How to Install Windows 10 on a Hard Drive with Pictures (Step-by-Step)

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What you need to Install Windows 10 on a Hard Drive

To install Windows 10 on a hard drive you need the following:

  1. A Window 10 DVD
  2. A valid Windows 10 key (Home, Pro or Enterprise)
  3. A computer that meets the Windows 10 installation requirements (See below)

Download Windows 10 ISO Image

To proceed with how to install Windows 10 on a hard drive, you need a Windows 10 DVD, ISO or USB. If you need to download Windows 10 ISO to create your DVD, follow the steps below:

First Step: Click Download Windows 10 – when the link opens click Download tool now – save the file MediaCreationTool1809.exe on your computer.

how to install windows 10
Click Download tool now link to download MediaCreationTool1809.exe - save it to your computer

Second Step: Double-click MediaCreationTool1809.exe – respond Yes to the User Account Control dialogue. The image below will show. Wait for it to do its it then when it is ready, click Next.

How to install windows 10 - First image that shows when you click MediaCreationTool1809.exe - wait for license agreement to load.

When license agreement loads, accept it and proceed. See image below:

Then select the option to create installation media for another PC, click Next.

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Select the option "Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD or ISO file) for another PC"

Select language, architecture and edition. If you wish to change the recommended, uncheck “Use the recommended options for this PC”, click Next.

Select language, architecture and edition. If you wish to change the recommended, uncheck "Use the recommended options for this PC"

Next, select the option to save to flash drive or save to ISO. If you wish to install using a DVD (recommended), select ISO file. Click Next.

select the option to save to flash drive or save to ISO. If you wish to install using a DVD (recommended), select ISO file.

Select where you want to save the ISO file on your computer then click Save.

Select where you want to save the ISO file on your computer then click Save.

Windows 10 ISO download progress bar will show. When it finishes downloading, burn your ISO to to DVD and proceed with how to install Windows 10.

how to install windows 10 - Windows 10 ISO download progress bar will show. When it finishes downloading burn your ISO to to DVD and proceed with how to install Windows 10
How to Install Windows 10 (Pro Tip):
If you are installing to a virtual machine (VM) you could connect the ISO image directly to the VM and perform the installation – no need to burn to DVD.

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Requirements to Install Windows 10 on a Hard Drive

Microsoft provides Window 10 minimum requirements but I will give my recommended installation requirements. Below are the Windows 10 minimum installation requirements:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit Windows 10 or 2 GB for 64-bits
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 800×600

Though Microsoft provides this minimum requirements, I recommend that your computer meets the following hardware requirements for better performance:

  • Processor: 2.5 GHz Dual Core minimum (faster processor is better)
  • RAM: 4 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 320 GB (or more)
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver (Any modern graphics card should do)
  • Display: 1920X1080 (Full HD)

Hopefully by now you should be feeling more confident about how to install windows 10. Next step is to get a valid Windows 10 key. Before you decide what Windows 10 key to buy, lets me share with you the Windows 10 editions/versions available to you.

Windows 10 Editions and Versions

FeaturesHome EditionPro Edition
Maximum RAM4 GB on IA-32,
128 GB on x86-64
4 GB on IA-32
2 TB (2048 GB) on x86-64
Family Safety and Parental ControlsYesNo
Microsoft Edge Yes Yes
Mobile device management Yes Yes
Microsoft Store suggestions YesYes
Windows Subsystem for LinuxAvailable in 64-bits Available in 64-bits
Hyper-V No Available in 64-bits
BitLocker No Yes
AppLocker No No
Windows Information Protection No Yes

The edition comparison table above is for none business users. If you are learning how to install Windows 10 for business use, click Compare Windows 10 editions.

Also, for the table above, I included the features that I believe is required by most users. If you need to take a look at the full feature comparison, click Windows 10 editions.

Please take a good look at the comparison table as it is an important requirement to learn how to install Windows 10. The table will also help you make a choice depending on the features you need.

How to Install Windows 10 (Pro Tip):

If you are leaning how to install Windows 10 for home use, I recommend you go for Home Edition but if you need more RAM, Hyper-V or BitLocker, Window 10 Pro is usually okay for most users.
If you need to Family Safety and Parental Controls, then you MUST install Windows 10 Home as this is the only edition that supports this feature.

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How to Buy a Valid Windows 10 key

Now that you have made a choice what edition of Windows 10 to install, the next step in how to install Windows 10 is to get a license.

How to Install Windows 10 (Pro Tip):

What determines your edition is the license key you used. So ensure you buy the right license key.

I will recommend 2 options to purchase a license key. Option 1 is to buy from Amazon. Below I have a list you could chose from (the first lists are Home edition, the second, Pro):

My second option for you is to buy directly from Microsoft. The links below will take you to the Microsoft pages where you can buy Windows 10 Home and Pro respectively

Buy Windows 10 Home From Microsoft

Buy Windows 10 Pro From Microsoft

How to Install Windows 10 on a Hard Drive (Configure Boot Sequence)

Now that you have all the requirements, the steps below will show you how to install windows 10. First you need to configure your computer to

Step #1 Insert Widows 10 DVD into your Computers DVD drive and boot your computer

Just after starting your computer, press the F key (Function key) that boots your computer to BIOS. To get a list of F key to boot to your computer’s BIOS, click BIOS Keys by Manufacturer.

