3 Easy Ways To Install Windows 10 Technical Preview

Christian Cawley 15-10-2014

Windows 10 has been announced Will Windows 10 Make Productive People Even More Productive? It's official, the new Windows will be a perfect 10. Why Windows 10? Because Windows 7 8 (ate) 9. And here is what you will find inside the Technical Preview. Read More , and you can try the Technical Preview on your PC now. As you’re trying it, you can help Microsoft polish the preview version by joining their Windows Insider program.


However, installing Windows 10 comes with some risks, which is why you should really install it either in a virtual environment or on a second device.

Want To Try Windows 10? Here’s How You Get Started

Windows 10 is set for release in 2015. Until then, there is a lot of work for Microsoft to do, and with your help they hope to bring us the greatest version of Windows yet. So if you’re interested, forget the fact they skipped “Windows 9” and head to where you can sign up to the Windows Insider Program and download the Technical Preview release of Windows 10.


The system requirements for Windows 10 are as follows:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
  • A Microsoft account and Internet access

When you download the Technical Preview you will find a Product Key for you to use along with a selection of links to different international 32-bit and 64-bit versions Do I Have 32-Bit or 64-Bit Windows? Here's How to Tell How can you tell if the Windows version you are using is 32-bit or 64-bit? Use these methods and learn why it is important too. Read More . Make sure you use the correct version for your system. While previous 32-bit Windows releases would install on 64-bit hardware, the Windows 10 Technical Preview does not.


The download is in ISO format, which means you can mount it on your own device to browse the contents of the disc and burn it to DVD or write it to a USB stick.

Installing On A Live System? Back Up First

You really shouldn’t install the Windows 10 Technical Preview on your current Why The Windows 10 Technical Preview Should Not Be Your Main OS If you think Windows 10 is a keylogger, you know nothing about the purpose of a Technical Preview. That's OK because we're here to explain. Read More , live Windows device unless you know what you’re doing and understand the impact this might have on system stability.

Why? Well, this might happen:

Unexpected PC crashes could damage or even delete your files, so you should back up everything. Some printers and other hardware might not work, and some software might not install or work correctly, including antivirus or security programs. You might also have trouble connecting to home or corporate networks.

Also, if your PC runs into problems, Microsoft will likely examine your system files. If the privacy of your system files is a concern, consider using a different PC. For more info, read our privacy statement.

Source: Microsoft’s Windows Technical Preview FAQ

If you want to risk this, then the best thing to do is ensure your system is properly backed up, that you have copies of your data on external drives or cloud storage, and that you have a copy of Windows 8 on DVD or USB to reinstall from – you won’t be able to use the Windows 8 recovery partition How to Create a Windows 8 Recovery Disk The days of reinstalling Windows when it acts up are long since gone. All you need to fix Windows 8 is a recovery disk, either on CD/DVD, a USB or an external hard disk drive. Read More  as you cannot downgrade from Windows 10!


Whichever device or installation method you plan to use, only install the Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO once you are fully prepared.

Installing Windows 10 Technical Preview On A Spare PC

The steps outlined here can be followed whether installing as an upgrade or onto a clean partition.

Computers running Windows 7 and later can be upgraded to the Windows 10 Technical Preview via the downloaded ISO, once burned to DVD or written to a USB flash device. You can use Rufus and to create a bootable USB with the Windows 10 TP ISO. Also make sure to allow booting from USB in the BIOS How to Enter the BIOS on Windows 10 (And Older Versions) To get into the BIOS, you usually press a specific key at the right time. Here's how to enter the BIOS on Windows 10. Read More . Note that systems you think might be compatible could in fact disappoint you, so to quickly find out how compatible your system is, attempt the upgrade method.



With the disc in the tray or the ISO mounted, the installer should autorun. Begin by agreeing to the licence terms, then selecting your preferred language, date & currency settings and keyboard language, and click Next.


In the following screen, click Install Now to get started, and wait as the OS installs. How fast this happens will depend on the speed of your hard disk drive and DVD drive. Once complete, you’ll be able to choose between Use express settings and Customize, just as with Windows 8.

It really is that simple!


Setting Up An Account

If you own a Windows account already, (which you will have needed to download the Windows 10 Technical Preview) you will probably know that you can use this to sign into your virtual PC. You may use this for Window 8 already, or your Xbox 360 or Xbox One, or Windows Phone.

With Windows 10, signing into the computer with your usual account will result in changes being synced to the cloud. There seems to be some sort of hierarchy of versions which will mean that the changes made to your Start screen (such as the chosen theme colour) will reflect on your Windows 8 Start screen, so be careful with the choices you make.


