New Laptop, replacing HDD -> SSD, Fresh W10 install, few questions before I proceed..


Oct 18, 2012
I’ve been looking around for the proper way to do a fresh install of windows 10 on my new laptop, on a new SSD (NOT the M.2 kind). Just to clarify, I do not have a second drive bay, so it will be replacing my HDD, nor will I be cloning my drive (most search results concern either of these). Since I’m completely new to windows 10, and this is my first laptop, I want to make sure I’m doing this right.

The guide I was using for the most part is this one here.

As well as a more general, but better structured guide:

I just want to make sure I understand every step before I actually begin the whole process, so it all goes as smooth as possible, and not end up with a malfunctioning laptop.

The first guide looked perfect since it’s a sticky on the Asus forum, and is a guide for my family of laptops (mine is the ROG GL551V), but a few things confused me as I read along. I do lack certain knowledge, but the structure of his guide is also kind of messy, and I’m not sure if English is his first language. Certain parts were unclear... So, here are my questions:

1. Do I need to worry about the proper format for my new drive at all? It's the first part of his guide (Using CPT instead of the old MBR). As long as I created the boot USB properly using Rufus (ISO with the correct version of windows, GPT selected, etc.), I should be fine right?

2. Will Windows skip the product key part of the setup, since (as I've learned) the product key is embedded in the UEFI firmware chip on laptops, and is verified through the internet? Just curious since setting up a connection comes after the product key part of the setup, once the OS is installed.

3. In the first guide, he says that in W7, 8, 8.1, you have to choose the correct edition/channel during the setup, but not Windows 10. Is this correct? For those previous versions of Windows, he says you have to create an "ei.cfg" file and write some code (and that part of his guide is unclear to me).

4. Is there any particular order I need to install all the necessary drivers/windows updates (Asus, NVidia etc.)? I’ve downloaded all of them in advance, minus the bloatware that came with the laptop. When I booted it up for the first time, I finished the initial setup, and it kept updates going over the next day or two. Should I wait to finish that before installing the Asus drivers?

5. Lastly, is there anything that I might lose that comes pre-installed on the laptop that could screw it up? It came with a Windows 10 “demo” I’ve read that sellers use to show windows 10 features for display purposes, and apparently it tends to come back when you remove it, so I’m assuming this demo does not come with a fresh install? That made me wonder if important functions that were shipped with the laptop will be lost. Is all this taken care of during the Windows setup?

Well, that’s pretty much all of it I think. Any info is appreciated. I just got my SSD a few days ago, and I’m eager to get the laptop up to speed. I haven’t had an OS on an HDD in a while, and it feels even slower than I remember xD.


A) Your post really belongs in the 'Windows 10' section of Tom's. That way, it'll get seen by more Windows 10 experts. In the following, I'll try hard not to add to your concerns.

B) Do you have a Microsoft Account? If YES, some of your concerns will be dealt with automatically in the course of installation.

C) The ASUS guide isn't wrong, just a bit... unwieldy. The TenForums guide seems more user-friendly, but less exhaustive and you may have to resort to the ASUS guide, e.g. if you need to use the 'diskpart' utility.

D) You don't need to change the boot sequence. The computer will pick the bootable USB, because it's the only bootable drive available. BUT: When you see the 2nd screen under Step 14 in the TenForums guide, you need to remove the USB the moment your computer screen goes black following the count-down. Otherwise the USB stick may interfere with the installation (because at this point there'll be 2 bootable disks).

E) The smart thing to do is to create a separate back-up USB using the File History feature. You need to do this before you do anything else.

F) Your questions:
1. Ideally, No. But if you do get an error to the effect that "Windows needs a GPT disk..." select the disk and click Format. That should allow you to progress. If it doesn't, I'm afraid you need to consult the ASUS guide and convert the SSD to GPT as outlined. This may require access to a second computer.

2. If Windows Setup doesn't skip PK activation by itself, then you can do it instead (Step 8 in the TenForums guide).

3. This is simply a feature that allows you to select from eligible Windows 10 editions. I'm guessing you're using Windows 10 Home, so just click that option. As indicated by the TenForums guide, this depends on the version of the Windows installer. You may not even see this.

4. Once you've successfully installed Windows 10, my advice is: Let it download and install all relevant drivers it deems necessary. This could take hours and will install the latest versions available of all important drivers (but some of these could be several months old). Once Windows Update says "Your device is up to date", you can go over the drivers you downloaded yourself and check the version numbers etc.

5. Since the SSD is new, you're going to lose all ASUS-specific features. The new disk will only contain what YOU put on it, i.e. Windows 10 Home. If you have an MSA, Windows will restore your previous profile on the SSD. But some files and specific apps will have to be re-installed manually. See E above.

One way to regain the factory apps is to contact ASUS and buy a recovery USB. This will contain your original OS and all ASUS-specific features and apps. If the recovery USB accepts the SSD (and it might not), you can use the bootable USB from inside Windows and perform an upgrade rather than a clean install. This would remove a host of problems and concerns. If you really miss the ASUS apps, but don't feel like spending that amount of money (usually about $50), you have to scour the internet and track them down individually. I tried that with my Lenovo, and the result just isn't the same...



Oct 18, 2012
Wow, this all seems great. Thanks for taking the time to address all my points. I'm at work right now, so I'll have to go through everything you posted thoroughly tonight or tomorrow. Again, thanks.


Oct 18, 2012
I think I understand the whole process better now and feel comfortable going through with it. Just a few last notes on your answers.

btw, I do have a Microsoft account, but I decided to skip that part for now, I’m just using the default user account. I figured I’d wait to “personalize” my laptop for after I install my ssd. Since I’m new to W10, I want to learn more about the OS before I do any of that. I’m still a little paranoid, perhaps wrongfully so, about putting personal information on my mobile devices.

1. I’ve done some more research on this, and I should be fine. I checked some threads elsewhere where people were unable to properly set it up, and the solutions simply involved clearing the drive in diskpart under command prompt at the very beginning of the windows setup. I’ll just follow the guide on the Asus forum for that part, that way I can create the partitions right then and there. If I run into any problems during installation, I’ll just post on that thread, or create a new one here.

2. This one seems straight forward enough now, thanks.

3. Also seems straight forward.

4. That’s what I assumed I should do. I got rid of a lot of useless programs or stuff I didn’t want, so I don’t think I’ll have much to put back on there (ATK Package for the function key, Smart Gesture, USB charger plus, etc., as far as the Asus stuff is concerned)

5. Yeah, that much should have been obvious to me, and is more or less related to my #4 I guess. I didn’t ask the right question which was if anything like the keyboard, or other basic functions, would stop working during the whole process, rather than programs or drivers that can be installed later.

Also, your tip of removing the usb in D) has been noted, thanks for that.

I’m going to have to go through the list of drivers I downloaded for my model one by one, since I’m sure I don’t need all of them. For example, the Bluetooth and WLAN drivers have 3 kinds each, not sure if I’m supposed to pick one, or install all 3 (WLAN intel, WLAN Realtek, WLAN QualcommAtheros, same 3 for the Bluetooth.) I’ll have to look that up.

Anywho, I appreciate your help, I learned quite a bit in the last couple days. Thanks for your time!

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