Without the operating system (OS) a computer can’t do anything. Installing an OS isn’t rocket science, but it can be a little tricky for beginners.

This guide will walk you through installing Windows 10 on a new computer from start to finish. You’ll also learn how to create a recovery drive.

Hardware Requirements

When you’re installing a new computer or upgrading an older one with the latest version of Microsoft Windows, you need to ensure that your hardware meets the minimum requirements. Whether you want to run the operating system to take advantage of its usability and security features or you’re interested in using it with certain applications, you’ll need a minimum level of hardware for your machine to be able to install Windows properly. The process of installing the software has remained fairly consistent over recent versions, but it’s important to know what hardware is needed for your specific setup.

While the basic hardware requirements are minimal, it’s important to remember that you’ll also need more advanced computer components to get the most out of the software. Even with the minimum system specifications, you’ll need a fairly high-end processor and at least 4 GB of RAM to handle typical computing tasks. This is especially true if you plan to use Windows for gaming or other memory-intensive activities.

You’ll also need a USB flash drive that’s 8 GB or larger. The drive should be empty and preferably formatted with the Fat32 or exFAT file system. During the installation process, the Windows files will be copied onto the USB drive, so it’s important to have enough space on your device to accommodate these files. These days, you can pick up a flash drive for just a few dollars, which makes this an easy step in the installation process.

Lastly, you’ll need a working computer that can download the Windows installation files to your USB flash drive. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a laptop or desktop computer, but it should have an Internet connection and a functioning keyboard and mouse. Most laptops and prebuilt computers have these components already installed, but it’s a good idea to double-check to make sure you’re ready to go.

In addition to meeting the minimum hardware requirements, your computer should also be capable of running Windows 11. It must have a 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or system on a chip and at least 1GB of memory for 32-bit systems or 2GB for 64-bit systems. It must also support UEFI secure boot and have a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that’s at least version 2.0. You can find more details about these and other hardware requirements in our Windows 11 compatibility guide.

Installation Media

If you’re installing Windows on a new computer, you’ll need to have installation media to get it up and running. The easiest way to create this is by using a USB drive. USB drives are more portable than CDs or DVDs, and they’re compatible with almost every computer. However, you’ll need to have a new or formatted USB drive that is at least 8 GB. Any content on the drive will be erased during the setup process, so make sure you back up any data you want to keep.

You can also use a DVD to install Windows, but it’s less convenient and may require you to reboot your computer multiple times. To start, insert the Windows 10 ISO into a USB drive and download a free program called Rufus. This program can create a bootable USB drive for you, which will allow you to bypass your PC’s BIOS and UEFI settings. After creating your bootable USB drive, insert it into the computer you’re installing Windows on. Then, change the computer’s boot order so it starts from the USB drive. This will vary from computer to computer, so consult your computer’s documentation or search online for instructions specific to your device.

Once you’ve downloaded the software, follow the prompts to select your preferred language and version of Windows 10. You can also select whether to create a DVD or USB drive and which system architecture to use (32-bit or 64-bit). Once you’ve selected your options, click “Next” to begin the download. The process can take a while, so be patient and don’t interrupt it.

When the download is complete, open Rufus and select the USB drive you’re using as the installation medium. When prompted to choose an option, select the NTFS file system and leave the cluster size at the default setting. Click “OK.”

The next step is to create a bootable Windows 10 USB drive. Insert the drive into your computer and restart it. Then, go into the BIOS or UEFI and set it to boot from the USB drive. Again, this will vary from computer to computer, so refer to your BIOS or UEFI documentation for detailed instructions.

When the computer boots from the USB drive, it will load the Windows files and begin the setup process. Depending on your hardware, this can take a few minutes or longer, so be patient. Once the installation is complete, you can start using your new computer. You’ll need a valid Windows product key to activate the operating system. If you don’t have one, you can purchase a digital license from Microsoft for a small fee. After that, you can customize the settings and start using your new Windows computer. If you encounter any issues, contact a professional for help.


Installing the operating system on your computer is a critical step after buying or assembling a new PC. While this may seem like a daunting task, it isn’t hard to do with the right guide. This step-by-step process will get you through all the necessary steps to set up Windows 10 on your device, whether it’s a new computer or an upgrade to the latest version.

Before you start, make sure to back up all of your files on the computer you’re installing on. This will protect you in the event that something goes wrong during installation. You can use a external hard drive, cloud storage, or any other method you prefer. While backing up your files is always a good idea, it’s especially important before you perform an update or install a new OS.

Also, be sure to connect any non-essential peripherals to your computer so they don’t get disconnected during the installation process. This will help ensure that your device isn’t tampered with or wiped by an untrusted third party. Finally, make sure you have enough time to complete this process, 3-5 hours is typical.

It’s also a good idea to create a system restore point in case something goes wrong with your installation. This will allow you to revert the changes made by the installer or even to a previous state. If you’re using Windows 10, there is a built-in feature that allows you to do this.

Another important step is to change your computer’s boot order in the BIOS/UEFI. This will put the flash drive with the Windows installer at the top of the list, so it will be booted up before your existing OS. This will prevent you from having to go through the trouble of creating a bootable USB and changing your BIOS/UEFI settings again if something doesn’t work out.

Doing a clean install of Windows is a great way to resolve performance, memory, startup, and shutdown issues, remove preloaded bloatware, and even improve battery life. This is a fairly simple process, and it’s an excellent option if you have a laptop or tablet with bloatware or viruses that you can’t seem to get rid of.

Windows Installer is a powerful, standardized technology developed by Microsoft for application deployment on Windows operating systems. It provides a framework for consistent and reliable installations while simplifying the deployment process for developers and end users alike. This book will provide an in-depth understanding of the architecture and advanced techniques of Windows Installer, empowering you to confidently leverage its capabilities for your next software project. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Windows Installer and how it can help you streamline your application deployments.