Depending on the situation, you may find yourself looking to do a fresh reinstall of Windows for your PC. Whether this be due to an unrecoverable error preventing the system from loading, a corrupted update, or you are simply looking to wipe the slate clean and start with a fresh environment, the question does come up of “How do I reinstall Windows?”
Thankfully this process is incredibly easy, and only requires the following:
- A Windows PC with a working Internet connection
- An 8GB or larger USB Flash Drive
Before continuing, please note: A fresh installation of Windows following this guide will result in a complete loss of all data on the PC, including but not limited to personal files, applications, and configuration settings. NZXT is not responsible for any loss of personal data or applications. It is recommended to keep periodic backups of all personal data from your PC to an external source such as an external storage device (flash drive, Hard Disk, etc.) or a cloud storage service.
Using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
For reinstalling Windows, we will first need to create a bootable installation media. This can be done using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
With the tool downloaded, go ahead and launch the program and follow the on screen prompts.
Once you have started the Media Creation process, the tool will prepare and copy the necessary files to turn the flash drive into a bootable Windows 10 installation disk. After this is completed, safely eject the flash drive from the PC and plug it into the PC where we will be installing Windows. If you are reinstalling Windows on the same PC where the flash drive was created, you do not need to eject the drive.
Booting from the USB Flash Drive
With the computer completely shut down, make sure that the flash drive is plugged into the PC before pressing the power button. From here, we will want to enter either the UEFI BIOS or the motherboard’s Boot Menu. For most motherboards, the BIOS can be accessed by pressing Delete or F2 on your keyboard at the motherboard splash screen.
For some motherboards, you may also have the option to load directly into a Boot Menu. If this is an option, go ahead and instead use the Boot Menu shortcut.
From the boot menu, select the USB Flash Drive that was created in the previous step and jump ahead to the next section.
If your motherboard does not have a Boot Menu, you may instead find a "Boot Override" located in the UEFI's "Exit" menu.
From the Boot Override, select the USB Flash Drive that was created in the previous step.
Using the Windows 10 Installer
Once properly loaded, a window will appear on the screen titled “Windows Setup. Confirm your installation language, time and currency format, and the keyboard method before clicking “Next”, followed by the “Install Now”.
Where is my Windows Product Key?
During this step of the install process, you may be prompted for your Windows Product Key. For all NZXT BLD systems purchased since June 2019, the Windows Product Key is digitally embedded to your PC’s motherboard. Because of this, the system will automatically detect and activate the product key upon connecting to the internet. For this step, choose “I don’t have a product key” to move on to the next step.
For older BLD systems, there should be a sticker located on the back of your PC with your Windows Product Key. If you are having issues activating Windows or would like to see how to retrieve your product key, please check out our guide here:
At this point you may be prompted to select the edition of Windows 11 to install. Please make sure that the selected edition matches what was previously installed on your PC. For Custom PCs, your version of Windows will be listed in your Order Confirmation. For pre-built PCs, most systems will be running Windows 10 Home.
At the “Which type of installation do you want?” screen, select “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)”
Select the partitions on the drive where Windows is currently installed. This can be easily identified as the drive that currently has the System, MSR (Reserved), and Recovery partitions set up. In our case it will be Drive 0. Select each partition on the target drive and click “Delete” to erase the partition. Once finished, you should see Drive X Unallocated Space where X is the number of the drive.
Note: For systems with both an SSD and an HDD, be certain that the drive you are installing to is the primary SSD. Installing to the HDD can result in severely degraded performance. If you are unsure as to which drive is which, you can check the Total Size line to identify the size of the drives. In the event that both drives are the same capacity, Windows tends to identify SATA connected drives before NVMe. This would mean that if you have 1 HDD (SATA) and 1 SSD (NVMe), then Drive 0 would be the HDD and Drive 1 would be the SSD.
With the old partitions deleted, select the Unallocated Space that was created and click the “Next” button.
From here, Windows Setup will copy the necessary files to the drive and restart automatically. The system may restart another 2-3 times during the process, at which point it will load into the Out of Box Experience (OOBE). Once in the OOBE, the guided account setup will walk you through the final steps.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Support team!