Windows 10 Clean Install

I’m finally moving to Windows 10 on my main build, as support for Win7 draws to a close in January, and I suggest everyone still not on 10 go ahead and move over before all the Ransomware attacks are unleashed.

Whether you are building your own PC from scratch or are purchasing a ready assembled system that comes with Windows 10 Home, I recommend purchasing the Windows 10 Pro USB from any Microsoft Store for $199, as it allows you to use the same key regardless of how low-level your wipes are and what Hardware changes you make, including a completely new PC. It never goes on sale, so just bite the bullet there.

If you upgraded from Windows 7 or have a PC that came pre-installed with Win10Home, and you build a new PC or change the CPU & Motherboard, you will have to buy a new version anyway.

The cheaper OEM Keys you buy online won’t work for new Hardware, and you’ll have to buy a new one each time you make a major hardware change or PC upgrade. The Cheaper keys you find on E-bay may or may not work, and may only work for a certain amount of time, and can stop working at any time, depending on what the seller is doing with the keys, how others are using them, etc, and Microsoft can at any time just blacklist the keys. Some of the Win10Pros may also actually be fake hacks that appear to say Windows 10 Pro but are in fact Windows 10 Home, and won’t have BitLocker Functionality, Virtual Machines, Group Policy Editor, etc.

I recommend Win 10 Pro for these important functions:

  • Group Policy Editor, perhaps the most important reason, as it’s the only way to get some semblance of control over your PC.
  • Hyper-V & Windows Sandbox Virtual Machines are very useful for countless reasons, especially building various Bootable Media & working with different OS’s, and you can enter the Machine from a play button right in Windows Explorer which is super cool
  • BitLocker, WIP & Device Guard are of course very valuable for security reasons
  • Assigned Access, Active Directory & Remote Desktop are great for Admins where more than one person may be using the same computer
  • There are some other cool business features like Kiosk Mode, etc
  • Also, Win10Pro supports 2TB of RAM vs the 128GB of Win10Home, so your investment will future proof you PC experience for Years to come, when we’re all getting 128GB RAM per stick

You can just buy the Key online from MS without the USB and burn your own drive, but the USB Stick and nice box it comes in with a built-in sleeve for your Key Card are well worth the $10 difference in price.

Having a Physical Copy of Windows 10 Pro with Full Retail License in your Personal Ownership is essential for anyone who builds computers or upgrades them frequently.

First Thing you have to do is wipe the SSD & HDD Drives you have, even if they are fresh out of the box. There are strong evidences of pre-installation / assembly tampering at the Manufacturers by National & International Spy Agencies.

Download a good Low-level wiping program, such as Boot & Nuke and create a Bootable USB Media with it

Boot into the USB through your UEFI or Bios Settings and use it to wipe the drives at the lowest level possible. This could take a very long time, but just let it run, with your PC unplugged from the internet, with modem & router power unplugged.

After it’s completed, boot into your Win10ProUSB drive

If you chose to skip the Government Wipe, you may need to convert your Drive to GPT Partions before Windows 10 will allow you to install. Even if you have UEFI already, which requires GPT, Windows may say that it cannot install because it is GPT, in which case you’ll just change the drives to GPT anyway and then you can proceed. If this seems backwards it’s because it is, and one can only surmise that it is to deter people from wiping their drives or doing any clean installs at all.

From the Drive Selection Screen, hit Shift+F10 to open a command prompt, then type the following and hit enter after each:

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk 0
  • clean
  • convert gpt

Repeat with disk 1 and whatever other disks which were listed in “list disk”. Be careful NOT to do it with the drive you have your Windows 10 USB on, though, by matching the drive size listed with the usb stick size used.

From here you can just install as normal, making sure to opt out of all options and cortana or other “convenience” features

After install is complete, edit your Group Policy by searching Group Policy, then turn off any Cloud Services and all the OneNote stuff and Cortana stuff you find in both Computer & User Config > Administrative > Windows Components

Turn off Windows Sounds, Set Task Bar theme colors for Windows & App Modes, Transparencies etc

Then set Show File Extensions & Hidden Files in Folder Options

Unpin everything from your Taskbar, and if you want to restore Quicklaunch, you can do so by following the instructions here

I also set Show Taskbar Buttons only on Taskbar where Windows is Open for multi-monitors.

Set your UEFI to Secure Boot if you are only using Windows

Change your User Account to a Local Account Only

Then Plug back into the internet and download Firefox, and I recommend FVD Speeddial to quickly load all of your non-sensitive favorites & sites from all your devices onto your new system via Sync. I also recommend going to about:config and searching for “lasttab” and setting it to False, and setting FVDspeed dial as your home page.

Then use Firefox to download a good 3rd Party Security Program; I highly recommend ESET NOD.

Then go to your Motherboard Manufacturers website and search for the MoBo model in your PC and download any Drivers & Utilities etc.

Then Download your Graphics Drivers, CPU Drivers & Interfaces, Audio Drivers, or any other device drivers & utilities you need for any additional hardware that you have on your system.

Then I recommend installing Classic Shell or the Fork Open Shell for a better Menu Environment. You can also use it to set your taskbar color to a dark RGB27grey, set the look to transparent or glass, and adjust your taskbar transparency to around 60 or so. You can also increase menu speeds, etc. It will let you change your Start Menu Button to something custom, such as found here

I also recommend QTTabBar for a highly improved Tabbed Windows Experience. Set QTTabBar Options > Events to:

  • Navigation Pane > Click on > Open New Tab
  • Address Bar > Click on > Navigate in Active Tab
  • Command Button > Click on > Open in New Tab
  • Subfolder Menu > Click on > Navigate in Active Tab

 

 

 

 

 

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