To avoid this happening, create a local account for Windows 10 Technical Preview (select Create a new account > Sign in without a Microsoft account) or else use a different Microsoft account. Justin’s guide explains more about user accounts on Windows 8 How Microsoft Overhauled User Accounts In Windows 8 What's up with user accounts in Windows 8? It's not complicated - Microsoft wants everyone to use an online account to sign into their desktop operating system. Sure, they offer an offline equivalent, but they... Read More , information that applies to Windows 10.

With the account set up, Windows 10 will proceed to install apps. This will take a few moments, and then Windows 10 will start.

Time to explore the Technical Preview Windows 10 In Pictures - A Guided Tour Of The Technical Preview The Windows 10 Technical Preview is now available to everyone. Some bugs aside, it does look promising. We'll guide you through the new Windows one screenshot at a time. Read More !

No Spare PC? Install On A Virtual Machine Instead!

If you’re missing the option of a spare PC and want to try the Windows 10 Technical Preview, your best alternative is to download the ISO and install it on a virtual machine.

Oracle’s VirtualBox is probably the best option here, particularly as it is open source and regularly updated. You can download it from Already using VirtualBox? Make sure you update to the latest version before attempting to install the Technical Preview – if this doesn’t happen automatically when you run the software, open Help > Check for updates… and follow any instructions.


With the app updated, restart and click New. Name the operating system Windows 10 and select Windows 8.1 in the Version dropdown, specifying whether your ISO is 32-bit or 64-bit. Move through the wizard accepting the recommended settings (ensuring you have sufficient hard disk space for the VM) until the virtual machine has been set up, and click Start.

At this point, the virtual machine will boot, ask you where the ISO file is (it might be on DVD or on a HDD) and installation will commence as described above.

Problems may occur with VirtualBox. If it reports a lack of RAM, make sure all other programs are closed. Failure to install can also be related to the host PC’s DEP settings. To adjust these, open System Properties, click Advanced > Performance and in Settings open Data Execution Prevention. Here, change the setting from Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services only to Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select.

For further information on running VirtualBox, see our unofficial VirtualBox user guide How to Use VirtualBox: User's Guide With VirtualBox you can easily install and test multiple operating systems. We'll show you how to set up Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux as a virtual machine. Read More .

Best Of Both Worlds: Running Windows 10 On A Virtual Hard Disk (VHD)

Not keen on a virtual machine or installing over the top of your current OS version, but still want to try Windows 10 and don’t have a spare PC?

Let’s try the VHD method, which is ideal for trying out a new modern Windows OS without messing up everything else on your system. Note that a system encrypted with BitLocker cannot use this method.


To try this, you’ll need a computer with 64-bit Windows 7 or later (Ultimate or Enterprise, although the version shouldn’t matter on Windows 8 machines). You’ll also need the installation media: 32-bit or 64-bit should work equally well. Prepare beforehand, ensuring you have at least 20-30 GB depending on whether you choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version. For using Windows 10 Technical Preview for more than just evaluation, you’ll need twice this amount.

Write To USB The Right Way

Begin by downloading the ISO as described above, writing to USB. Some guides online suggest that you use Microsoft’s own ISO-to-USB writing tool [No Longer Available], however this automatically writes in the NTFS disk format; if you’re using a Windows 8 or 8.1 computer, you’ll need the USB drive to be formatted as FAT32. You can deal with this quickly with the Windows Explorer format tool (remember to set as FAT32), then mounting the ISO file and copying the contents of the virtual DVD to the USB device.

Next, open Computer Management (open File Explorer, right-click My Computer > Manage) and expand Storage > Disk Management. Here, select the drive you’ve made space on, then open Action > Create VHD.


Here, browse to the location you wish to create the VHD and give it a filename, and make a note of these details for later. Next, set a Virtual hard disk size (25 GB upwards), ensuring that VHD is selected in the top section and Fixed Size in the lower.

Click OK to continue, and watch the lower right corner of the Computer Management screen where a progress bar illustrates the creation of the VHD. Once complete, Computer Management will show a brand new device of the size specified. Make a note of this, as well.


Disable UEFI Security Options

Users of Windows 8 and 8.1 devices with the OS pre-installed will need to disable security options in the UEFI, but this can be re-enabled after installation. Follow Chris Hoffman’s guide on reaching the UEFI Firmware Options screen How to Access the BIOS on a Windows 8 Computer Windows 8 simplified access to the BIOS. Instead of key combos, you can just use the Windows 8 boot options menu. Read More . to do this.

Booting Your Computer With The Windows 10 TP Installer

The next step is to reboot your PC, with the USB stick connected. Windows 7 users will need to look for the message to press a key to boot from the external device.

