There have been a number of problems reported in regards to upgrading to Windows 10 via automatic methods such as the Media Creation Tool. For those who would like to save themselves the trouble, you can quickly upgrade to Windows 10 by following the instructions outlined here.
To do this, just follow the instructions exactly as they're outlined.
Step 1: Download the Windows 10 ISO file that matches your version of Windows.
The official links to these ISO files (directly from Microsoft) are provided below for all versions of Windows 10—except for the single language version. These ISO files are valid for both Home & Pro versions of Windows. You will only need to be specific when selecting the proper 32bit or 64bit version that is currently running on your computer.
Step 2: Create an installation media using the Windows 10 ISO file.
If you would like to create an installation disc with the Windows 10 ISO (downloaded from the Microsoft website)—simply right clicking the ISO file with your blank DVD in the drive—then select the "Burn" option in the menu there. This should open up the Windows ISO Creator—built into Windows as far back as Windows 7. Use this tool to properly create an installation disc for Windows 10.
If you would like to create a USB installation drive, then you will want to download the official Windows USB/DVD Download tool. This tool was originally provided by Microsoft back when purchasing Windows online and downloading the ISO files was first introduced—and that is where the name comes from.
This tool will not actually be downloading anything for you—it's simply for use of creating an installation media using the ISO files you've already downloaded for yourself. This tool is available for download in the link below.
Note: There have been a number of people reporting problems when attempting to upgrade their systems to Windows 10 by running "setup.exe" from their USB installation drive. It's been said that this cannot be done for conventional systems.
This is USB method is only for those who either have one of those tablet devices—or for people who have a full retail version of their product key, which will enable them to boot from the Windows 10 installation drive and clean install Windows 10 without any activation troubles.
For this reason, unless you have one of these tablet devices (which should be programmed to treat the USB drive with the priority of a disc drive)—or unless you have your full retail product key in-hand—do not attempt to upgrade your system to Windows 10 using the USB installation media. Use the DVD method following the instructions outlined here.
Step 3: Begin the installation process using your Windows 10 installation media.
Open the installation media in File Explorer, there in the opening contents you should see "setup.exe". Run that program to begin the process of upgrading your system to Windows 10 while retaining your activated status.
You do not want to attempt to boot from your installation media in order to upgrade to Windows 10, because this will begin the process of a clean install and you will lose your activated status of Windows unless you have the full activation key in-hand—and that activation key is from a full-retail version of Windows. Upgrade using the method above to prevent any complications like this from arising.
Windows 10 ISO
Above is the link to the official page of the Windows ISO files. If you would like to download a specific language of the Windows 10 ISO not provided in this guide, then you may do so by visiting the link above. If you would like to obtain a Single Language version (which is also not provided here)—then you may also do so the same way.
Some people have been reporting issues with the Windows ISO file links not displaying on the ISO page—and only a download for the Media Creation Tool being displayed there instead. For this reason, I've provided the direct links to official Windows 10 ISO files below. These links are for the English versions of Windows 10 ISO (except for KN—which is exclusive to Korea).
However, since they are not a single language version of Windows, you should be able to change the native language of Windows 10 after it's installed. Windows and the installer will simply be displayed in English until you change it. From there, you will have to download a copy of your native language ISO and create an installation media for yourself if you'd like one in your native language. Mobile has proven to be the best way to go about this.
From here on out you should be able to follow through with the manual upgrade or installation without any problem. If for some reason your copy of the Windows ISO gives you some static, try simply downloading a second copy of the ISO file. I had to do this myself—because the first copy of my Windows 10 ISO had a problem.
If for some reason your installation of Windows 10 locks up on you and will not proceed (or you're facing a black screen problem)—this could have something to do with an inherent corruption in your previous version of Windows. In order to properly fix this issue, what I am going to recommend is running a number of advanced options to totally shake your system down and enable you a perfectly clean transition to Windows 10.
Step 1: Flash your BIOS
If you're using a laptop, then this option is not going to be so easily available to you. If you are very technologically inclined, and have experience with disassembling and reassembling your laptop—you may do so. For everyone else running a laptop, please skip this step.
To flash your BIOS, just unplug the power cord from your computer—open your case—and remove the battery from the motherboard. Leave this battery removed for a few minutes and make sure to press the power button on your machine while everything is disconnected in order to expel any electricity stored in the system.
After a few minutes, put the battery back in, plug the machine back in and start it. At start up, your system may prompt you with a flickering beep—either way—spam the [DEL] during this time to enter the BIOS configuration menu at start up.
Navigate the menu and adjust the time and date—and also make sure that the [Boot Menu] option is enabled. You'll need this option enabled in order to boot from your Windows installation media to install/re-install the operating system.
