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How to install Windows 10 Technical Preview

It's been only a few days since Microsoft talked about what's next with Windows 10, and slightly ahead of schedule a brand new release of the Technical Preview has been pushed out. Now that you have had some time to catch your breath and get to grips with what's new, you may be considering giving it a try yourself – and given the number of new Insider sign ups, there looks to be a lot of you!

We've put together a quick how-to below to get you on your way to Windows 10.

Before you begin

What is a Technical Preview? It means a beta OS, along with an emphasis on testing and feedback to Microsoft. The new preview expires on October 1, 2015. Most scenarios should have users directly updating from the Technical Preview to the final OS in mid-to-late-2015.

Before you charge ahead, there are a few things you will want to consider. First and foremost, this is a just preview, and along with that comes all of its flaws and imperfections, as well as what will surely be tons of updates to follow. For that reason, it probably isn't a good idea to install Windows 10 on your primary computer.

Computers running Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.1 can all take the Technical Preview. RT devices like the Surface RT and Surface 2 cannot take advantage at this time.

During the installation, you can choose to wipe clean your current OS and start new with Windows 10, or just update the OS, keeping all of your files and settings. Most of us have done the latter with no installation problems or hiccups.

The earlier previews weren't optimized for touchscreen computers, but we've now seen a lot more touch-friendly activity unveiled such as Continuum. But that doesn't mean you're going to have a swell old time all round. Again, this is beta software, things will be broken and just all round janky. Microsoft needs your help making the bugs go away and the finished product better than ever.

And as a final consideration before installing, you should definitely read Microsoft's Frequently Asked Questions page (opens in new tab). It is also highly advised that you create a recovery drive (opens in new tab), just in case you want to revert back to your previous operating system. In most cases, including on the Surface Pro 3, installing the Technical Preview will overwrite the recovery partition with the Windows 10 image, making a system refresh ineffectual should you choose to revert.

Still here?

Well then, it seems you've decided to take the plunge. In that case, here is what you need to do:

  1. First, you need to sign up for the Windows Insider Program (opens in new tab). It's quick and easy. Just follow the link, sign in with your Microsoft Account and accept the terms and conditions.
  2. Once you're in, you will be directed to download the disk image, also known as an ISO file. This is just under 4GB, so make sure you download it well before you are ready to start the installation.

  1. Next, you need to either burn the ISO image to a DVD, extract the files from the image or mount the image as a virtual drive. In Windows 8, you can mount an ISO file simply by right-clicking and choose Mount. From our experience, it is best to keep the ISO on the C:\ drive for installation, instead of using a USB device.

  1. Once ready, just double-click setup.exe and you are on your way
  2. The installation wizard will walk you through the necessary steps

The process of actual installation averages around 20 minutes, depending on the speed of the computer. The OS will install itself, rebooting a few times. Nearly at all times, a progress screen will be present, usually with a percentage indicator to keep you abreast of the process.

Windows 8.1 is smart. Should the Technical Preview run into problems during installation, it should rollback the installation and leave you with your current OS untouched. At this point, you can then try to diagnose what caused the setback.

Once you're up and running, be sure report your findings and share your thoughts in our new Windows 10 forums. Those forums are also a great spot to find help on this process should you have any problems.

Do you have any tips or advice to share with others on installing the Technical Preview? Comment below and let us know!

