Installing Windows 10 on a Surface 3

The Surface 3 isn’t that old yet but it seems Windows 8.1 is. July 29th is here and we can all get Windows 10 for free! Or can we?

See Updates at bottom of post. Instead of troubleshooting the issue I just wrote it up! I downloaded Pro and tried to install it on a Home version. So it prompted me for a key. Naturally. My apologies.

A link was rolling around on twitter early morning on the 29th to download Windows 10. It’s free for me to upgrade right? There are a lot of headlines out there right now to download now! Install now, don’t wait! ISO download!  If you choose to download to ISO or USB you may need a key! Read on.

I took the bait.  I downloaded the bits instead of waiting for them to magically appear via the “Get Windows 10” icon in my tray.


I started the download and then headed to bed.  I chose the “Create Installation Media” instead of “Upgrade this PC now.”  The next morning the download was complete and my USB install tool was ready to go.  It was a pretty cool tool.  Here is a screenshot gallery of the entire process.

Now where did I put that key?



Argh. Well, at least I have a nice USB stick with Windows 10 on it! I chose to “Create Installation Media” instead of updating this PC.

This PC has never had a build of Windows 10 installed. It’s a fresh Surface 3. I don’t have a key for anything. Not Windows 7, not Windows 8.1. There are a lot of discussions on Twitter and Reddit about using older keys or generic Windows 10 keys.  My advice, wait for the upgrade to come down automatically or do the whole thing again and choose “Update this PC Now.”  Painful.

Update: My best guess is that after getting the upgrade automatically you will be able to use a USB stick or ISO media to update the Surface. Like resetting it to stock or Format/Re-install. I’m not sure how that will work on other devices or home builds.

Update 2: I had to re-download from the link at the top of this page and do the “Setup this PC.”  That is one PC = one download. That is painful.  I wanted to put the install on the USB stick and update the 4 Surface devices I have.   There also was some confusion on Twitter as to what was happening with my install. Download to USB, no reboot, double click setup from USB, install procedures starts.

Update 3:  Ed Bott may have solved this. I chose Pro as the download and this Surface 3 is Home.  Boom! Ed is the man!

Regardless, Win 10 now installed and watching talk about licensing! Ha

Join the Surface Geeks Forums to stay up to date on any changes or updates of these procedures. Discuss here.

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