Microsoft just launched Windows 10, but because it’s rolling out incrementally to users, not everyone can download it right away. Or, at least, that’s the official story. But as Emil Protalinski reports for VentureBeat, there’s an easy workaround for users who want to install Windows 10 without Windows Update, whether you want to jump the line or if you’re having trouble with Windows Update.
As Protalinski explains, all you need to upgrade to Windows 10 on your own is a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, Microsoft’s Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, and, of course, an Internet connection. The Media Creation Tool seems designed to create installation media — like a DVD or flash drive — you can use it to complete the update without any external media. Note that the process does take longer than it would take you to upgrade through Windows Update, since it’s a manual version of all of the tasks that the “Get Windows 10″ would complete for you.
Before going ahead, you should complete a full backup, and make sure that your system meets the requirements for the upgrade, including: a processor of 1GHz or faster, 1GB of RAM for 32-bit or 2GB of RAM for 64-bit, 16GB of hard disk space for 32-bit or 20GB of hard disk space for 64-bit, a graphics card with DirectX 9 or later with the WWDM 1.0 driver, and a display resolution of 1024×600. Rick Broida at CNET also suggest installing a rollback tool like EaseUS System GoBack; while Windows 10 does have a rollback feature of its own, the option expires after a single month.
If you’re running a 32-bit copy of Windows, download the Windows 10 Media Creation tool here, or if you’re running a 64-bit copy, download it here. (You can get more details and the download here.) If you aren’t sure which one you need, there’s an easy way to find out. Go the your computer’s Control Panel, then select System (or hold the Windows Key and press the Pause key). From here, check which operating system version you’re using under System Type.
After downloading and launching the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, choose the option to “Upgrade this PC Now” and hit the Next button. Windows 10 will then begin to download, which can take awhile, particularly if your Internet connection is slow. The subsequent verification of the download should be quick, and then your computer will assemble the Windows 10 installer.
Once the installer is loaded, it will complete some checks that you’ll need to wait through. When the installer shows you the licensing terms, you’ll need to hit Accept. Then you can choose what to keep with the installation, like settings, personal files, and apps; the installer may automatically make the selection for you, but you’ll be offered a chance to return to the choice again later. The installer will continue to make some checks, determining whether there are any updates you need to install before upgrading to the new operating system and making sure that everything is ready for the installation. Once the preparations are complete, the installer will warn you that you won’t be able to use your PC as Windows 10 installs, so you should save and close any files that you have open.
Once you hit install, you’ve begun the process of upgrading to Windows 10 in earnest. The installer will warn you that your PC will restart several times throughout the process, and there’s not much to do but “sit back and relax” during the rather lengthy process. Once the installation is finished, you’ll be prompted to enter your password and then go through the standard process of setting up the new operating system.