How to Setup and Configure a New Windows 10 PC

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Performing a clean install of Windows 10? Check out what’s new in the out of box experience (OOBE).

Each revision of Windows 10 rearranges the furniture a bit, for better or worse. If you purchase a new PC with the Windows 10 Creators Update preinstalled or perform a new install, you will be greeted by a revised Out of Box Experience. The Out of Box Experience or OOBE is the first-run experience that has you perform many tasks before using your computer. As part of the OOBE, you’ll choose your account, connect to a wireless network (if one is available), choose a language, and adjust your privacy settings.

The new OOBE is more than a cosmetic update. For one, as we covered earlier, users can modify their Windows privacy options in more detail. Microsoft has made the process more transparent for users who want more control over the information they share with the developers. There are some other changes as well. In this article, we’ll walk through the new setup experience and explain each step.

How to Configure Your Windows 10 Device During the Out of Box Experience – OOBE

If you perform an in-place upgrade from a previous version of Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7, you won’t see the new OOBE. Instead, you will see a promotional screen informing you about key universal apps such as Microsoft Edge (web browsing), Photos (images), Movies & TV (video), and Groove (music).

For users setting up a new PC or performing a clean install, you will be greeted by a new, simplified, tabbed interface broken down into four categories: Basics, Network, Account, and Services. You are first welcomed by Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, which accepts voice commands and guides you through the setup process.

Help from Cortana is optional, of course, and you can disable the digital assistant by clicking the microphone icon in the lower left-hand bottom. Additional options are also available for adjusting the volume if needed. I must admit, the new interface looks a bit like a PowerPoint presentation—not that there is anything wrong with that.

The first screen, called Basics, lets you choose your language and keyboard. You can also select a different keyboard layout if you live in a different region.

The next screen focuses on connecting to a network. This option will only be available if there is an active connection. If not, click Skip for now. If there is a wireless network, you would like to connect to, select it, click Connect, then enter the password.

Users who might be on a metered connection would like to avoid depleting their mobile data, click Properties, and then toggle the On button under Metered Connection. Windows 10 setup will use the opportunity to install last-minute updates, so you don’t want to arrive at the desktop without any mobile remaining.

Account Settings

Now we arrive at an important screen: Account. Here you must set up a user name for signing in to the computer and managing its resources. Windows 10 offers two methods of signing in: a local account and a Microsoft account. Windows 10 setup only provides the option to set up a Microsoft Account if you are connected to the Internet. If you are not connected to one, the setup will default to a local account.

Local Account – this account works like credentials used to log onto Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows. A local account doesn’t include the modern benefits of Windows 10, such as PC Syncing, the ability to download apps from the Windows Store, and two-factor authentication. A local account also requires setting up a hint in case you forget your password.

Microsoft Account – this type of account uses a Microsoft email address linked with your Microsoft account. Normally, this email address would use the,,, or domains. You can set up Windows 10 with a,, or address; ensure that your email address is associated with a Microsoft account.

A Microsoft Account includes the benefits of keeping files and settings, such as themes, passwords, and apps synced across devices running Windows 10. A Microsoft Account also includes support for two-factor authentication, which prevents hackers from easily accessing your computer. Users can also access services such as Find My Device in case your device gets lost or stolen. The Microsoft Account is also required to download Universal apps from the Windows Store. Reactivation is also easier if you reinstall Windows 10 or transfer your license to another computer.

So, the benefits of the Microsoft Account are significantly advantageous. Whichever option you decide, make sure it’s secure—don’t use names, places, or birthdays as your password. Check out our article for tips about creating a strong password if you need some ideas. One of the common mishaps when setting up your computer for the first time is forgetting the password you created. You can write it down on a piece of paper during setup, memorize it, then destroy it.

Setting up with a Microsoft Account

If you have an active Internet connection, Windows 10 setup offers the option to sign in with your Microsoft Account. Let’s perform a quick run-through to see what that’s like. The first screen asks you to enter your Microsoft ID. If you have an,,, or email address, use that, since you probably already have a Microsoft account. Otherwise, click Create account to set one up.

Enter your password, then click Next.