For Windows 8 users, this is best achieved by opening Run (WINDOWS + R) and entering shutdown.exe /r /o /f /t 00. In the Windows Recovery Environment, select Use a device and then select your USB stick.


In a moment, your system will be booting from the Windows 10 Technical Preview disc and ask you to begin installation; do so, but pause at the Which type of installation do you want? screen. Here, tap Shift+F10 to open the Command Prompt and check the location of your VHD. This might be C:\VHD or it might be the drive number allocated in Computer Management. Use the dir command to find the contents of each drive and directory where you believe the VHD to be.

When you find it, type run diskpart and then Enter the following:

select vdisk file=c:\vhd\[full path to your VHD file]

attach vdisk


Now, select the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option, and you’ll be asked where you want to install Windows. Select the new drive (ignoring the message that “Windows can’t be installed on this drive”) and click Next. Setup will now proceed, with the few steps required as described above.


Once Windows boots, you’ll still have the same hard disk drive (or SSD) but it will now have a virtual partition on it, displayed by Windows as a genuine partition with Windows 10 Technical Preview installed in it, but in actual fact it is essentially a file.

When you’re done testing Windows 10 TP, open the location of the VHD and delete it. You will also need to open MSConfig, switch to the Boot tab and delete the entry for Windows 10.

Conclusion: Help Microsoft Improve Windows 10!

As you use Windows 10 Technical Preview, you will notice popup messages in the corner of the display. These are questions from Microsoft asking you to rate and give feedback on features Want New Windows Features? Share Your Ideas With Microsoft & Vote Microsoft wants to know what you would like Windows to look like! Propose and review Windows features to shape the next version of Windows. Read More .


Never before has Microsoft asked for feedback in this way from such a large group of users, evidence it would seem that they are taking complaints about Windows 8 very seriously.

Did you install the Technical Preview, yet? Run into any problems? Let us know how it went for you, and if you have any tips to add.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. David Baker
    March 2, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I go through this article thoroughly and found very useful for me. I want to update my windows 8 OS but still I didn't get message from Microsoft for automatic update. This article is quite useful for me. Recently I reset my windows 8 password without disk. I hope this topic would help for others.

  2. Anonymous
    June 22, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Is formatting of LOCAL DISK : C or taking back up of other files or downloads is necessary after updating the technical preview of WINDOWS 10

    • Christian Cawley
      June 22, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      Not if you follow the steps outlined here, no.

  3. Duane
    May 3, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Cortana works when she wants to.

    • Anonymous
      June 13, 2015 at 8:23 am

      A typical woman then! lol

  4. Duane
    May 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    2 issues I'm having is Cortana doesnt work at all for me. My microphone is connected and working and everything is on in the settings for Cortana. Also, I shutdown my computer last night and it rebooted itself to a white screen. Making it so I had to hold shift at reboot.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 3, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      That's the trouble with technical previews, you never know what you're going to get.

      So Cortana was okay to setup but won't work?

  5. Prashant
    April 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    This all Comment was Sick and nothing Good About Microsoft After Years and Years of Research they Brought us Windows 7,8,10 and Don't forgot XP which was user friendly and with out upgrading and Downloading it was usable after installing ...but Linux and Mac was not so much User Friendly and hard to understand by every new Computer User....So thanks Windows Keep Your Hard work .....Bring us Something new every year.....Love u Windows OS.

  6. John
    March 29, 2015 at 4:08 am

    Why do you need to create a VHD? Can't you just boot the installer from USB and install to an empty SSD?

    • Christian Cawley
      April 1, 2015 at 7:55 am

      Probably because most people don't have an empty SSD to hand?

  7. Davide
    March 25, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I'm already on a previous preview version, but can't upgrade cause it says it can't install on an USB drive, but I got an SSD...

    • j
      March 26, 2015 at 12:48 am

      get rufus.

  8. TheTexasRAT
    March 9, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Think about it, why will they not say what it will cost for those of whom can not get the free upgrade? And the wording they use for the ones getting the free upgrade - free for the first year. The reason that they are being secretive is because they are being deceptive about the cost of the so-called free upgrade! Beware!!! Do not just jump on a boat without knowing all the ins and outs first. Wait until they come out with what it will cost the ones that do not get the so-called free upgrade before you trash your old version. If it turns out that I am wrong you still will have plenty of time to upgrade. I would like to hope that I am wrong but Microsoft's chose of wording and lack thereof looks as if they are going to try and pull a fast one.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 12, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      The magic word you're probably looking for is "subscription", but as you say until Microsoft confirm anything - and they never do until release day - we don't know.

