Windows 10 Pro For Workstations Clean Install

EarDemon

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Anyone ever do a clean install of Windows 10 Pro for Workstations? If so, how does it work?

I will be buying either a new desktop (HP Z6) or new laptop (HP Zbook 17), depending on what sales and coupon codes are available on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Whatever I choose will have a Xeon processor and once you go Xeon, the HP CTO configurator automatically bumps you up to Pro for Workstation. The Windows 10 ISO from the Media Creation Tool does not include this sku and from what I've read it's an add on that's tied to a Microsoft account. First, I refuse to sign into a Microsoft account on my PC and second, that doesn't make sense to me since this is targeted for business, and you typically sign in with an AD domain account.

So how does one go about doing a clean install and keeping the OS sku they paid for?
 

TheKrell

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I have installed W10 Pro at work numerous times, even using a W7 activation code. During the installation, I created a local account rather than signing into my own personal Microsoft account. Does that address the problem?
 

harshness

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I too don't believe that it must be tied to a Microsoft account (although if it is tied before you make the image, all bets are off). Tying to a Microsoft account can really make life very difficult.

I don't expect that you're going to get a straight and accurate answer from neither HP nor Microsoft so you're left with experimentation. Maybe do a drive copy and try it out on the new drive.

You might also try a Microsoft image.
 

EarDemon

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The problem lies with the 'For Workstation' part being considered an add on to the base Windows 10 Pro, similar to how w/Media Center was an add on for Windows 8.

From the factory, when you order a Dell Precision, HP Z, Lenovo Thinkstation, etc with certain hardware, namely a Xeon processor, you get Windows 10 Pro for Workstation. There is no official Windows 10 For Workstation ISO, it appears you have to install Pro and then download the For Workstation add on from the store.

Here is Microsoft's official response.
Fresh install of windows 10 pro for workstation

Like all of these posts on Microsoft's Help Forums, the answer is pretty much useless. It's the 'So long as you have a Digital License for your computer and you have linked your Microsoft Account' part of the answer that worries me. If I never sign in with a Microsoft Account, how is it supposed to be linked? A few months ago I bought 7 Dell Precision 5820s with Pro For Workstation, but have not had to reinstall Windows yet, and when I set them up, I never signed into a Microsoft Account, I just created the local user and then added the domain account.

So experimentation may be the best way to get an answer. While I think Microsoft's new strategy of the twice a year updates not requiring a what is essentially an in-place upgrade, is a step in the right direction, I still have every intention do complete reformats with every xx03 and xx09 release.
 

harshness

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Microsoft's support too often gets shuttled off to "the community" which is a crap shoot at its best. That said, the old support site offered a whole lot of disinformation and just plain wrong advice. Now they've mostly move all their internal support to Technet.

Technet can be helpful but it comes with a steep price and the answers seem too often to toe the Microsoft line rather than be a quick solution to a simple problem.

I'm of a mind that the long term solution is to take our business elsewhere. It won't be easy on the front end but the back end will be much simper.
 

EarDemon

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I have my answer.

So I got my Zbook yesterday, first thing I did was take out the factory SSD and put in a brand new WD Black and installed Windows 10 1909. Activation failed and when attempting to re-activate it detected I had a digital license for Pro for Workstation and automatically did the feature update. No signing in to an MS account or anything. After a restart Windows was activated with PfW. This was not the PITA I was expecting it to be :)
 
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harshness

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This was not the PITA I was expecting it to be
Microsoft makes many absolute statements that are absolutely not accurate. I've had a similar situation re-installing Office 2016 where they said I'd need to take several steps and as it turned out, I didn't have to do endure any of those steps.

More evidence that Microsoft is trying to scare off the DIYer by giving out disinformation.
 
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Foxbat

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I did a clean install of Windows 10 Professional for Workstation on my ThinkCentre m700 at work. Joined the domain, but I'm still seeing the same issue with trying to upgrade Office 365 ProPlus C2R. After thinking about the upgrade for five minutes, it spits out a "Couldn't stream Office" error, saying it can't reach the necessary images. All other Internet activities seem fine. My Corporate IT folks aren't much help as they all said, "worked on mine".

Since this is the Microsoft Security Update weekend, I guess the Help Desk will find out if it's just me or something about our site's WAN connection.
 

Foxbat

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Bump: Has anyone bit the bullet and installed Windows 10 May Feature Update 2004? I saw it was available for my MacMini running Win 10 1909, so I went ahead and said install it. It’s huge, that’s for sure.
 

harshness

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I didn't see anything exciting.

Chromium-based Edge the default browser (this could be problematic)?

Windows Hello looks like a password manager and if it is security oriented and comes from Microsoft, I'll pass. Even if it is almost entirely bulletproof, someone will crack it just because. This appears to depend on a Microsoft account that is also something I cannot abide due to its history of large-scale security breaches.

Some patches for Intel (and maybe an AMD) low-level CPU bugs (there are getting to be quite a few of these). I expect some out-of-band patches for some of these that break major software titles.

All sorts of stuff aimed at enterprise Windows deployments.

