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How to clean install Windows 10 and create boot media: Refresh your Windows 10 PC

We show you how to install Windows 10 from scratch on your PC or laptop, plus how to create an install DVD or USB flash drive

How to install Windows 10

Two common installation issues solved

Before we get down the nitty-gritty of installing the OS, there are a couple of common installation errors. Here’s how to fix them.

Something happened

Microsoft has thrown out some useless error messages before, but the ‘Something happened, Something happened’ one has to be one of the worst ever, giving no clue as to what the issue is. Fortunately, the issue can be fixed in one of two ways.

Something Happened Windows 10

The first option is to change your computer’s Region settings and tell it that you’re in the US. To do this open up the Control Panel from your computer’s Start Menu and select Clock, Language and Region -> Region. Click the Administrative tab, click Change system locale and use the drop-down menu and choose English (United States). Click OK and then OK again to apply the settings.

Change Windows System Locale

The second option is that you’re trying to install Windows from a USB flash drive or DVD, but you created the installation media without the proper permissions. To change that, download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and locate it on your hard disk. Right-click it and select Run as Administrator. Follow the wizard through as before and re-create the installation media. You should now be able to install Windows 10.

Processor not supported

If you get the ‘Processor not supported’ message, it’s because your CPU needs to support Execute Disable Bit. This feature is designed to stop malicious code from running on your computer, by marking some bits of system memory as non-executable; it means that if a virus infects this part of RAM, your processor will refuse to run it.

Practically any processor capable of running Windows 7 or Windows 8 has this hardware feature, so that problem is likely to be that it’s been disabled in your computer’s BIOS. To re-enable this feature you need to restart your computer and go into the BIOS (Delete, F2 and F10 are common keys to enter it, but check your computer’s manual for full instructions). Every BIOS is different, so the exact instructions will differ from computer to computer.

Look for a section on your processor, such as CPU Configuration, which is likely to be in the Advanced section of the BIOS. Make sure that the Execute-Disable Bit is turned on, which may also be called XD or NX. Finally, make sure that you’ve turned on the virtualisation option. Save your settings, reboot your computer and you should now be able to install Windows 10.

Enable execute disable bit in BIOS

Step 1 – Enter your computer’s BIOS

You first need to make sure your computer is set to boot from your DVD drive or from USB. Insert your DVD or USB installation disk and restart your PC. You may find that your PC has a special boot override menu, which you can access with a key such as F10; look out for the message while your computer starts. If this is the case, press the key as soon as the message is displayed, then select your DVD drive or USB stick to boot.

If you don’t have a boot override menu, you’ll need to go into the BIOS or UEFI Setup program, which is where you change some of your computer’s more low-level settings. The right key to enter Setup varies from PC to PC, but is usually Delete, F2 or F10, and you’ll need to press it almost immediately after you turn your PC on or restart it. If you look carefully, you may see the relevant key displayed onscreen as the computer turns on. Some more modern laptops, such as certain Lenovo models, have a special button to enter the Setup program, which you’ll most likely find next to the power switch. Setup menus vary widely in look and layout, but all follow a similar logic, so if you look carefully you’ll be able to find all the options we mention in this guide.

Can’t find the option? Follow our how to boot from USB guide for more detailed instructions



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