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How to do a clean install of Windows 11

A clean install of Windows 11 allows you to boot your computer with a USB memory or DVD disc installation media, clean the disc and perform a reset for recovery purposes or a new setup. This page is for a clean install of Windows 11.
See the separate page below for how to reinstall using the “Reset this PC” initialization function.
Preparing for a clean install of Windows 11

Clean install overview

You can format (initialize) the disk and change or create partitions by booting from the installation media and performing a clean installation.
A clean install can set up Windows 11 in a completely new state by formatting the disk. Time for a clean install
Depending on the computer environment and setting time, a clean install takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The verifier was about 20 minutes with intel i5-10400 memory 16GB SSD. 

In Home version local account
Ver.22H2 , creating a local account in a clean installation has increased the trouble of editing the registry or automatically editing the registry with commands in addition to disconnecting the network.
Create a local account with Windows11 22H2 setup In addition, if you want to create local accounts on multiple 22H2 units, you can save time and effort by creating installation media that can create local accounts with Rufus, a famous boot media application, and doing a clean install.
How to create installation media that can be created by Windows 11 local users For Ver.21H2 , you can disconnect the network on the user account screen and create a local account. For details, see “Adding User Accounts”.

 Windows 11 authentication
If the computer to be installed is already using Windows 10 or Windows 11 and you want to perform a clean installation, proceed without entering the product key.
If the computer that was using Windows 10/11 to be installed is the same edition (Home, Pro) to be clean installed, there is no need to re-authenticate, but there are points to note.
For details, please refer to ” Authentication by clean installation “. When installing Windows 11 for the first time on a computer other than Windows 10 or a new computer, it is necessary to activate the license with the product key of Windows 11 or Windows 10 during setup or after installation.
You can check the license and perform the authentication operation in “License Authentication” of “System” in “Settings”.

Creating installation media

To create Windows 11 installation media, use the “MediaCreationTool” application provided by Microsoft.

Here, only the main points are introduced, but the details of how to download Windows 11 and create installation media are introduced on the separate page below, so please have a look there.

Essentials of creating installation media

  • Click “Download now” under “Create Windows 11 installation media” on the Windows 11 download page.
  • Double-click the installation media creation tool “MediaCreationToolW11” to run it.
  • Select “Language and Edition Selection”.
  • Select whether to create installation media with “USB memory” or “DVD disc”

Perform Windows 11 clean install

1. Boot your computer with the installation media.

Set the boot device order so that the installation media (USB memory or DVD disk) boots first. To boot the computer from the installation media, turn on the computer and immediately press “Delete”, “F2”, “F12”, “F9”, and “F8” to display the BIOS (UEFI) setting screen and select the boot device. Please read the manual as it varies depending on the manufacturer and model. By placing the installation media (DVD/USB) in the boot order before the disk drive, you can boot from that media.1. Start the Windows 11 installation media, and after a while, the initial setting screen such as language will be displayed.

If you have a DVD installation disc, when you see “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD …_”, immediately press any key on your keyboard.

 2. Select the keyboard type, etc., and click “Next”.
Japanese Windows 11 installation only allows selection of Japanese or English keyboard. If you want to set other language keyboard, you can change it after clean install.
Windows 11 keyboard settings – change/add Japanese, English, other languages
3. Click Install Now.
“Starting setup” will be displayed, so wait for a while.
 4. Click I don’t have a product key.

  • If the Windows 11 or Windows 10 to be clean installed is the same edition (Home, Pro) used, basically there is no need to re-authenticate, so the product key is not entered.
  • Enter the product key and click “Next” if you are setting up for the first time on a clean installed PC, or authenticate after installation.

 5. Select your edition and architecture.

If you are doing a clean install by reinstalling, select the same edition as you were using. Choosing a different one will require re-authentication.
If you are setting up Windows 10 for the first time on a clean-installed PC, please select according to your license.

Check and if there are no mistakes, click “Next”. 6. At “Applicable notices and license terms”, click “I agree”, place a check mark, and click “Next”.
 7.Important Select installation type Click “Custom: Install Windows only” .

