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AndrewH-9444 avatar image
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Fresh install of Windows 11

My PC is running WIndows 10 home retail version. I am interested in the free upgrade but wanted to know if there was a way to do a fresh install of Windows 11 instead of just an upgrade. And if upgraded, does the windows 10 key turn into a Windows 11 key? Like if I wanted to go back to a clean install of Windows 10, will there be any issues?

windows-11
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Reza-Ameri avatar image
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Reza-Ameri answered Reza-Ameri commented

It is recommended to perform upgrade to keep your files and data and you also have 10 days to rollback to Windows 10 if there was any issue. However, if you really want to do a clean install, it is possible and if your Windows 10 already activated, Windows 11 will use the same product key.
However, before installing Windows 11, make sure run the PC Health Check to see if your device is compatible or not. To get the Windows 11 installation, take a look at:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows11
You may create a bootable USB or DVD media.

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I have my Windows 10 key assosiated with my account so if I do the clean install of windows 11, do I just need to log into my account and Windows 11 will be activated? And with a clean install of Win11, does thats mean the key for Win10 is no longer valid after the 10 days?

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When you login with your Microsoft Account, it will retrieve the product key. However, even without using the Microsoft Account, it will check with the Microsoft Account and your system should be activated.
The key for the Windows 10 should work in Windows 11 (as long as Windows 10 is activated), the 10 days is nothing to do with activation, it is just time you have to revert back to Windows 10, in case you perform upgrade and you want to go back to Windows 10. In case of Clean Install it is not applicable.

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Docs-4663 avatar image
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Docs-4663 answered

Any properly licensed / activated Windows 10 computer can be upgraded or clean installed to Windows 11 provided the following occur:

a) if the Windows upgrade assistant is used it must pass the compatibility check to have a supported upgrade

b) if the Windows upgrade assistant is used it can fail the compatibility check and still be upgraded if the registry and files are modified so that they are not detected by the Windows upgrade assistant. (these methods were reported on multiple websites) (computers with unsupported windows 11 upgrades / installations may not benefit from the improvements in performance and security. And the unsupported installations may have problems with Windows updates and / or Microsoft Defender updates)

c) if important files are backed up to another drive or the cloud then clean installs can be performed

Multiple websites have reported clean installs of Windows 11 on very old computers.
These included desktops, laptops, and tablets.

If a Windows 10 computer has ever been updated then the licensing data is on Microsoft servers.
This enables end users to replace disk drives or clean install Windows 10 or Windows 11.


If end users choose to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 there is a default 10 day rollback period.
This can be modified during the 10 day period to up to 60 days.

In addition end users can use third party software to make free backup images.
Then at anytime the image can be restored.

So backup images of Windows 10 enable end users to use Windows 11 for any time period and then return to Windows 10.
They will return to the exact moment in which the image had been made.

These are free and pay methods for backup images:
Acronis, Aoemi, EaseUS, Macrium, Paragon


These are links that may be useful:


https://www.elevenforum.com/t/clean-install-windows-11.99/
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/reactivating-windows-after-a-hardware-change-2c0e962a-f04c-145b-6ead-fb3fc72b6665
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/using-the-activation-troubleshooter-d717cdff-cf19-9770-7198-40119c2a696c
https://support.microsoft.com/contactus
https://www.elevenforum.com/t/change-number-of-rollback-days.1543/
https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/61026-backup-restore-macrium-reflect.html







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KapilArya avatar image
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KapilArya answered KapilArya edited

You can follow this guide to make fresh install of Windows 11:

https://www.kapilarya.com/steps-to-make-clean-install-of-windows-11

In case if you upgrade to Windows 11 and later if you want to make clean install of Windows 10, the product key would still work.

Hope this helps!

Note: Included link in this reply refers to blog post by a trusted Microsoft MVP.

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AndrewH-9444 avatar image
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AndrewH-9444 answered

Thanks all for the suggestions. I was able to upgrade from WIndows 10 to 11 without issue. I then was able to create a bootable USB with Windows 11 and preform a fresh install, also without issue. Everything was activated and works great.

Thanks again.

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