We Answer: Can I Clean Re-Install Windows 10 After Upgrading?

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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Windows 10 is still offered as a free upgrade for most people, but it’s safe to say that some users are a bit skeptical about it. Users also have all sorts of question. One of the main questions these days is whether users can install a clean copy after a Windows 10 upgrade. Here’s the answer.
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When Windows 10 was first announced people were extremely excited when they found out that Windows 10 would be free for all genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. We were all excited when we were offered a free upgrade to latest operating system, but is Windows 10 really free, or is it just a free one-time upgrade?

Can I reinstall Windows 10 on my computer after upgrading?

According to Microsoft, Windows 10 is free, and it will remain free for all users that have upgraded from genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8. This means that you can perform a clean reinstall of Windows 10 if you like, and you will still keep your license for free.

When you activate your Windows 10 through upgrade, it’s registered to your computer hardware, and you can reinstall it as many times as you want. This is extremely useful if you don’t want to go back to previous version of Windows, and you don’t want to keep it on your hard drive.

You can safely format your hard drive and install Windows 10 from scratch on the same computer. Bear in mind that Windows 10 is registered to your computer hardware, so you won’t be able to install it on your laptop or anywhere else.

Also remember that you can revert back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 if you don’t like Windows 10, but this doesn’t mean that you can install Windows 10 on any other computer using your license, because every computer gets one license, and that license is registered to that computer hardware even if you don’t use Windows 10 anymore.

These are some common questions that people are having about Windows 10, but if you’re concerned if you can perform a clean reinstall of Windows 10 after you’ve updated to Windows 10, there’s no need to worry.

You can perform as many clean reinstalls for free on your computer as long as your hardware, or in this case motherboard remains the same.

You can clean reinstall the OS by using Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool to create a bootable media to reinstall Windows 10. When you insert the bootable media, there are two options available: perform a clean install or upgrade again.

If your computer asks you to enter a product key, simply select the option ‘I’m reinstalling Windows 10 on this PC‘. This should force the install to continue and your computer will activate your product licence again.

You can also clean reinstall Windows 10 by using the Reset option of the Windows 10 Refresh Tool.


If you decide to upgrade your hardware, or if you replace it for some other reason, you might need to contact Microsoft to see if you can transfer your license.

If you have any Windows 10-related issues you can check for the solution in our Windows 10 Fix section.

For more information on how to reinstall Windows 10, check out these guides:

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

  • Sense Windows 10 Redstone 1 is coming out on August 2nd, 2016 which is after the Free Upgrade Dead Mark on July 29th, 2016. Will we be able to Clean Install Windows 10 Redstone After the Free Upgrade Dead mark?

  • Yes you can do a fresh Install of Win10 just download the “media creation tool x32/x64” and rerun the download and install process. I didnt use the Win10 installer CD because it will assume that you want to “repair” installation. I am telling you through experience, after installing “IOBit Start Menu” doesnt let me access my modern UI apps. So I have to reinstall Win10 back again. I lost 4 days of PC use after trying to “repair” using CD. Whatever you do do not use RESET as some stupid gurus suggested. It will overwrite your previous version of drivers and leave you without Mouse/Keyboard function( and these stupid gurus ask you to go inside Win10 to get to settings, what a load of crap! Since we lost the Mouse/Keyboard function how are we going to do that??)
    If you are afraid of losing your “activated” Microsft status , you should not worry about that as it will still be activated. (but dont use the Win10 upgrade serial number as it is a not valid , it is a generic number as I can attest to my 4 PC that I have ugraded they all have the same number with the exception of “device ID”)