If you choose to upgrade, you will not be able to perform a clean install because your data will be inherited.8. Select where to install Windows 11
For a clean install by reinstalling, select the partition where Windows 11 is currently installed.

Please refer to the page below for details on how to format and partition, such as doing a clean install on a new SSD , or rebuilding and dividing existing disk partitions.

The instructions below are for a clean install on an existing disk.

    • Select the partition to be installed, click “Format” if there is no mistake, confirmation will be displayed and click “OK” to start formatting.
      If format is not clickable, please refer to “Partition and Format” at the above URL.
    • Once the format is complete and click Next, a clean install will be performed.
do not format

  • If you left folders other than Windows basic data or files in the user folder, select the disk and proceed to “Next”.
  • Click OK when the warning appears.
  • If you do not format the disk, the previous data will be created in the “Windows.old” folder. Also, the capacity is quite large, and depending on the environment, unnecessary files may remain.
  • Since it’s a clean install, I recommend “formatting” it.

* If you do not format, you may not be able to click “Next” and proceed.

9. Wait for the clean installation preparation to start.
 When preparation for clean installation is completed, “Windows must be restarted to continue” is displayed, and the boot screen appears after restarting. Depending on the PC, the installation media may start after restarting, and the initial setting screen for installation may be displayed again. In this case, you can continue the clean installation by removing the installation media, clicking the “×” close button in the upper right of the setting screen and restarting. Just wait for a while. The reboot is executed, the preparation screen is displayed, and after automatically rebooting several times, “Please wait” is displayed.
 10. If the clean install proceeds without problems, the region selection screen will be displayed after the Windows 11 logo is displayed.

Initial settings before completing Windows 11 clean install

From here, make initial settings such as user accounts and privacy. When installing Windows 11, if you cannot connect to the Internet, you cannot normally make initial settings. If you cannot connect, please refer to the following page.
What to do when Windows 11 Internet is not connected and cannot be set up
1. “Is this the area you live in?” is displayed. Check the country name and click “Yes”.
 2. Voice guidance may start after a while. To mute the sound, click the “Speaker” button.
 3. Click Yes when asked Is this the correct keyboard layout or input method?
 4. “Would you like to add a second keyboard layout?” This is a setting to add a non-Japanese keyboard layout.
Click “Skip” if you don’t need it. Adding a keyboard can be set even after installation.
 Before the next setting, “Checking for updates.” may be displayed, but it is OK.
 5. When “Let’s name your PC” is displayed, enter your computer name. It’s the name of the PC, not the username.

  • You can change the name of your PC even after installation. Skip for now if you want to change it later .
  • If you want to set the PC name, enter it in the box and click ” Next “.
  • On Windows, if you use hiragana or kanji for your user name, it will cause problems, so half-width alphanumeric characters are recommended.

* If you set the name of the PC here and click “Next”, the PC will restart, so wait for a while. How would you like to configure this device? (Setting only for Ver.21H2)
This setting item is not displayed in the Home version. It also does not appear in his Pro version of Ver.22H2. Set “Personal use” or “Organization use”.
If you want to create a local account, select “For organization”.

6.Add User Accounts
Pro and Home versions have different setup screens. For the Home version, adding a Microsoft account is required, but there is also a workaround to create a local account. Both Pro versions can create a local account by selection operation. See the local account section for details. 

How to create an account “by type”

  • 6-1. Move to create user with Microsoft account ↓
  • 6-2. Move to create user with local account ↓
6-1. Create a user with a Microsoft account Create a user with an already registered Microsoft account
Enter the email or phone number used for Microsoft services and click “Next” to display the password entry screen and sign in. .

  • If the account protection screen appears, enter the required information and click “Next” or click “Skip”.
  • “Create a PIN (password substitute)” may be displayed. If you want to set a PIN, operate as described, and close the screen with “x” in the upper right if you do not need it.
    You can set a “PIN” for logging in to your Microsoft account even after installation.

 Create a new user with a Microsoft account
If you don’t have an account, you can create one. , click Create.
 Here, you can use only email services provided by major companies such as Gmail / Yahoo, but there are reports of problems, so it is better to “acquire a new email address ” .