  9. TheTexasRAT
    March 9, 2015 at 11:32 am

    W10 will be free for the first year and then it will cost so much a year after that. That is to say the free upgrade for W& and W8 users if they go for it will end up costing them once the free first year goes by. No one will own W10 as with past versions. If you own W7 or W8 it would be foolish to trash them, years before they expire just to start having to pay for W10 over and over and never ever owning it (stop paying out the nose and it will stop working). You do not have to beleive me, but do not say that you where not warned!

    • KsProboszcz
      March 21, 2015 at 10:00 am

      You are worng.
      "We will offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year! And even better: once a qualified Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it up to date for the supported lifetime of the device, keeping it more secure, and introducing new features and functionality over time – for no additional charge. Sign up with your email today, and we will send you more information about Windows 10 and the upgrade offer in the coming months."

  10. Leo
    March 3, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Hi, i tried the last build, before that great update. But now i have a question, if i install the actual build now, when i get a new build update, will i need to format?

  11. Predrag
    January 6, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    I read it that Windows 10 will be free for "personal users" ... Good if is true.
    What you guys think, will it be free or fee like or buy licence etc ?

    • Christian Cawley
      January 7, 2015 at 8:20 am

      I think it's most likely that if there is a free version it will be a feature stripped version, not unlike W7 Starter.

  12. henk
    November 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Be aware of the 'keylogger" for analytics in the free W10 tech . version

  13. Dan Kellett
    November 25, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Careful with the VHD and dual-boot, Microsoft will not allow an upgrade to a new build with this configuration. You will need to load the VHD in HyperV on the host system to update the build,.

  14. sabr ousman
    November 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    this hlep is best in my life

  15. Jacky
    November 9, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    MS will have to pay me to try another version of their operating systems after the experience I had with windows 8 and 8.1 NOW THEY WANT TO listen to users?

    How rude they now feel the need to listen to the users they should have listen to the users since the first version of windows, MS works for us we do not work for them, we are the boss NOT Microsoft.

    Microsoft products are greatly over priced to begin with (look at their annual profits to see how much you over paid them) then they insult owners intelligence by selling/forcing version 8 on its dedicated customers, a FREE copy of Windows 7 should be shipped to any Windows 8 owner who does not like Windows 8.

    Thanks for the fine article.

    • Tina
      November 14, 2014 at 9:18 am

      How is it rude of Microsoft to listen to users now?

      Late is better than never, isn't it? Also, keep in mind that Microsoft is made up of people, meaning it changes with its people and I think that's what's been happening.

      Windows isn't forced on anyone. You choose to buy a Windows computer. Buyers of Windows 8 computers could downgrade to Windows 7.

      Anyone buying hardware today can buy a device that comes with Linux or no pre-installed operating system at all. Yes, choice is not abundant, but even if your computer does come with Windows, you're not forced to use it. Just format the drive and install Linux.

      Meanwhile, Microsoft charges manufacturers almost nothing to equip their hardware with Windows. Windows 10 will possibly be free.

      I think Microsoft is changing, which is the work of people. And like people it has deserved a second chance. I sincerely hope they won't blow it.

    • Jack H.
      December 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      The next version of Windows (10) is going to be offered to consumers for FREE similar to Apple's OSX operating system. Lets see you complain about that.

    • Tristan
      January 12, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      "almost no issues (it’s Windows, after all)"
      Ha. Hahahahahaha. Haha.
      Windows is nothing BUT issues. "It's Windows, after all". Almost made me spill my coffee.

      No, but seriously, Windows has always been a giant bag of problems. And no, no one is forcing it on anyone. I just wish more people were aware of how much better Linux is.

    • Justas
      February 27, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      Stop complaining. If you do not want to use windows buy overpriced apple products or install linux ( which I'm sure you are not capable of using ) :)

  16. DalSan M
    October 16, 2014 at 7:32 am

    I have the opportunity to download and install Win 10 with a product key through my school, but am not choosing to do so just yet. A virtual environment installation is highly recommended over full install on hard drive since this is a technical preview, not beta or finalized/near finalized version. Also, I hope that users realize what "Technical Preview" actually means; tracking user habits and information to use for improvement opportunities. If you are expecting a fully operational, daily use operating system, this is not it. This is a test bed for Microsoft, and each user is the guinea pig to learn from. I'm not trying to deter anyone from trying out Win 10 preview, but want to warn users before they get upset for not knowing any better.

  17. firstclass
    October 15, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I installed Windows 10 on VMware and old laptop! It made my old laptop run like new.

    • Tina
      November 6, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Try to dual boot, it will run even faster.

    • Fahim
      May 7, 2015 at 4:22 am

      Which windows was running in that laptop ???? first?