Fresh upgrade

How to clean install Windows 11 22H2

You can upgrade to Windows 11 22H2 using a clean installation, and here's how.

Windows 11 22H2 clean install

Windows 11 22H2 (2022 Update) is available starting September 20, 2022, and the best way to upgrade is to perform a clean installation using a USB flash drive.

Although Microsoft always recommends using an in-place upgrade through Windows Update, modifying the current installation can always cause problems and unexpected errors due to compatibility issues and custom system configurations you may have applied in the past. When you use a clean install of Windows 11 22H2, the chances of problems will be minimal because you will be deleting everything and applying a fresh copy of the operating system.

Also, if you have had the same setup for many months, erasing everything and starting from scratch can help resolve existing problems and improve startup times, performance, and memory usage.

While there are multiple ways to proceed with a clean installation, the best approach is to use a USB bootable media with the Windows 11 22H2 files, which you can create using the Media Creation Tool, the official ISO file, or third-party tools like Rufus.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to perform a clean install of the Windows 11 2022 Update using a bootable USB flash drive whether you currently have a device with Windows 11 21H2, Windows 10, or an older version. 

Important: These instructions are meant to install version 22H2 after it’s officially released. You may encounter bugs and issues if you upgrade to the version before it’s officially available. It’s also recommended to create a temporary full backup before proceeding.

Clean install Windows 11 22H2 from USB

The installation process requires creating a USB flash drive with the installation files and starting the computer with the bootable media to launch the Windows 11 2022 Update setup. Also, you must ensure the device can boot from a USB flash drive, which means you may need to change the UEFI settings. Since the firmware settings are different on every computer, you must check your manufacturer support website for more specific details. Once you start the device in the installation setup, you can continue with the instructions below.

To perform a clean install of Windows 11 22H2 from USB, use these steps:

  1. Start the PC with the Windows 11 22H2 USB flash drive.

  2. Press any key to continue.

  3. Click the Next button.

    Windows 11 Setup

  4. Click the Install now button.

    Windows 11 install option

  5. Click the “I don’t have a product key” option if you are doing a reinstallation. (After the installation, reactivation would happen automatically.)

    Skip license key option

  6. Select the edition of “Windows 11” that your license key activates (if applicable).

  7. Check the “I accept the license terms” option.

  8. Click the Next button.

  9. Select the “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)” option.

    Windows 11 custom install option

  10. Select each partition in the hard drive you want to install Windows 11 22H2 and click the Delete button. (Usually, the “Drive 0” is the drive that contains all the installation files.)

    Delete partitions Windows 11 setup

    Warning: Deleting a partition also deletes all data on the drive. Also, it is not required to delete the partitions from a secondary hard drive.
  11. Select the hard drive (Drive 0 Unallocated Space) to install Windows 11.

    Clean install Windows 11 on unallocated space

  12. Click the Next button.

  13. Choose your region setting on the first page of the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE) after the installation.

    Windows 11 OOBE region

  14. Click the Yes button.

  15. Select your keyboard layout setting.

    Keyboard layout

  16. Click the Yes button.

  17. Click the Skip button if you do not need to configure a second layout.

  18. The computer will automatically connect to the network if it uses an Ethernet connection. If you have a wireless connection, you must set up the connection manually (a security key may be required).

  19. (Optional) Confirm a name for the computer.

    Windows 11 OOBE name PC

  20. Click the Next button. (The device will restart automatically.)

  21. Select the Set up for personal use option for Windows 11 Pro. The “Home” edition does not have this option.

    Windows 11 setup types

  22. Click the Next button.

  23. Confirm your Microsoft account email, phone number, or Skype identification to create an account.

    Create Windows 11 account

  24. Click the Next button.

  25. Confirm your Microsoft account password.

  26. Click the Next button.

  27. Click the Create PIN button.

    Windows 11 OOBE create PIN

  28. Create a new four-digit PIN.

    Create account PIN

  29. Click the OK button.

  30. Select the “Set up as new device” option. Or select to restore your settings from a previous installation.

    Windows 11 OOBE restore settings

  31. Click the Next button.

  32. Confirm your privacy settings that best suit your situation by turning on or off the toggle switch for each setting.

    Windows 11 OOBE privacy settings

  33. Click the Next button.

  34. Click the Next button again.

  35. Click the Accept button.

    Privacy settings continued

  36. (Optional) On the “Let’s customize your experience” page, select one or more ways you plan to use the device to allow the setup to suggest tools and service customization during this experience.

    Windows 11 OOBE customize experience

  37. Click the Accept button to continue. Or click the Skip button to skip this part of the setup.

  38. (Optional) Use the code to link your Android phone or click the Skip option.

  39. Select the “Back up my files with OneDrive” option to automatically upload your Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders to the cloud. Or Select the “Only save file to this PC” option.

    Windows 11 OOBE backup files to OneDrive

  40. Click the Next button.

  41. Click the No, thanks button to skip the Microsoft 365 setup.

    Skip Office installation

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 22H2 will finish the clean installation on the computer.