Microsoft accounts configured with 2FA will need to enter a security code for your protection. The Microsoft Authenticator app makes this convenient if you already have it installed on your iOS or Android device. If you don’t have the Authenticator app, you can choose another method. For instance, Microsoft can call your phone, then ask you to press the pound sign to confirm, then hang up.

An extra sign-in method offered is a PIN, which uses four numbers for authentication. You can always set this up later from within Start > Settings > Accounts > Sign in options.

We now arrive at the Services screen; this is where you get to enable Cortana and adjust privacy settings. Cortana is a major part of Windows 10; it’s not required but definitely differentiates the operating system from previous releases. If you choose to enable Cortana, you can activate her by saying, ‘Hey Cortana.’ Cortana will respond to your every command, such as checking the weather, scheduling a reminder, finding the name of a song, adjusting the volume, or telling a joke.

Privacy Settings

The privacy screen presents a list of default options selected. Some of these are essential for making your Windows 10 experience even better. For instance, Location can help Cortana tell you directions. Diagnostics can be an important part of helping to improve the apps you use in Windows 10. Some settings can be turned off, such as relevant ads and tailored experiences. If you want more details about each, click the Learn more button. When you are ready, click Accept.

Windows 10 will then confirm your settings then perform a few last-minute chores such as checking Windows Update and the Windows Store for the latest updates.

After arriving at the desktop, you can start using Windows 10. You can make further adjustments to your privacy settings by opening Start > Settings > Privacy.

If you are using Windows 10 for the first time, check out our tutorial to learn about the different parts of the interface. Also, check out our post-setup article for additional things you can do after completing the installation.

Have a question about the OOBE? Leave a comment below, and we’ll look into it.



  1. Paul Hogan

    Very useful information on how to set up the configuration. I have been using a computer for the last 17 years, but I have never quite understood what I should really do to set it all up. It is not always obvious what it all means.

    • Andre Da Costa

      Thanks Paul! Not mention, they change it so often, so you might be caught off guard if you are coming from Windows 8 or Windows 7.

    • Gordon Green

      I have just bought a new Snumu Celeron 4gb n3350 mini pc and am in the process of setting it up. There were no problems until I reached the page that says “Create pin” I click on set pin and the screen then shows “Just a moment”. But then nothing happens. I’ve tried waiting for hours, I’ve tried rebooting and starting the process again but the same thing happens every time. If you could offer any suggestions I would be grateful.

  2. Charles

    Nice clean install guide … thanks. Charles

  3. Sheila M. Phillips

    Why won’t Microsoft fix the mouse feature for left-handed users in Windows 10? I upgraded Windows 7 in place to Windows 10 on my Toshiba laptop which has a touch pad mouse. I actually have to go to Settings, mouse & touchpad, addt’l mouse options and switch to left-handed each new session if I shut down. It’s annoying. If I don’t fix it in settings I have to use the mouse weirdly and I’m afraid I might end up with carpal tunnel syndrome from twisting my wrist to use the left mouse key as primary instead of the right one which is natural for left-handed people. I messaged Microsoft and was ignored as I received no response. Carpal tunnel is serious and I need to use the mousepad. Never had this problem in Windows 7.

  4. Karen Dellaripa

    Is there a way to restart this OOBE program? Something got screwy with mine and I am not able to get past the Windows login screen to do ANYTHING at all on the computer.

  5. Jim Musser

    Is the OOBE where Win10 makes the distinction between this first user logon and other logons are treated differently from this first user? We have an app that can only be successfully started by this first user. If started by others in a multi-user PC, it will experience folder / file access failures.

  6. J B

    I partially started the process of getting started last night. I was not connected to internet but now I am. would you please help me finish the set up process?

    • Kelly Mwamuka

      Do you need an external hardware during the installation process of the OOBE

  7. Joe Cesar Penas

    How can i change the initial user account registered in my windows 10, im not the first owner of the unit, now i want to change it, and make it more personalized for me as the new user?

    Thank you for your great response,

  8. Todd Arnold

    How do I set it up so that I don’t have to log on to the PC at all – I don’t want to have to enter any kind of PIN, password, etc. with this particular PC. That used to be easy.

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