312 Comments
  • Seems helpful
  • I downloaded the file to my SP3 but each time I right click to mount the ISO it states "sorry, there was a problem mounting the file". Help?
  • You'll need either Daemon tools or a program that gives you a virtual drive you can mount ISOs on. Derp.
  • Thank you.
  • Windows 8 can mount iso files by default.Looks like your downloaded file is corrupt.I think you should download once again
  • Yes
  • That works too but Windows 8.1 should be able to mount directly. I have done this twice with no issues.
  • Daniel, should I try this through Virtual Box, or directly on my SP3 i5 128g 4g ram? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.
  • was about to ask the same question  
  • it fails to download every time when i click om downlaod buttom giving error 0x80200013
  • ISO mounting is native to windows 8. So slow down on the derp...
  • Rufus to make bootable usb
  • You can also decompress it.
  • Just Extract the files from Winrar. It would take 10 minutes or so.
    Then just double click the setup in that extracted folder, the windows will start installing the newer version. Or just make a bootable pendrive from the extracted files through the software: NOVICORP WIN TO FLASH.
  • If you have UEFI, you don't need Win2Flash. Just extract the contents of the ISO to a FAT32 formatted USB drive. It will appear as an option when launching the boot device menu upon restart.
  • You can use this free website http://www.windows-preview.com instead of downloading whole 4.5 GB image and installing it. It has saved my 3 hours.
  • It'll say that if you have an SD card in taking the drive letter it's defaulting to try to use, likely being the D: drive.  The error is for its attempt at mounting on D:, after which it'll then mount it as an E: drive.  Check Explorer after getting the error and see if it did indeed actually mount it.
  • I have had this happen: Create a second copy of the ISO by right-dragging and dropping, and run the copied ISO. It seems to be part of the "protection" Windows applies to files from unknown origins.
  • or unlock in properties
  • Its a bug in SP3, When ever you mount the ISO file it throws an error but it is already mounted , Open your explorer and you will see the Virtual Disk mounted, The more number of tries you mount the more disks you see on drives list, Hope it helps 
  • I had the same message too when I double clicked the ISO file, but then I went to This PC and clicked on the mounted drive and everything worked. You shouldn't need to do something else.
  • Also, sorry to hijack your comment, but I don't think Seth gave enough warning. Seriously, people, if you have ANY questions or don't understand something, then this isn't for you. I don't say that to be mean, but Microsoft isn't looking for "Plz bring Bach de charms halp", they're looking for enterprise's and power user's feedback.
  • Sounds like me :3
    I research if I need to, I love beta testing stuff, even if there is a few snags. And ill provide feedback about things as I use them. I spend ALOT of time on my PC.
    I just need to find out if I can get plugins like Flash Java and Unity. If so I'm jumping right in, already got a virtual iso mountable cd drive from when I torrented KotOR 2 and Battlefront 2 :3
  • It can run all Java, Flash and Unity
    Almost if you can run it on Windows 8.1 you can do it on Windows 10 with no problem
  • I cannot agree with you more .. MS should not even be delivering these as ISO's they should be literally Hyper-V or Virtual PC image just like they do with https://www.modern.ie for testing IE and such .. Just setting people up to complain because they dont know what they are getting into.
  • I disagree with your assessment of what Microsoft wants. This is just the kind of thinking that produces Win 8 before its time. It is a great OS but it fails if there is not mass adoption. Trust me that mass adoption is exactly what Microsoft needs. I'm not a techie but I am a heavy user of technology and consider myself an early adopter. Given that I'm a heavy user, I approach new technology from an "ease of use" perspective. I don't try to find back doors just to make stuff work. I give feedback regarding ease of use and ultimately productivity. When win 10 is released, it's success is going to based on adoption rate. If users like myself don't get it intuitively then I assure you that it is going to fail. I am however rooting heavily for its success which is why I'm seeking to participate. If Microsoft receives feedback just from the tech enthusiast then they would be missing feedback from its core constituents. Sure they can take a chance of getting it right but Vista and Win 8 are examples why that's not a good plan. I appreciate that you're a techie and commend you on your efforts but if you hijack the feedback process then we do a disservice to Microsoft and what they are trying to accomplish.
  • Best written comment I have ever seen on wpcentral.
  • Microsoft is looking for feedback but not from casual users right now. The technical preview is for power users and enterprises. The customer preview which will come around April is meant for casual users. Right now these people should stay away from a technical preview. That's kind of what Joe belfiore said on stage.
