It’s no secret that we’ve been drooling over Windows 10 for some time. If you’re anything like us, you have been eagerly awaiting July 29, 2015 so Microsoft could give you your free copy of Windows 10 you reserved! Only July 29th came and went and you’re still not rocking the latest and greatest. What can you do to fix this?
How Come I Don’t Have It Yet?
Microsoft announced some unprecedented things when it came to Windows 10’s deployment. First and foremost, the fact that it would be free. Secondly, that it would be pre-staged to everyone’s computers. Finally, that on the 29th, they would automatically start rolling it out to everyone, whether you had reserved it or not!
It’s the wording in that last bit that changes things. Indeed, Microsoft did start rolling out Windows installations to people once the 29th rolled around but started with people who were running the preview version or were registered insiders. Since being an insider (or beta tester) was available to everyone, they weren’t limiting anyone from NOT getting the update. The problem with is that people don’t like waiting, so here we go with the roundabout way to get it.
Step 1. Update
Run Windows Update. Then run it again. Run it until it says there aren’t anymore updates left available. I can’t stress this enough: It is vital you install every update available for your computer!
Step 2. Register
At this point in the game, registering isn’t exactly required . . . but it doesn’t hurt either.
Clicking on the “Reserve Your Copy of Windows 10” prompt in your system tray or in Windows Update will take care of this. This is something you probably have seen popping up on your computer in the last few weeks, so it’s not a new thing.
Step 3. Force the Download
This step come to us from RedmondPie.
Browse to c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download on your computer and delete everything in there. Don’t worry, this won’t harm your computer in the slightest. Once that’s done, open a command prompt (as an Administrator) and run “wuauclt.exe /updatenow” (without quotations) to force the computer to start downloading the update.
The download can take a minute to start and the time it takes to finish will depend on the speed of your connection. If you’d like to double check that it is downloading, you can visit Windows Update in your control panel.
Step 4. Extract the ESD
Great! You’ve downloaded the update. That’s it, right?
Even if you’ve downloaded the new update, there’s no guarantee that your computer will be told to update by Microsoft yet. Thankfully, this is something you can force as well.
(Special thanks to the guys over at tenforums.com for this bit.)
To start out, you’ll need to download a bit of software that your computer might not like. Known as an ESD Decrypter, it will . . . decrypt the ESD file. I don’t know how else to describe that. Problem is, it can also be used to do some bad things if used by the wrong people, so your computer might throw a fit and say the file is malicious. Don’t worry, it’s not.
Download the file from here and extract it to your C:\ drive. (UPDATE: There are now two versions at that link. Choose the 1015 one.)
Now you need to change the view in your Folder Options. In your Control Panel, goto Folder Options, then to View. You want to be able to see hidden files and folders, as well as not hiding protected system files. Suddenly, you’ll notice you have a lot more folders and files on your computer. One particular folder is the one we’re looking for and it should be at c:\$Windows.~BT
Inside that hidden folder is another folder named Sources and inside that is a file called install.esd. Copy that file to the ESD Decrypter folder you created before. Now, from inside the ESD folder, right click the ESDtoISO file and it will go to work. Be sure to tell it you want to create an ISO with an Install.WIM or else this may not work.
Step 5. NOW Install
When all is said and done, this will create a new ISO file in that folder you’ve been working inside of. Double-clicking that ISO will automatically mount it as if it were a disc (if you are running Windows 7 or if this doesn’t happen for you, you will have to burn it to DVD). Once the ISO is mounted (or burned), go ahead and run setup.exe on the disc. In 15-40 minutes, you’ll be looking at your new Windows 10 installation!
OK, so maybe this tutorial won’t get Windows 10 installed this instant. As you can tell, it’s still a process to force the installation and there is a chance that you may already be scheduled to have it installed automatically soon anyway. If you know what you’re doing, you can also download the ISO by itself and skip Step 3 entirely. However, if you aren’t entirely sure which version of Windows 10 you’re supposed to get in your upgrade (remember, there are 7 of them) and don’t want to wait, but also want to make sure you are properly activated, then this is the sure-fire way to start enjoying your free copy today!