desktop, my documents, pictures, downloads etc.)
  • Go to Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and click on Download tool Now button.

download media creation tool

  • Once the Media Creation Tool is downloaded double click on it to launch the tool. It will do its thing for few seconds and will take you to the Windows 10 Terms & Conditions window.

media creation tool startup

  • Click Accept when you see Terms & Conditions window.

Windows 10 setup terms and conditions

  • Select Create installation media(USB Flash Drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC & click NEXT.

create windows 10 installation media

  • The next window will take you to the selection of Language, Edition & Architecture. If you are doing this whole process on the same laptop/PC where you want to do the clean install of Windows 10 then just make sure that the option Use the recommended options for this PC is checked & then click NEXT.
  • If you are making this Windows 10 bootable USB for a different PC then just uncheck Use the recommended options for this PC & select as per the other PC specifications. Please choose the exact same specification for the other PC.

Windows 10 setup choose build

  • Now select USB Flash Drive.
  • You can also select the second option ISO file if you want to install Windows 10 from DVD. The second option will create the Windows 10 ISO file on your computer that you can use to burn to a DVD. For now, let’s stay with the USB Flash Drive to reinstall Windows 10 from USB

Windows 10 bootable usb

  • After selecting USB Flash Drive and clicking NEXT you will see that your USB is on the list(Refresh drive list if you do not find the USB).

Windows 10 usb drive bootable

  • After selecting your USB Flash Drive and clicking NEXT. Windows 10 Media Creation Tool will start the Windows 10 Downloading process.

media creation tool last step

  • Once the download is finished just follow the steps in the Media Creation Tool window and complete the process.

Ok, If you have done all the above process you should have a Windows 10 bootable USB Flash Drive ready. If something went wrong during this whole process just let me know by using the comment section.

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool downloads Windows 10 with no errors most of the time. But in some cases, the download could be interrupted due to internet connectivity or power failures.

Moving to the next process.

Windows 10 Fresh Install

  • Now restart your PC and make sure that Windows 10 USB Flash Drive is already inserted into the USB port of your PC.
  • When the PC loads up again start pressing F12 or F2 continuously(basically you have to enter your PC BIOS ). It will bring you few options to select.
  • Select USB or Flash Drive as the bootable device and hit Enter.
  • After doing the above steps Windows 10 USB Flash Drive will boot and will begin the installation process. Select the options as per your need and click NEXT.

Windows 10 fresh install

  • Click on Install Now.

Install Windows 10

  • Now on the next screen, it will ask you for the Windows 10 Product Key to activate Windows 10. But as i have already stated in the beginning of this article that if you are the Windows 10 user who upgraded to Windows 10 successfully by taking part in the Windows 10 free upgrade program than you do not need to worry about Windows 10 product key.
  • Leave the Product Key field blank and click on SKIP and then NEXT.

Windows 10 Product key

  • Accept Terms & Conditions. Read it if you want before accepting 😉

terms & conditions

  • On the next screen select Custom: Install Windows Only (Advanced).

Install windows only custom option

  • After that, you will see all your drives listed. Actually, those are your drive partitions. Select the C drive or Partition 1 (System Drive).

IMPORTANT: Please be cautious which drive you are selecting. As we have to format the drive that will wipe out all your data that is on the drive. So only select the drive which has Type=System.

Do not overstress the below screenshot as I have only one partition on one of my PC.

select the system drive

  • Format the drive that you selected for the clean install of Windows 10 and then click NEXT.
  • On the next screen Windows 10 will begin its installation process. During the whole process, your PC will restart multiple times.
  • Be sure to unplug USB Flash drive from the PC when it restarts. Failing to do so will take you to the first step of the process again. But if it happens do not panic. Just remove the Windows 10 USB flash drive and again force restart your PC.

You May Like: How To Get Help In Windows 10


That’s it Windows 10 will do its thing for some time and there you have clean install Windows 10 without Windows 10 license key.

I hope this article on How to clean install Windows 10 after free upgrade helped you to do the job. If you really appreciate this detailed Windows 10 guide please do share on social media.

Any Questions? Do not hesitate to comment below your doubts or questions. I will try to help you out with the process.

5/5 - (2 votes)


Rizwan is the Founder of WindowsQnA who is always ready to solve queries related to Windows OS. Apart from blogging and helping Windows OS users he loves to travel and enjoy earing Asian food.
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You made the updates and changes. Have your techs improve it so everything is done automatically
without all this hassle and time consuming, frustrating exercises to get it to work.


Hello Jim,

Thanks for visiting Windows 10 Helper. Jim, we are not associated with Microsoft in any way. We are a blog where we write free guides on Windows 10 to help Windows 10 users all around the globe. Thanks

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