Once that's all done—save your settings—and exit the BIOS proceeding to boot from the installation disc of your original version of Windows.
For those who don't know how to do this, simply make sure the installation disc is in the drive—and press the Boot Menu key at the BIOS flash screen. This key might be specific for your machine, and you'll have to pay close attention to the bottom of the screen where it should be displayed. For most machines, the Boot Menu is F11.
Step 2: Clean your hard drive using Command Prompt from boot.
Once you've booted from your Windows installation media. There in the opening menu, you should see the "Repair your computer..." option somewhere in the opening contents. Select that option and navigate the recovery menu until you find the find the Command Prompt option. Select that option, and when the CMD window pops up, enter the following commands in sequence.
select volume # — [enter the number listed as your hard drive]
This will totally wipe your hard drive clean, including your boot records, and clear out any sneaky corruptions that might be haunting your hard drive.
Step 3: Re-install your original version of Windows.
Close the Command Prompt window—reboot your computer—and proceed to boot from your Windows installation disc once again to begin a fresh install your original version of Windows. Once you have it installed—activate it (via phone for example)—and then proceed to the next step.
Step 4: Update your bios and chipset.
Check your motherboard or computer manufacturer's website for any bios or chipset updates that might be available for your machine. Download those updates in advanced on a clean drive (or via mobile preferably)—and then run those updates after you clean install your previous OS, but before you upgrade to Windows 10.
The instructions on how to upgrade the BIOS should be included in the download. If it's not, this method involves running the .bin file as an Administrator—and once the cmd window finishes crunching numbers, physically reboot your computer and spam the [DEL] key to enter the BIOS again.
Navigate the BIOS menu and select "Load default settings". It should prompt you with a message, "Do you want to load optimized default settings?" Select yes—and then proceed to save your settings and exit.
Step 5: Upgrade to Windows 10.
At this point, you should be able to jump straight into Windows 10 by using the method provided above without having to run any updates. Just make sure to use an installation disc (not a USB) and run "setup.exe" from the File Explorer to upgrade to Windows 10 while retaining your activated status.
Keep in mind that this is the method you will have to use in order to fresh install your OS and upgrade to Windows 10 in the event that something goes wrong later on.
If you're running a system who's product key is embedded in the bios, or who's product key is not from a full-retail version of Windows, you will have to reinstall your previous version—activate it—and only then will you be able to upgrade to Windows 10 while retaining your activated status (using the method above).
You will also want to keep your computer physically disconnected from the internet during this recovery/upgrade process—as well as have your IP address forcibly changed by your Internet Service Provider—or change it manually yourself.
For some, changing the IP address manually can be as simple as unplugging your modem and then plugging it back in. Yet for others, this technique might involve going into your router's settings and changing the MAC Address Clone (you can just enter in anything in there so long as it's different)—as well as changing the Subnet Mask and starting IP.
Some Internet Service Providers assign their IP addresses based on MAC Address and Subnet Mask, so you will need to change them before your ISP issues you a new IP address.
Advanced Recovery Options
Once you're successfully upgraded to Windows 10, before you've placed any of your private files onto your system (including programs), you should make a System Image backup for your system—as well as a System Recovery Disc.
I'm not certain how Microsoft is going to cut off the free upgrade service they're offing for Windows 10. For this reason, you'll want to create a System Image of your perfectly clean Windows 10, which can act as an advanced form of clean installation if something goes wrong later on.
Just make sure that Windows 10 is activated before you make this System Image—even if that means temporarily connecting your computer to the internet in order to activate it. So long as you've changed your IP address, it should be perfectly safe for you to connect to the internet this way.
After you've created a perfectly clean System Image, you can go ahead and load all your files, settings, and programs onto Windows—and then make another System Image that you can make a series of updates to over time to act as your secondary backup.
System Image will only retain files that were on the system when the image was created, so back up and new files that precious to you before performing a System Image recovery.
System Image can be found in Windows 10 by following the instructions below.
Right-click the Start Menu → Control Panel → Backup and Restore (Windows 7)
If you create your System Image on a hard drive, make sure to keep that hard drive disconnected from your system outside of the backup and recovery process—in order to prevent your System Image backup from being corrupted.
Always perform a System Image recovery by booting from your System Recovery Disc—and you may also want to consider flashing the bios each time—to shake your system down.
On a final note, if you ever clean the hard drive from Command Prompt, you're going to have to fresh install Windows 10 before you can use your System Image recover, since the clean function erases the boot records. However, once it's re-installed, you should be able to run your System Image recovery to restore your computer to its previous activated state.
This is the method I recommend using (including changing your IP address again) if you should ever revert back to your fresh install Windows 10 System Image backup—in order to shake your system down and remove any sneaky corruptions that might be haunting the hard drive.