  • Then you fundamentally misunderstand the entire point of this preview, and it really concerns me that you're going to be submitting a lot of feedback. Don't put words in my mouth and think that I don't think that Microsoft doesn't want consumer's feedback, but the "mass adoption" crowd that they need is NOT who this preview is for. What you're thinking of is the CONSUMER preview, which is different from this TECHNICAL preview. This preview is made for their biggest customers that they screwed over with Windows 8, the enterprise. They want the enterprise, power users, and computer professionals to help them with the nitty gritty of the development, then when the consumer edition comes, THEN people like you can suggsest UI/UX improvements. Anyways, it's clear that I can't help you see why this preview isn't for you, so I guess I'll just have to move on, because it's clear that nothing that I'm saying is getting through.
  • Yes but at the same time, if you can't understand you are running alpha software, or don't know how to troubleshoot mounting an ISO, then you shouldn't be running it. this is a TECHNICAL preview, not a RTM, or open beta for obscure bugs. This should not be run on a primary machine. I see alot of people who are asking questions about stuff like how do I boot to an iso file.. this person should not be running the preview, but they are trying to. It will not go good and will give a bad impression of windows 10. They need to more heavily and in GIANT RED LETTERS, say ALPHA, STUFF WON"T WORK, USE AT OWN RISK!
  • I agree... People should not be installing this on their main machine. In fact, this is the first time that I finally jumped into VIRTUAL MACHINES in order to test it without having to worry about not having my main machine having to be formatted multiple times, over and over again. I suggest everyone who doesn't have a machine they can test on to install it on a virtual machine. A youtube search "how to install windows 10 technical preview on a virtual machine" should solve that. ;)
  • Is there any way to install windows 10 on an external hard drive or flash drive? I don't have enough storage left on my computer to use a VM.
  • Maybe creating a virtual disk on the external hard drive?
  • At one point you and I had to install an iso for the first time, so why shouldn't someone else ask a question to do it for the first time?
  • BetaRelease, you are 100% on point! Whilst it might be called a technical preview, 10's success will be based on breadth as well as depth of feedback. 8 is a prime example of how a reimagined OS can fail if it's purely technical user feedback derived.
  • That would be true if after Technical Preview it went straight to Retail version. But it usually goes to consumer preview. The whole point of trying to shield the normal folk from using Technical preview is because it can be very buggy. So buggy, that the normal user might get the impression that the software is just shit, when in fact they are just letting advanced users try the features they are developing with minimum oversight that it works. The consumer preview on the other hand is meant to be a polished version where people can give feedback on current features, ask for more features and ensure that all everything is working properly. I do agree that, in order to get normal folk to be advanced we shouldn't tell people to wait until their version is out, but instead educate of the possible problems they might run while still helping each other on installing the software in a way that's none destructive to someone new. In this case Virtual machines could definitly help meet both goals where a normal user can use the operating system, see where it's at, comment, suggest and not risk damaging their real files. If we don't allow people to learn from the ones who know better, how can truly achieve a level of comprehension that allows us all to have an intelligent dialogue?
  • Seems faster
  • Is this available for mob also
  • Yes! This is for everyone. Just download the 4gb iso file, extract it by winrar and make a bootable pendrive from it by using Novicorp WinToFlash software.
    Install from the bootable pendrive.
  • i think he means phones, so no
  • OMG! What just happened. See the date on my comment, I posted it on 7th October, how is it here!
  • @vivekelectron Many comments here are showing this date. What happened? :P lol
  • Old post reposted ;)
  • We have to wait until after the superbowl :(
  • Now if only I could install it over windows XP....
  • Guess I'll have to live with a second partition on my laptop hard drive...
  • You have todo a clean install for Vista/XP, and make sure your specs meet the minimum.
  • Right, but all I got was some error. Can't remember at the moment. I'll probably just add a second partition. Or make use of one of my many shelved computers.... hmm
  • Why everytime it asks me for a password at login screen?? How to remove it??
  • You have connected it to your Microsoft account.
    Hence the password requirement. U can change it I think, but I have not tried it. Sent from somewhere. Don't worry I ain't illegal.
  • Settings >Change PC Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options
