NOW YOU’VE GOT a bootable OS USB stick, you need to plug it into your new ma­chine, add a key­board and mouse, con­nect a screen to the GPU’s rear I/O, and power the ma­chine on. Ham­mer the Delete key as soon as you hit the power but­ton, and keep hit­ting it un­til you en­ter the BIOS.

To in­stall Win­dows, we need to tell the BIOS to boot from the USB stick. Al­though the lo­ca­tion of the boot or­der varies from mobo to mobo, the pro­ce­dure is very much the same. In our build, head to the BIOS menu on the top, go down to “Boot Op­tion Pri­or­i­ties,” click “Boot Op­tion #1,” and se­lect the disk that’s la­beled “UEFI: Your USB Drive, Par­ti­tion 1.” Hit F10, and se­lect “Save Con­fig­u­ra­tion and Exit.” The ma­chine re­boots into the USB stick.

You en­ter Win­dows Setup at this point. Choose your lan­guage, time, and key­board lay­out, then hit “Next.” Win­dows then asks for a Win­dows Ac­ti­va­tion key—you can ei­ther en­ter this here, or do it later by hit­ting the “I don’t have a prod­uct key” but­ton at the bot­tom. Next, you need to choose the ver­sion of Win­dows you want to in­stall; for us, that’s “Win­dows 10 Home x64.” Ac­cept the li­cense agree­ment and hit “Next.” Then, when prompted, hit “Cus­tom In­stall,” and choose your SSD as your pri­mary drive. There are no names here, but each disk does spec­ify its to­tal size, en­abling you to se­lect the ap­pro­pri­ate drive. Hit “Next.” If it throws up an er­ror, or there’s a par­ti­tion al­ready there, delete the par­ti­tion, and try again. Win­dows now in­stalls. Once the sys­tem restarts, quickly pull out the USB stick, and let Win­dows fin­ish the in­stall. Now you can se­lect the pri­vacy op­tions right for you, and ei­ther log in us­ing your Mi­crosoft pro­file, or cre­ate a lo­cal­ized ac­count.

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