Do I need to Reserve Windows 10 to Upgrade (even after a format)?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Jeff P. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have the 'get windows 10' app on my PC, however, when try and install Windows 10, I get multiple error codes and it won't upgrade my system to Windows 10. Is it possible for me to reformat my hard drive, then reinstall Windows 7 (clean), download all my windows updates, then use the Windows 10 media creation tool and install Windows 10 from that? My major concern is that I will lose my reservation for Windows 10 after I format my hard drive. Can I reserve my Windows 10 upgrade again later, especially after I format my hard drive? "

My response:

This is a good question. The short answer is that you can reapply using the 'get windows 10' app if you like, or you can use the media creation tool. For what it's worth, I recommend doing a backup, format and reinstall of Windows if you are still receiving strange error messages when attempting to upgrade to Windows 10. Based on my experience, most users that format and reinstall Windows are able to upgrade to Windows 10 afterward.

The longer answer is as follows:

The idea of reserving a copy of Windows 10 is more of a marketing gimmick than anything, as there will never be a shortage of Windows 10. As long as you download and install Windows 10 onto your PC before July 29, 2016, then you will receive your free upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost.

With that said, there are two ways you can install Windows 10 onto your machine after you format and reinstall Windows 7: by using the 'get windows 10' app, or the media creation tool (as you mentioned). These two upgrade methods are also true if you upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to 10 and you don't format, first.

Qualifying for the Windows 10 Upgrade

In order to qualify for either of those, you will need to download all the windows updates and make your system current, otherwise the free upgrade will not work. Once the system is up to date, you should see the 'get windows 10' app re-appear in the tray bar because it is part of a Windows Update.

At this point you can either use the 'get windows 10' app to 'reserve' your copy of Windows 10 (which will then download Windows 10 through the Windows Update service at a later time), or you can use the Windows 10 media creation tool to download the Windows 10 .ISO directly to your machine.

Recommended: Use the Media Creation Tool

If you use the media creation tool, you can launch the Windows 10 installation once it finishes downloading, or you can create a Windows DVD / USB and install Windows 10 on your own schedule. I recommend doing the latter, as you can use the media to reinstall Windows 10 if you ever need to.

Note that if you choose to save Windows 10 to DVD or USB, you will need to run the Windows 10 installation inside of your existing Windows desktop environment, otherwise the upgrade will not work - though this will no longer be a prerequisite in the coming weeks.

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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gi7omy's picture

You can use the DVD or USB installer to install W10 on a blank drive, provided you know the key. What I did was to install W7, followed by W10 and then ran Magic Jelly bean, deleted the partition to remove any boot loaders, re-formatted and installed W10 from scratch. I was asked for the key which I entered and it installed with no problems

Dennis Faas's picture

The question is not whether he could do a clean install of Windows 10, but if he could format his drive (which already had Windows 7), then reinstall Windows 7, then still be able to qualify for the free upgrade to Windows 10 (from Windows 7).

Of course, if you already have Windows 10 installed on the machine and you want to reinstall Windows 10 again, you can simply do the clean install method you describe - though the key won't be necessary if the machine with Windows 10 has already been activated. It will automatically activate if you have an Internet connection.