Best Way to Install Win10 on a New Desktop PC Build

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So…ordered some parts for a Christmas desktop build.

It has been a while since I’ve built out a custom PC. Like over a decade.

I think i have most everything sorted except the modern age of installing operating systems. 😉

What is the best way to install Windows on a bare-bones system nowadays.

I had just planned on buying a Windows package from Newegg or whatever. But then I got thinking there is probably a much better way to do this.

So I had considered downloading an Insider Build ISO and dropping it on a USB key drive. I think most modern BIOS should have no issues booting a USB key.

And once it is up I should be able to log into my Windows Account and purchase the activation.

But I’m sure there are many people experienced with this here, so I’m open to better ideas.

Comments (10)

10 responses to “Best Way to Install Win10 on a New Desktop PC Build”

  1. jimchamplin

    If you’re going to stop using your old machine, you can install it, telling Setup you don’t have a key. When you log in with the same MSA you’ve been using, it should activate.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      Appreciate that tip, but it will be a new PC so it’ll need a new Windows license.


      It is partly for gaming but mostly to see if I can better setup my development toolchain in Windows. (A few years ago when I last tried it was too painful, but I’m looking forward to trying WSL / Docker / etc on a powerful desktop.)

      • infloop

        In reply to curtisspendlove:


        Just a heads up: the licenses sold by Newegg are OEM/system builder licenses that can't be used for personal use. It was only with the Windows 8 System Builder license did they allow you to use it for personal use (you had to go to the provided URL on the package and agree to the PUL terms there). With Windows 8.1 and 10 they removed that ability, and you have to purchase a full retail license for DIY builds, virtual machines, or installing in Boot Camp.


        EDIT: looks like Newegg added back the full retail versions again. It's been a while since I last bought a Windows license.

        • curtisspendlove

          In reply to infloop:

          Yeah. I remember all the old OEM discounts you’d get if you bought Windows along with a CPU or a HDD.


          These seem like full licenses though. But that isn’t my main concern. I was mostly asking for suggestions on the download / install portion. I don’t mind buying a new license.

      • jimchamplin

        In reply to curtisspendlove:

        Will the old machine be retired? If so, then the license can be transferred.

        • curtisspendlove

          In reply to jimchamplin:

          It will most likely passed downward to a mini-me. This is intended to be a productivity machine (and sometimes personal gaming rig) in my new home office.


          The old machine will probably take up residence in the den as a family computer. If not I will transfer the license and decommission the old machine.


          Appreciate the thoughts. This new machine will be a money maker, so having to add a windows license isn’t a big deal.


          I’m mostly trying to see if WSL (and the fact that I do a whole lot less Ruby programming nowadays) will make a Windows primary development machine less painful than it was a few years ago.


          If not, it will be loaded with a GeForce GTX 1080 and new RGB fans. ;)

  2. ChristopherCollins

    Use the media creation tool to build a new USB installer with your working machine.


    During the setup process, when it asks for a key, you can either use the one from the old machine or any Win 7, 8, or 8.1 key you may have that is no longer in use and it will activate to your MSA after setup.


    They never closed the loophole on old keys all the way. The only quirk is that it will only work if you type it in at the beginning of setup and not after you have completed installation.


    You're welcome to buy another if you like, but MS makes it pretty easy to get going as they want more users on the 10 platform.

  3. Darekmeridian

    I wouldn't start out with an Insider build. I would get the standard released version to make sure that's stable enough then jump on the insider train once your happy with that.


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