How to Install Windows 10 on a New Hard Drive

Make sure to not delete anything on your old drive

What to Know

  • Use a Windows 10 DVD or USB drive with installer on to begin installation.
  • Follow the on screen instructions to create a new Windows install.
  • Make sure to select the correct drive to avoid unwanted data deletion.

This guide will walk you through the steps of Installing Windows 10 on a new hard drive. The steps are also applicable if installing to a new SSD.

Installing Windows 10 to a new drive is a different process to a factory reset of Windows 10 or reinstalling Windows 10 on an existing drive. Follow our guides for more help with those processes.

How Do I Install Windows 10 on a New Hard Drive?

Before you begin installing Windows 10 to a new drive, it may be beneficial to unplug any other drives that are connected – especially if they contain sensitive data that you wish to preserve. You don't have to do this, but if you do it makes it impossible for you to accidentally delete anything, so is worth considering.

  1. Install your new hard drive (or SSD) in your computer.

  2. Plug in your Windows 10 installation USB drive or insert the Windows 10 disk.

  3. Change the boot order in the BIOS to boot from your install media.

  4. Boot to your Windows 10 installation USB drive or DVD.

  5. When given the option, select the Language, Time, and Keyboard Language, then select Next.

  6. Input your license (or product) key.

  7. Select Install Now.

  8. Confirm that you accept the License Agreement and select Next.

  9. Select Custom: Install Windows only (Advanced).

    The following screen will give you hard access to all the drives installed on your system. When it comes to selecting which one to format and install Windows to, it is incredibly important that you select the correct one. If you accidentally select a different drive, that data may be irreparably lost, or hard to recover.

  10. When asked Where do you want to install Windows, look for your new drive. It should be easy to spot because it will be entirely Unallocated Space and will be the same size as the new drive. Select that drive and select Format. You can create your own preferred number of partitions by selecting New, or, just select Next to begin the Windows installation.

Windows will then begin installing on your new hard drive. Depending on the speed of your hard drive and your PC's processor, this process may take some time. Regardless of how long it takes, you'll be able to follow along as the status page moves through the process.

Installing Windows 10

Can I Clean Install Windows 10 on a New Hard Drive?

Absolutely. It's arguably the easiest way to install Windows 10 as you don't need to worry about backing up any data and the drive is almost guaranteed to work perfectly without any hardware issues from years of use.

How Do I Install Windows 10 Without The Disk?

To install Windows 10 on a new hard drive without the installation disk, you'll need to make a Windows 10 installation USB drive.

How Do I Install Windows 10 on a New Computer Without Operating System?

The process for installing Windows 10 on a new computer without an operating system is exactly the same as it would be if you were doing so on a computer with an operating system. The only caveat to that is that you need the installation media, whether that's a Windows 10 disk, or a bootable USB drive with Windows 10 installation files loaded on it. Getting that can be a little harder without an active PC.

If you don't have either of those, you'll have to buy them direct from Microsoft. Alternatively, if you have a Windows 10 key, but no way to install it, you could buy a Windows disk (only) from a second-hand site, or alternatively, use a friend's computer to create a bootable Windows 10 install USB.

Once you have the install media in hand, follow the same steps as you would to install Windows 10 on a new hard drive as above.

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