Step #2 Set Your Computer to Boot From DVD

When your computer boots to BIOS, locate the boot sequence, move DVD to the top of the boot sequence save and exit BIOS. See the image below for what your boot sequence may look like.

how to install windows 10 (Sample computer BIOS boot sequence)
How to Install Windows 10 (Sample computer BIOS boot sequence)
How to Install Windows 10 (Pro Tip):
Ensure you save your changes before you exit BIOS

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How to Install Windows 10 on a Hard Drive (Setup)

Below we continue the installation from step #3

Step #3 Start Installation from DVD

Once you exit BIOS, you will be prompted to click any key to boot from DVD.

How to Install Windows 10 (Pro Tip):

The splash screen “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…” disappears very quickly – so when you exit BIOS, you need to be ready to respond otherwise the screen will disappear and you have to restart the computer again.
how to install windows 10 - Splash screen "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD..."

Step #4 Configure Preferences

Select Language, Time & Currency and Keyboard to Install, click Next.

how to install windows 10 - Select Language, Time & Currency and Keyboard to Install

Step #5 Install Windows 10!

Next click Install Now to begin windows 10 installation.

how to install windows 10 - click Install to begin windows 10 installation ).png

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Step #6 Enter a Valid Product Key

You would have purchased a Windows 10 product key for the edition you wish to install. Enter it in the “Activate Windows” screen and click Next. However, if you do not have a product key yet, click i don’t have a product key – for the purpose of this tutorial, I am selecting this this option.

Enter a valid windows 10 product key

Step #7 Accept License Agreement

Once you have entered a valid product key and clicked Next, the installer will validate your key and display the next license agreement screen. Accept the agreement and click Next.

How to Install Windows 10 (Pro Tip):

If you do not provide a valid product key, you have up to 180 days to evaluate Windows 10 – then you will be required to register a product key. You will need a trial license key.
how to Install Windows 10 - accept license agreement

Step #8 Select Your Installation Option

On the next scree, select “Custom: Install Windows only (Advanced)”

select installation option - select "Custom: Install Windows only (Advanced)"

Step #9 Select a Hard Drive to Install Windows 10

Select the hard drive you wish to install the OS on and click Next.

how to Install Windows 10 - select the HDD you wish to install in and click next
Your computer may have more than one hard disk installed. Select the hard drive you wish to install Windows 10.

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Step #10 Wait for Windows 10 to Install!

Finally, you at the last stages of this tutorial! At this point wait for windows 10 to finish installation then move to step #11.

Step #11 Confirm Your Region

Check that the region is correct and click Yes to continue. Otherwise, select your region and click Yes.

Step #12 Confirm Your Keyboard Layout

Select a different country if the wrong region is displayed for you then click Yes. On the next screen, click Skip. Then wait for the installer to do its thing.

how to Install Windows 10 - confirm keyboard layout
how to Install Windows 10 - skip adding additional keyboards
how to Install Windows 10 - wait for the installer to complete this stage

The installer will take some time to complete some final configuration settings. All you have to do is wait!

Step #13 Create a User Name and Password

Now you should feel more confident about how to install windows 10! You are almost done! At the next screen enter the name (username) of the person that will be using the PC.

You could also select to use an online account – say your windows live account. Click Next.

how to Install Windows 10 - add a user

Enter a password for the user and click Next then confirm the password (enter the same password) then click Next again.

create a password then confirm the password.

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Step #14 Create Security Questions and Answers

Next, create security questions and provide your answers for the account. You need to create 3 questions and answers.

Here is how: select your first question from the drop-down, provide your answer, click Next.

create security questions and answers for the user account
How to install Windows 10 (Pro Tip):

If at any stage during this phase of the installation you are asked to select whether to setup for personal or organization, select your choice.

Step #15 Set Up Cortana and Other Configurations

This is optional. To read more about Cortana, click Cortana. Your intelligent assistant across your life. For the purposes of this tutorial I declined!

At the next screen, configure across device activity history.

how to Install Windows 10 - configure across device activity history

Configure voice recognition.

Configure voice recognition

..and location services

Configure location services

Next, configure find my device

Decide whether to send full or basic diagnostics information to Microsoft.

how to Install Windows 10 - send diagnostic information or not

Decide whether to send inking and typing information to Microsoft or not.

send inking and typing information to Microsoft or not

Accept or decline this.

At this point you are wondering does it take this long to install windows 10? Yes, it does but you are almost there!

Allow apps to use advertising ID or not.

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Step #16 Windows 10 Installation is Complete!

You have just completed How to Install Windows 10 tutorial. All you have to do now is to wait for the installer to finalize its tasks and you have a brand new Window 10 installation!

All you need to do now is enter your password, login and enjoy!

Window 10 login screen

More Resources and References

  1. Download Windows 10
  2. Compare Windows 10 editions
  3. Windows 10 editions
  4. Buy Windows 10 Home From Microsoft
  5. Buy Windows 10 Pro From Microsoft
  6. BIOS Keys by Manufacturer
  7. Cortana. Your intelligent assistant across your life

Other Tutorials You May Be Interested In

  1. 18 PowerShell Commands Every Windows Admin Should Know
  2. ForEach PowerShell: Applications with examples

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