[SOLVED] Should I use an installation USB from 2015 or buy a new one?

Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
So, my HDD is slowly on its way out, has been for a while now. I'm going to be replacing it at some point with a SSD (Samsung 860 Pro 1TB most likely). I'm not planning on migrating the content of my HDD to it, because I want to do a fresh installation on my desktop. I've done enough with computers and upgrades and the like to know that a clean install is the way to go. I also have some minor bugs with my current Windows 10 that I hope to eliminate with a clean install ; no reason to do a clean install now on a dying HDD and everything does work as it should when the HDD cooperates. My question is this:

Should I use the Windows 10 installation USB I bought back in September 2015 now in 2019/2020 (depending on when I decide to replace the HDD with the new SSD. I might let the HDD fully die before I replace it) and have it do as it should? Or would I be better served in buying a newer version/install USB and using it? I know that using the USB from 2015 means that I have 4 years worth of updates to apply to it and that increases the chances of something going wrong. I'm using Windows 10 Home 64-bit and that's what I plan on using whether I use the install stick I already have or if I buy a new install stick. I don't know if my build info is needed, but this is a gaming desktop that I built myself, not a pre-built desktop from HP/Dell/etc. I don't have to worry about bloatware and things like that gumming up the OS.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
115,470
2,274
145,090
18,764
No, you do NOT need to enter the license key, either during the download of the MediaCreation tool and building of the DVD or USB.
Or during the install. When it asks, skip...

This system had an activated/validated WIn 10. It will activate itself when it goes online after the install.
 
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
download latest from ms website
I'm a fan of having a physical copy of something and not getting a one time only (OEM) copy of something, which is why I want to buy a new installation USB rather than buying it direct from Microsoft and having just the one download burned onto a DVD (I wouldn't use up a USB just for one copy of Windows 10). I mainly want to know if I'm likely to run into more issues using the 2015 USB I have or if I should buy a newer USB, or if that matters since I don't know if the installation USBs are released periodically with updates already applied or if they're all the same. Thank you for your input.
 
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
even if you buy new usb. it might not have the latest iso.
you can burn it on a dvd.
I figured it wouldn't be the latest on the USB, but it would have fewer updates to apply as compared to the version I have.

Yes, I know I can burn it to a DVD. The issue I have is how many times will I be able to use. Considering that I've run into issues before with my desktop where I've had to do a clean install, I'm hesitant about going the route of burning the iso to a DVD and only being able to use it the one time. If I can use it more than once, then that's fine, but if I can't use it more than once, it sort of defeats the purpose of having it to use if I run into problems down the road.
 
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
you can use it as many time as you need.
I see. Thank you.

How likely is it that I would run into issues if I were to use the USB I already have? Would it even install correctly or would it register the SSD as a different computer entirely and not want to do a full installation? The questions now are more from a monetary stand point since a new copy of 10 is an extra bit of money I hadn't entirely anticipated, but I also want to do the right thing with my SSD and such.
 
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
on the same hardware from 2015? should be fine.
newer hardware might not work without update.
Yeah, the hardware is the same from 2015. The only thing I'm changing is the HDD to a SSD when the HDD finally becomes enough of a hinderence to warrant replacing. If the CPU, GPU, or motherboard were to go out on me, I would simply rebuild the desktop from scratch and would get a new version of 10 for sure.

The USB from 2015 wouldn't mess up as far as telling me I've already used the OS on another computer? With everything else being the same, I think it would be fine, but changing the drive is what has me concerned about Windows recognizing it as the same computer it was on before or something completely new. I'm sorry if it's a confusing question.

If I use the USB I have, when it comes to installing it, would I need to put in the product key or would I need to treat it as a hardware replacement and not enter the key and trust Windows to automatically activate itself?
 

punkncat

Respectable
Typically speaking USB installs aren't "tied" to a key the way that DVD's were/are.
To answer your question simply, you can use your 2015 install USB. You will spend some time afterward waiting on your system to download and install both updates since then, as well as version revisions. If you don't mind the wait, you are good to go.
As others have said, your best bet is to download the newest version straight from Microsoft onto a big enough USB (they will tell you how big you need) and go from there.

The one advantage I like about the older versions on re-install is that it doesn't ask that silly three part question crap.
 