  • Daniel - a lil help mounting this iso image on my sp3?
  • You might need to redownload the ISO. You can also try downloading 7-Zip (http://www.7-zip.org) and see if that can open the ISO that you already have downloaded.
  • Got Daemon tools or a virtual cd drive for mounting ISOs?
  • Not necessary as 8/8.1 can mount ISOs in Explorer. There is likely something wrong wit the ISO file itself.
  • Dude. Just wait... Why mess up your perfectly functional sp3 if you're not quite sure how to do it.
  • True, the preview Is for power users and tech geeks that know what they're doing. Might not be a good idea if you cant do something as simple as mount an ISO.
  • Might be a great time for someone to learn and do these things for the first time. People aren't born experts and never will be if they don't jump in and try. Hopefully, this is not on a mission critical computer for them.
  • This isn't a consumer preview. There could be crashes that could cause files to become corrupted especially if a novice is behind the wheel. Obviously if he's willing to still take the risk and feels comfortable with restoring his computer back to factory by all means go right ahead. Just advice - that's all.
  • This
  • I have had it since day 1 on my SP3 and everything works perfect like 8.1 and in some instances better. The only issue I've had so far is that the Surface pen doesn't open OneNote when I click it but that's not a big deal to me.
  • This. Many touch options are not yet updated. There will be updated builds soon and when they are ready to roll out the feature that will identify whether you have your keyboard attached, then I would update on your Pro 3. However, it is ridiculous to think they discourage consumers from installing if their system allows. If that were the case the preview would have been locked down for only IT and tech professionals. As I watch the feedback launch when I try a new feature I note it is quite user friendly and very"consumer"oriented.
  • Sorry if it sounds like we were trying to discourage. It was meant more as an advice -
  • I wouldn't install this on a touch device yet. If you use your surface as a tablet as well then the experience is not ready for you. On a machine that is only keyboard/mouse I would go ahead without reservations.
  • It's working well on my dell venue 8 pro
  • I have a few questions if you can help me. How did you make the USB recovery drive? or did you use the Micro SD card? Also is there step-by-step isntruction somewhere which can help me to do the same? Thanks,
  • don't install the preview if you don't know how to mount it
  • Seems faster
  • No it doesn't
  • yes it does. When I transfer large files using my USB 3.0 hub, it used to average around 80 MBps in my original Surface Pro on Windows 8.1, but with this Win 10 Tech Preview, it averages around 85 MBps. But I did see some bugs though like "you are almost out of memory" messages while I still have almost 2 GB free in my 4 GB RAM. but it didn't crash yet. Overall I like Win 10 so far.
  • It does. It definitely does.
  • Part of the speed illusion is it is almost completely devoid of animations. No spinning Windows, fading menus. Everything snaps right now. Goes to show how much degradation of performance we all take for granted in our OSs and apps in the search for style and eye candy. Vista is a prime example of this to the extreme.
  • I need windows 10 Phone !
  • I'd be happy with just one....maybe two!...nah, just one for me, thanks.
  • Haha :) i need to know how to upgrade from windows 7 to 10 free !? (of course when the update is available) maybe it is attributed with the windows updates in the control panel or what? And another question what about xbox games any change? it is useless xbox app!
  • I like this guy.
  • Are you confessing something?
    What's his name? Does he like you back?
  • O.o
  • Gay detected
  • You read it wrong.  He said 'I like this gUy'.
  • May be she..
  • Tip: If you have a Windows 8 and 8gb of RAM (recommended) or more, go to Programs and Features and turn on Hyper-V. Then you can run Windows 10 in a virtual environment without sacrificing your current OS. Turning on the network card in hyper-v requires a few extra steps.
  • How do you go back?
  • Sure you can. But only with the x86 (32 bit) version. You can't install 64 bit Windows 10 on a virtual machine.
  • You absolutely can install the 64 bit version in a virtual machine. There may be some restriction depending on your host OS, but I've been running 64 bit virtual machines for several years including the Windows 10 previews.
  • Is Linux your host OS?
  • I have installed Windows 10 TP 64bit on WMware and it runs quite well. takes more time to start of course though.
  • Just do a separate partition to guarantee smoothness.
  • Won't you have to remove it once the update officially comes out so it's not worth it unless you have a few computers laying around
  • Beta testers will be updated to official build, in thanks for helping them test.
  • I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. LOL
  • Eehhhh, no.
  • Re read the article, you missed something.
  • This your first time with microsoft beta's? If you are going to believe "Most scenarios should have users directly updating from the Technical Preview to the final OS in mid-2015." that line then go for it install on your primary drive and start using it. Others will mount it with hyper-v or install on a machine to test and scrub when done like we have with every other version of windows.
  • If you have to read this article you shouldn't be installing it. This article shouldn't exist.
  • But it does. If you read this article and still can't do it... Then stop trying.
  • This has to be one of the dumbest comments I've ever read on the Internet. How are people supposed to learn new things without the proper guidance? Trial and error would not be advisable in this situation.
  • For some reason people think if you don't already know how to do stuff, you should never learn.
  • >This has to be one of the dumbest comments I've ever read on the Internet. How are people supposed to learn new things without the proper guidance? Trial and error would not be advisable in this situation. No, it isn't....Learning new things is good, I try to learn something new every day ! :) This is not for the Noob, If you have never delt with blue-screens or reinstalling your computer from scrach, I would NOT advise you to do this. If you dont know the basics, how to install Windows from scrach, if this fails, do you know how to recover your system ? How do you fix it if your computer will no longer start up ? If you answer NO to any of those 2 questions, DO NOT INSTALL THIS. If you want to install it, use a different computer (not your mom's or your primary), that no one is using or needs. Just listen to a warning, this is early beta code, it will run but, it also COULD render your computer unusable. Your best bet to install this is a VM (vmware workstation) or to dual boot (boot up with the DVD/USB and install a new version but, you need a 2nd drive or parition).
  • Actually good reading these comments as I now realise I should not try the Technical and wait for the Consumer preview. Yeah, learnt not to try this one so thanks for all comments and views, appreciated.
  • Can I install plugins like Flash, Java, and Unity?
  • Probably but if you are required to have those running why are you even bothering with a unstable beta operating system in the first place? Dont jump the gun stay where you are and continue to get stuff done.
  • I like to beta test, but whenever I do some basic features must be there for me or I wont get into it. Like with Preview for Developers which I'm also In. Doesn't take away from basics and stil works. All I need to know.
  • Title sats "how to", but article actually does not explain which steps to follow. Ex. go to this link and download, then burn on DVD/ put on USB or just plain double-click the ISO (yes I can confirm that the latter works)
  • Is it possible to dual boot this preview and windows 8.1? I really want to try but I only have one laptop and I still want 8.1
  • Yes, you could create a secondary hard drive partition and install it to that partition. As long as you have enough extra space for the install.
  • Yes, you can. I have 8.1 with 10 on different partition.
  • Same here.
  • Do you mind listing the steps please? I tried doing this by copying the iso to usb. Setup launched and I chose a partition on my secondary hdd. It works only if I make the secondary hdd as primary. What I would like is a dual boot screen with 8.1 and 10.
  • I'm inclined to say if you don't know how you probably shouldn't be messing with such things.
  • Doesn't hurt to actually do something and learn, instead of closing your eyes and refusing to learn.
  • Well said.
  • And helps generate traffic here, with people asking how to downgrade.
  • Learning is good, just knowing how to fix your problems is NEEDED for this. If you dont know what your doing, odds are that if it fails your computer is un usable, and you wont know how to fix it. There is also the time later, where when 10 expires and you cant upgrade to the final from the prieview, how do you get your system back, as if you dont know, you could be screwed...
  • This. I didn't know how to install a second OS until the Windows 8 Consumer Preview came out. I read some articles, learned, and now I can help others.
  • I'm inclined to say, no matter what your computer experience level is, give it a try. Of course I would preface that with the usual warning to "Only install on a non-primary computer" and be aware that you may be setting yourself up for a lot of frustration. While I'll agree that the Technical Preview is geared primarily towards power and enterprise users, it doesn't hurt for others to try out the OS as well.  I don't consider myself a power user by any sense of the word, but I can figure things out even if it takes me time and hair pulling to do so.  I believe that learning as much as one can about the OS, or any software, adds to a much greater appreciation of such, gives the user the knowledge and confidence to use and appreciate the OS more fully, and contributes to the W10 community in a positive way. Remember though, if you do sign up, don't bitch and whine (to yourself is acceptable), and contribute constructive feedback to Microsoft so that Windows 10 can be as great as we all want it to be upon official release.
  • If I chose to update my Win8.1 I loose everything accord