Windows 10 version 1903 clean installation

How to clean install Windows 10 version 1903, May 2019 Update

VIDEO: The best way to get Windows 10 May 2019 Update, version 1903, is doing a clean installation — Here's why and how to do it.

Windows 10 version 1903, May 2019 Update, is planned to roll out to compatible devices starting on May 21, 2019, and if you want to avoid problems the best way to upgrade to the new version is to perform a clean installation.

Although an in-place upgrade using Windows Update is typically the recommended method, there’s always a chance of issues and errors, which could result from custom configurations, apps and drivers incompatibility, and other problems. A clean installation minimizes the chances of problems because you’ll be deleting everything on the hard drive and installing a fresh copy of Windows 10 with the May 2019 Update.

Also, if you’ve been using the same installation for a long time, a clean installation of Windows 10 can help to improve performance, startup times, memory usage, and fix existing problems.

In this hands-on video, you’ll learn the steps to properly perform a clean installation of Windows 10 version 1903 on your desktop, laptop, or tablet using a USB bootable media created with the Microsoft Media Creation Tool.

How to do a clean install of Windows 10 version 1903

Once you’ve created the USB bootable media with the Media Creation Tool, to perform a clean install of Windows 10 to upgrade to the May 2019 Update, version 1903, use these steps:

  1. Start your PC with a USB bootable media.

  2. Press any key to begin.

  3. Click the Next button.

  4. Click the Install now button.

  5. Click the Skip button if you’re reinstalling. (If Windows 10 was already activated, after the installation it’ll re-activate automatically.)

  6. Check the I accept the license terms option.

  7. Click the Next button.

  8. Select the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option.

  9. Select each partition in the hard drive that you want to install Windows 10, and click the Delete button. (Usually, the “Drive 0” is the drive that contains all the installation files.)

    Warning: Deleting a partition also deletes all data within. Also, it’s not required to delete the partitions from a secondary hard drive.
  10. Select the hard drive (Drive 0 Unallocated Space) to install Windows 10.

  11. Click the Next button.

  12. After the installation, select your region in the first page of the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE).

  13. Click the Yes button.

  14. Select your keyboard layout.

  15. Click the Yes button.

  16. If you’re not setting a second keyboard layout, click the Skip button.

  17. If your device is using an Ethernet connection, your device will connect to the network automatically. If you’re using a wireless connection, you’ll need to set up the connection manually.

  18. Select the Set up for personal use option.

  19. Click the Next button.

  20. Type your Microsoft account email, phone, or Skype identification.

  21. Click the Next button.

  22. Type your Microsoft account password.

    Quick note: If you have the Microsoft Authenticator app on your phone, you can sign in without typing a password.
  23. Click the Next button.

  24. Click the Create a PIN button.

  25. Create a new PIN password.

  26. Click the OK button.

  27. Click the Yes button if you want to use Timeline across devices.

  28. Click the Do it later button to skip linking your phone to your PC. (You can always do this from the Settings app.)

  29. Click the Next button to set up OneDrive automatically. (Alternatively, you can click the Only save file to this PC option to skip this step.)

  30. Click the Accept button to enable Cortana on your device. (If you want to use the “Hey Cortana” feature, also check the Respond when I say “Hey Cortana” option.)

  31. Select your privacy settings that best suit your needs.

  32. Click the Accept button.

After completing the steps, you’ll be back on the desktop running the May 2019 Update.

You can also check this guide that outlines every step to prepare, create a backup, and start with a fresh copy of Windows 10. In the case you want to speed up the install process, you can also do an in-place upgrade using these instructions.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He's also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ & Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, and LinkedIn.