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You’re eager to install Windows 10. Unfortunately, you missed the Insider Preview and now it’s taking a while until the upgrade will be rolled out to you. Bummer!

Microsoft is taking its time upgrading one billion devices to Windows 10. And that’s OK. If you can’t wait to try Windows 10, however, you should take matters into your own hands. Use Microsoft’s Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to trigger the Windows 10 upgrade or create installation media. Let us walk you through the process, so you can start playing with Windows 10 today.

Note: This article was heavily updated on July 29 to reflect recent developments.

First Things First

Before you make moves to upgrade to Windows 10, you should consider the following:

All set? Know what to expect? Then let’s move on!

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

Upgrade this PC Now

If you signed up to Get Windows 10, chances are the installation files have already been downloaded to your computer. This will speed things up. Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and select Upgrade this PC now.

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Windows 10 Upgrade This PC

If all goes well, you should be guided through the download and setup process. When you get to the Ready to install screen, confirm that Keep personal files and apps is checked! You can Change what to keep using the respective link below your selection. Once you have passed this checkpoint, you’ll be running Windows 10 in no time.

If things don’t go so well, you might see a helpful screen like the one below.

Windows 10 Something Happened

No kidding! That’s not good, but we’re not done here, yet.

Create Installation Media

Run the tool again, this time, select Create installation media for another PC. Select your language, Windows 10 edition, and 32-bit or 64-bit architecture. You can then choose between USB flash drive (minimum 3GB, will be formatted!) and ISO file.

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool ISO

To create a bootable Windows 10 USB flash drive, insert a flash drive (note that it will be formatted), pick the respective option, click Next, make sure Windows picked the right drive, then proceed and follow the instructions on screen.

If you chose to download the ISO file, wait for the download to finish, then burn the ISO file to a DVD How To Make a Bootable USB, CD or DVD to Install Windows Using an ISO File How To Make a Bootable USB, CD or DVD to Install Windows Using an ISO File Need installation media to reinstall Windows? In this article we'll show you where to get Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 installation files and how to create a bootable USB, CD, or DVD from scratch. Read More  or you can use it to create a bootable USB yourself; we have previously outlined both processes in detail. Briefly, to create a bootable USB, download Rufus, run it as Administrator, select the target Device, check the option to Create a bootable disk using …, choose ISO Image from the drop-down menu, and browse for the ISO file. Click Start and wait until Rufus is finished.

Rufus - Self-adjusted

Once your bootable media — DVD or USB — has been created, you can launch the Windows 10 installation by running the setup.exe or by rebooting your computer with the media inserted. You might have to change boot options to allow booting from DVD or USB.

Windows 10 can upgrade your computer while keeping all your personal files and programs in tact. Just make sure to select Keep personal files and apps during setup or change this option to reflect your personal choice.

Mount ISO File to Install without Installation Media

If you do not have a spare USB flash drive and cannot burn DVDs, you have one last option: to mount the ISO file No DVD Drive? No Problem! Create And Mount ISO Files For Free With These Tools No DVD Drive? No Problem! Create And Mount ISO Files For Free With These Tools My computer doesn’t have any optical drives anymore. That means CD drives, DVD drives, Floppy drives--they’ve all been cut out and done away with forever. If a particular piece of peripheral gear doesn’t have a... Read More . This creates a virtual drive from which you can install Windows 10. Windows 8 can do this natively: right-click the ISO file and select Mount.

Mount ISO File

In Windows 7, you need a third-party application. One tool to do this is WinCDEmu (our review Mount Your Image Files On a Virtual Drive With WinCDEmu [Windows] Mount Your Image Files On a Virtual Drive With WinCDEmu [Windows] Your CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are rotting and optical discs as such are slowly disappearing from the market. ISO and other image file formats, however, are here to stay and are a good way... Read More ). Alternatively, you can use Microsoft’s Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel. Install your tool of choice, mount the ISO file, then launch the setup.exe to install Windows 10.

Manually Trigger Windows 10 Download

This method has not worked for us and if you can get the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to work, it’s not needed, either. However, if you’d like to have a genuine upgrade experience, i.e. upgrading to Windows 10 via Windows Update, you’re welcome to experiment.

For this method it’s key that you signed up to Get Windows 10. You can make Windows Update download Windows 10 by running a simple command. Press Windows key + R, then run the command wuauclt.exe /updatenow, and check what’s happening in Windows Update. You should see that Windows 10 is downloading. We saw that, too.

Downloading Windows 10 Preparing

This method failed for us after the Preparing for installation… step. According to sources on Reddit, you need to change your Windows date and time settings and jump one or more days ahead during this stage; this didn’t work for us. For some Reddit users this worked after rebooting a couple of times. Others said you have to delete the (hidden) $Windows.~BT folder on your C:\ drive; this is where Windows 10 installation files are downloaded to. We chose not to do that.

Time to Explore Windows 10

After a successful installation of Windows 10, you should take the time to explore its new features, including the new Start Menu A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu Windows 10 fixes the Start Menu dilemma! Getting to grips with the new Start Menu will supercharge your Windows 10 experience. With this handy guide, you'll be an expert in no time. Read More or Cortana. Also check out Microsoft’s Windows 10 FAQ and introduction pages for inforation.

How do you like Windows 10 so far? What did they mess up and what features do you love most? Please share your Windows 10 questions Windows 10 Release Day: Everything You Need to Know Windows 10 Release Day: Everything You Need to Know The final version of Windows will be released on July 29th, but a lot of things remain nebulous. We have compiled the answers to the most frequently asked questions around Windows 10 and its release. Read More and comments below!

  1. xenarulz
    August 17, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    I have a question, if anyone can halp me... I have received the 'invitation' but since I have partitioned my laptop I'm certain I haven't got enough space on drive C.
    I absuletly have NO intention of installing the thing right now, but just in case, if and when I'll decide to, is there any option to make a win10 media NOT for another PC but for the same one who received the invitation?
    I'm thinking of a dvd since they say it's about 3gb download. I burn it and let it sleep it somewhere for a year...

  2. Casa Del Gatos
    August 11, 2015 at 2:31 am

    Tina,

    You do not "walk through hoops." You jump through them, and that is a negative thing. It implies that the process being described is very involved and might even have an excessive amount of steps.

    You should have just said walk through the process or the steps.
    Sorry, ex-journalist here. English idiom lesson over.

    Handy reference, though. Thanks.

    • Tina Sieber
      August 17, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Thank you for the heads-up! Fixed. :)

    • Me
      February 27, 2016 at 12:44 am

      whata douche

  3. Hary Ayala
    July 28, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    The activation server has determined those keys are blocked, can't activate with them anymore.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 28, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks for the heads-up, Hary!

      You can still skip the license step during installation and boot into Windows 10. This won't give you a fully functional copy, at least not for long, but it's a way for the impatient to play with Windows 10 before it's being rolled out to them.

  4. Benjamin Rodriguez
    July 28, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Nah, thanks. Just a little bit more patience and i'll have it without having to fiddle so much with my pc :P

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