Reactions: PSKiesling
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
Typically speaking USB installs aren't "tied" to a key the way that DVD's were/are.
To answer your question simply, you can use your 2015 install USB. You will spend some time afterward waiting on your system to download and install both updates since then, as well as version revisions. If you don't mind the wait, you are good to go.
As others have said, your best bet is to download the newest version straight from Microsoft onto a big enough USB (they will tell you how big you need) and go from there.

The one advantage I like about the older versions on re-install is that it doesn't ask that silly three part question crap.
I see. Thank you. I wasn't sure about that. I know my 2015 install USB does have the product key, but I'm not sure if I would need to reenter that key when doing the new installation or if I should wait for the OS to recognize that the system is the same and automatically activate the OS. I'm sorry if that's a confusing question again.

I don't mind the wait when doing installations, so that isn't an issue. If I were to buy a new copy, I would probably go with the USB option since the download and USB stick are the same price on Microsoft's site.

It's been so long since I've done a clean install that I can't remember the three part question mess, but I remember how long it would take to go through everything just to get started with the installation.
 
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
Takes maybe 15 minutes and a blank flash drive to make a brand new Win 10 install.
Yes, I know it doesn't take long since I've made installation DVDs for other operating systems many times before. That isn't the issue. I'm well acquainted with installing operating systems on desktops and laptops since I've played around with Linux distros. It's a monetary issue since I'd rather not fork over money if what I have will work just fine. I'm making sure that simply replacing the HDD won't make the USB stick I already have end up having issues installing properly and being activated properly.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
115,470
2,274
145,090
18,764
Yes, I know it doesn't take long since I've made installation DVDs for other operating systems many times before. That isn't the issue. I'm well acquainted with installing operating systems on desktops and laptops since I've played around with Linux distros. It's a monetary issue since I'd rather not fork over money if what I have will work just fine. I'm making sure that simply replacing the HDD won't make the USB stick I already have end up having issues installing properly and being activated properly.
You don't have a spare USB stick floating around?

A Win 10 install from 2015 will take several days to finish all the updates.
An install built today, maybe an hour.

Remember..the install is free from Microsoft. The license (which you already have) is what costs money.
 
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
You don't have a spare USB stick floating around?

A Win 10 install from 2015 will take several days to finish all the updates.
An install built today, maybe an hour.

Remember..the install is free from Microsoft. The license (which you already have) is what costs money.
I have my external hard drive. I have one dedicated USB stick I use to back up a few personal things that I keep separate from the external so I don't have to connect that one all the time since it has everything I've ever had on a computer on it. The other spare USBs I have around do not have the storage capacity for me to install Win 10 on any of them. I have DVDs with the space, so I can do it that way if I opt for a download. On the Microsoft site, there is no price difference between doing just the download or getting the USB stick with it on it. Since I wouldn't be paying extra for a USB stick, I might as well go that route if I were to buy a new version.

I do know that the license is what I'm paying for. What no one seems to understand with my questions is will the OS recognize this computer as the same one it was on before even though I'm installing it on a different drive (a new SSD versus the HDD it's on now) as a clean install or will it see it as a different/new computer and not activate it as the full version because it's already been put on a computer before? Or is that completely irrelevant since I own it already? If it is irrelevant then can I install it on however many computers I want or is it limited to just one PC? That brings me back to my initial questions.

Edit: I did look and I see that since the motherboard is going to be the same, then if I install Win 10 using my 2015 installation USB, the OS should recognize that it's a reinstall on the same PC and it should be fine. Is that correct?
 
Last edited:

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
115,470
2,274
145,090
18,764
I have my external hard drive. I have one dedicated USB stick I use to back up a few personal things that I keep separate from the external so I don't have to connect that one all the time since it has everything I've ever had on a computer on it. The other spare USBs I have around do not have the storage capacity for me to install Win 10 on any of them. I have DVDs with the space, so I can do it that way if I opt for a download. On the Microsoft site, there is no price difference between doing just the download or getting the USB stick with it on it. Since I wouldn't be paying extra for a USB stick, I might as well go that route if I were to buy a new version.

I do know that the license is what I'm paying for. What no one seems to understand with my questions is will the OS recognize this computer as the same one it was on before even though I'm installing it on a different drive (a new SSD versus the HDD it's on now) as a clean install or will it see it as a different/new computer and not activate it as the full version because it's already been put on a computer before? Or is that completely irrelevant since I own it already? If it is irrelevant then can I install it on however many computers I want or is it limited to just one PC? That brings me back to my initial questions.
Yes.
Installing on a different drive when everything else is the same is no problem with the licensing.
It WILL recognize it as the same system.