Fixed a major bug in WSL that wouldn't cede unused RAM back to Windows.

Windows Sandbox enhanced (another attempt at saving users from themselves that I believe will give many a false sense of security).
 

arlo

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Not sure if it helps. For 10 Home bypassing the Microsoft Account prompt is as easy as disabling the network adapters.
Do that in the UEFI on a laptop and desktop with integrated NIC, Wifi.
Probably should be the same with pro.
 

Foxbat

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After it downloaded and rebooted a couple of times, I have Win 10 2004 and I haven't noticed anything different, other than being able to install the new Chromium-based Edge (which looks and feels like Chrome, huh :))

I was watching "Windows Weekly" on TWiT and Mary Jo Foley was observing her Microsoft computer wasn't able to get the 2004 Feature Update due to stability issues. I should tweet out a picture of my Apple MacMini running Win 10 2004 but I'm better than that :devilish
 

Foxbat

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Most people would run Windows in an emulator, but this is Windows 10 on bare metal, not even Bootcamp (but with the necessary drivers from the Bootcamp distribution). Of course, it’s dongle city since the built-in NIC and HDMI ports were fried by a close lightning strike at my in-Laws. I’m using a Thunderbolt Gigabit NIC dongle in one TB2 port, a MiniDisplay to HDMI in the other.

It isn’t the prettiest but it gets the job done. DiskPart Clean is very handy for making a drive useable for EHD duty on a Dish receiver.
 

EarDemon

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I downloaded the ISO from Microsoft a few hours after it was put up and did clean installs of 2004 on all of my computer last week. No problems to speak of. The old Edge comes installed by default which I found odd. You have to manually update to the Chromium version. Cortana is near non-existent in 2004 so that’s good. Also, some of the built-in nonsense Metro apps have been removed. Less for me to uninstall. The only hiccup I had was the drivers for the AMD FirePro graphics card in my work laptop weren’t installed automatically, I had to manually install them. The onboard Intel card was recognized without a problem.

Here’s the official word from Microsoft
What's new in Windows 10, version 2004 - What's new in Windows

And here are the known issues
Windows 10, version 2004 and Windows Server, version 2004 - Windows Release Information
 
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Foxbat

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Aren't Macs dongle city to begin with? Some of the cheaper models have only two Thunderbolt ports.
This MacMini has one HDMI, one Gigabit NIC, four USB 3.0 Type A, and two Thunderbolt 2/Mini DisplayPort, plus an SD card slot and the Mic & Headphone analog 3.5mm jacks. In normal use I can just plug everything into the back of the MacMini. If I had multiple DP monitors, I could use MiniDP to DP cables to connect the monitors. If I had a MiniDP to HDMI male cable, I could use that and cut out a dongle, but then I would have a single use cable, and we know what Alton Brown thinks about single-tasking tools.

What gets ridiculous is when I want to connect my 2016 MacBook Pro to my Ethernet switch, because then I've got a Thunderbolt 3 (Type C) to Thunderbolt 2 (MiniDP) dongle, to which I add the Thunderbolt 2 Gigabit NIC. Do I want an actual Gigabit NIC in my incorporated into the MacBook whatever? Of course. Why the industry hasn't come up with a miniature version of the 8-conductor RJ45 surprises me. Even if they shaved it down to 1/8" and left it the same width they could fit it into the thinner case designs being sold today. But wireless is good enough, I guess.
 

harshness

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Why the industry hasn't come up with a miniature version of the 8-conductor RJ45 surprises me. Even if they shaved it down to 1/8" and left it the same width they could fit it into the thinner case designs being sold today.
I think this probably has as much to do with the size of the typical cable as it does anything. You can get away with thin-guage USB for data transmission but CAT5e is big and fat. CAT6 and up introduce the concept of vertically staggered connections and that takes more room.

I believe there is such a thing as too small and Apple seems to live there with their preponderance of relatively tiny notebooks. Chromebooks were the same way for a long time and I expect that's why they didn't catch fire out of the gates.
 

EarDemon

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Reason # 9,861,459 not to own an Apple product.

I don't understand the desire for these thin and frail laptops that have one or two ports and you need a adapter or dongle for everything. At least with real computer manufactures like Dell and HP the user has a CHOICE of a ton of different models with a variety of port options. With the 'we know what's best for you' mentality of Apple, four thunderbolt ports on their most expensive (over priced) laptop is all you peasants get.
 

Foxbat

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With the 'we know what's best for you' mentality of Apple, four thunderbolt ports on their most expensive (over priced) laptop is all you peasants get.
With the high price of entry, I don’t think “peasants” quite captures their clientele. ;)

The best thing about Apple’s drive towards thinner designs is some of the notebooks coming from HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS, etc., that are great looking but manage to have the necessary compliment of ports as well as usable battery life.

I’m not so crazy about the trend Apple started towards non-upgradable memory and storage. We’re starting to see that on Windows notebooks we’re getting at work, usually coming with fixed RAM. Saving $25 up front, but reducing the usefulness later on. Bean counters…
 

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