  • If you enter an email address such as Gmail in the box, Microsoft will create a Microsoft account by linking it with your Google account information. For example, if you link with Gmail, you will be able to log in to Windows 11 with your Gmail email address and password.
  • If you don’t want or can’t use your email service email address, click Get New Email Address
  • Enter your preferred username in the box and click Next.
  • If the user name is already registered, a message will be displayed. Enter a different name and click “Next” again.
  • If the message is not displayed, click “Next”.

 Enter (set) a password and click Next.
 Enter your first and last name, then your country/region and date of birth.
 Create a PIN “Only if you created a new Microsoft account”

  • When prompted to Create a PIN, click Create PIN.
  • Enter the same PIN in both boxes and click OK. Select Include letters and symbols if you want the PIN to also include symbols.
  • Click Cancel if you don’t need a PIN, but sometimes you can’t cancel. You will then need to create a PIN.
What is a PIN?
Set a PIN instead of a password. The PIN will be saved on the computer you created and will be linked to your Microsoft account password and his PIN. Since the PIN is saved on the computer, it can be used only on the computer (terminal) that has been set, so it can improve security.

Your Microsoft account is now created. Proceed to
the next section, Device Privacy Settings .

6-2. Create a user with a local account
Please note that the local account creation method is different between the Pro version and the Home version.
Creating a local account with the Home version
Home version Ver.21H2 and 22H2 have different ways of coping. Detailed instructions for creating a local account are provided on separate pages. For Home Ver.21H2 When
the screen to add a Microsoft account appears, disconnect the network. To disconnect, unplug the network cable, go out of reach for Wi-Fi, or turn off Wi-Fi with the keyboard. When the network connection is disconnected, click the “←” back button on the upper left of the screen to display the local account creation screen. Create a local account with
21H2 initial settings
 For Home Ver.22H2
After disconnecting from the network, you can create a local account by editing the registry or executing a command. Create a local account with
22H2 setup
Create a local account with the Pro version
For Pro Ver.21H2

  • Click “Sign-in options” and then click “Offline accounts” on the screen that appears.
  • When prompted about your Microsoft account, click Skip for now.

 For Pro Ver.22H2
In Ver.22H2, “Skip now” has been changed to ” Join the domain instead “.

  • Click “Sign-in options” and then click “Offline accounts” on the screen that appears.
  • When you see “Sign-in options”, click ” Join a domain instead “.

■ From here, the operation is the same for both Pro and Home.
Who will use this device? is displayed, enter the “user account name” in the “Name” box and click “Next”.

* As mentioned in “PC name”, it is recommended to use half-width alphanumeric characters for the user name . Problems may arise, such as the inability to use foreign-made apps in Japanese. create a password

  • In the password box, enter your password and click Next.
  • When the “Confirm Password” screen appears, enter the same password again in the box and click “Next”.

 Create a security question for this account
*This setting is required.

  • If you forget your password, you can process it by answering the question.
  • Select the content of the question, enter “Answer” and click “Next”.
  • The question and answer should have 3 types of content.
  • The content of the question once selected cannot be used.

This completes the creation of the local account. Go to
” Device privacy settings “.

The settings in the frame below are displayed when you create a Microsoft account.7. Initial settings when a Microsoft account is created The
following initial settings can be set after installation even if you select “Skip”. 7-1.In the case of reinstallation, a restore message is displayed
If you created a user with the Microsoft account that was previously used in a clean installation , the contents of restore will be displayed, so click “Next”.
 7-2. Create a PIN
If you created a user with the Microsoft account that was previously used in a clean installation, the “PIN” re-creation screen will be displayed here.

  • Click Create PIN, enter the same PIN in both boxes on the setup screen, and click OK. Select Include letters and symbols if you want the PIN to also include symbols.
  • Click Cancel if you don’t need a PIN, but sometimes you can’t cancel. You will then need to create a PIN.

 7-3. Select device privacy settings
If you have created a Microsoft account, “Privacy Settings” will be displayed here

 7-4. Customize your experience

  • Experience is a function that sends the usage status of videos, websites, games, etc. to Microsoft and provides advertisements and recommendations to the information source.
  • Normally, it is “Skip”, but if you want to use it, please select what information you want to be notified and click “Accept”.

 7-5. Synchronize files using OneDrive

  • OneDrive is a cloud function that uploads and saves created files to Microsoft’s server, and can be used free of charge up to 5GB. Before you exceed 5GB, you will be frequently reminded to charge.
  • Note: Please note that some created files may not be saved on the PC. If you don’t know how OneDrive works, you may run into trouble with files disappearing when you unlock them.
  • If you are not familiar with OneDrive, click “Save files only to this PC” here. OneDrive can be enabled even after a clean install.
  • If you use OneDrive, click “Next”.

7-6.Smartphone Synchronization
When the “Use an Android smartphone from a PC” screen appears, select “Skip” if you do not want to use it, or “Follow the instructions, such as reading a QR code” if you want to use it.
 7-7.Using Games
A screen recommending you to use PC GAME Pass games for a fee may appear, but click “Not now”. There is no need to set and decide to use it here.
From here on, the displayed progress screen may differ depending on the clean installation environment, but there is no problem. 

8. Select device privacy settings
If you have created a Microsoft account, “Privacy settings” will not be displayed because you have completed them.

  • You can make settings such as sending location information and Windows 11 usage status to Microsoft. Click the switch button to disable (No) or enable (Yes).
  • If you click “Next” when the setting is completed, the setting will be displayed, so set it and click “Next”.
  • Click the Agree button when it appears. Click to reboot and start the final configuration.

*This setting can be set in more detail in “Privacy and Security” in “Settings” after a clean installation. 9. Final stage of clean install

  • “This may take a few minutes.” is displayed, and after another message is displayed, “It is almost completed” is displayed, so please wait for a while.
  • It may restart automatically depending on the environment. Also, please do not force quit just because you are not progressing.

 10.Completion of clean installation
If the home screen is displayed, clean installation is complete. 

About activation by Windows 11 clean installation

If the computer that was using Windows 10 has been digitally authenticated , there is no need to “re-authenticate” even if you clean install Windows 11. Even if you replace the hard disk with an SSD and do a clean install, the license will be activated automatically. 

Reactivate your license with a digital certificate

The digital authentication mechanism
links license authentication with a unique ID such as the motherboard (main circuit board), records it on the Microsoft side, and authenticates it over the Internet. If it doesn’t seem to be authenticated after a clean install, check if you can connect to the internet.
To check whether digital authentication has been performed, open “Settings” from the Start menu and check from “Activation status” in “License activation”.
 Even if the digital certificate is not displayed, if you used it with a Microsoft account, there is no problem because the license is linked.
Re-authentication may fail if you repartition the disk while using a local account and digital authentication is not possible. If you fail , you can basically re-authenticate by contacting Microsoft ( see the end ) and explaining the details. The safest way to re-authenticate is to create an additional “Microsoft Account” user and link the digital license before performing a clean
installation of Windows 11 . If you create a Microsoft account, it will be re-authenticated smoothly during a clean install.

PC upgraded to Windows 10

Even if you clean install Windows 11 on a computer that has been upgraded from Windows 7/8 to Windows 10, it will basically be re-authenticated automatically. If you clean install the upgraded computer and re-authentication fails, you can authenticate with the originally installed Windows 7/8 product key. If you want to activate the license (input the product key) after clean installation, click “Change the product key” in the “License activation” explanation above. 

Check product key

It is a good idea to check the product key in case the re-authentication fails.
Authentication fails and when I contact Microsoft, they ask me for the product key. If you know the product key in advance, you can perform the re-authentication procedure smoothly. 

Inquiries about Microsoft’s license
*If a recognition problem occurs with a clean (re)installation, contact Microsoft for authentication.

  • Phone number for Microsoft activation center
  • Help with Windows activation errors
Safety measures after clean install

  • It is convenient to create a recovery drive so that you can perform recovery operations with peace of mind even if Windows 11 fails to boot.
  • If you have enough disk space, enabling System Restore will increase your safety.

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