The motherboard is the key component. Change that, and it will be seen as a "new PC".
Just the drive? No problem.

If you have a blank DVD around, use that and make a new install.


To your final question...1 license, 1 system at a time.
You can transfer between systems, but only one at a time. And not too often.
 
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
Yes.
Installing on a different drive when everything else is the same is no problem with the licensing.
It WILL recognize it as the same system.

The motherboard is the key component. Change that, and it will be seen as a "new PC".
Just the drive? No problem.

If you have a blank DVD around, use that and make a new install.


To your final question...1 license, 1 system at a time.
You can transfer between systems, but only one at a time. And not too often.
I see. Thank you. I'm sorry for being so abrupt, but it was getting frustrating. Will I need to enter the product key during the process or should I select "I don't have a product key"? Should the OS recognize that it's the same computer and activate it automatically? I've had issues before when I first built this desktop where I ended up having to do a completely fresh installation because it suddenly decided to not recognize that it was a legit version of Windows 10. I think when I've done clean installs on this system (ran Ubuntu for a while on it without having 10 in a separate partition at all) I've put in the product key every time.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
115,470
2,274
145,090
18,764
No, you do NOT need to enter the license key, either during the download of the MediaCreation tool and building of the DVD or USB.
Or during the install. When it asks, skip...

This system had an activated/validated WIn 10. It will activate itself when it goes online after the install.
 
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
No, you do NOT need to enter the license key, either during the download of the MediaCreation tool and building of the DVD or USB.
Or during the install. When it asks, skip...

This system had an activated/validated WIn 10. It will activate itself when it goes online after the install.
Okay. I hope it will. I'm slightly skeptical that it will, but that's just because I don't entirely trust it to work as it should. That's due to the kinds of screwups I've encountered before.

As to the post above about making my own DVD/USB for free, I don't entirely understand that. I have the 2015 USB stick and its product key. Are you saying I could use the product key I have to download and make an installation DVD/USB with an updated version of the 10 I already have on that USB? I'm a bit confused by that. I don't mind going through a bunch of updates since the USB I have will work with the new SSD.

Also, I do not have a Microsoft account. I prefer to keep it as a local account and not deal with having a Microsoft account. I don't know if that makes a difference. I'd prefer to not have to make one.

One other thing: I have a product key, NOT a digital license. Microsoft seems to differentiate between the two.
 
Last edited:

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
115,470
2,274
145,090
18,764
Okay. I hope it will. I'm slightly skeptical that it will, but that's just because I don't entirely trust it to work as it should. That's due to the kinds of screwups I've encountered before.

As to the post above about making my own DVD/USB for free, I don't entirely understand that. I have the 2015 USB stick and its product key. Are you saying I could use the product key I have to download and make an installation DVD/USB with an updated version of the 10 I already have on that USB? I'm a bit confused by that. I don't mind going through a bunch of updates since the USB I have will work with the new SSD.
For the creation of the DVD:
No license key needed.
Go to that website I linked.
Download the MediaCreation tool (free)
Run it from an Admin account.
Tell it to make an install on the DVD (or a USB)
$0.
It will make a Win 10 v1909, with almost ALL of the current updates.
Use that to install with.

As for the install actually working and activating itself? I've personally done it many times, most recently just a couple of weeks ago on my wifes system.
 
Dec 3, 2019
16
0
10
0
For the creation of the DVD:
No license key needed.
Go to that website I linked.
Download the MediaCreation tool (free)
Run it from an Admin account.
Tell it to make an install on the DVD (or a USB)
$0.
It will make a Win 10 v1909, with almost ALL of the current updates.
Use that to install with.

As for the install actually working and activating itself? I've personally done it many times, most recently just a couple of weeks ago on my wifes system.
One thing about that. I have a product key NOT a digital license and Microsoft seems to differentiate between the two and treats them quite differently.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
115,470
2,274
145,090
18,764
One thing about that. I have a product key NOT a digital license and Microsoft seems to differentiate between the two and treats them quite differently.
It should activate itself.
If it fails, it is still installed, and you can enter that license key later.


I say should, because this system has talked to the activation server farm and is validated.
The system is still the same, and so should activate.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS