Having a computer connected to the internet is the most common situation. However, there are times when setting up Windows 10 without the internet makes sense and suits your specific situation.
You can install Windows 10 without an internet connection. Furthermore, you can use it normally without access to features like automatic updates and the ability to browse the internet or send and receive emails.
- Installing Windows 10 Without Internet
- How to update without internet access
- How to install applications without the internet
I have had my own experiences of this in my computing career, especially when dealing with machines set up for specific business needs where an internet connection wasn’t an option.
So, I thought I would share some insights based on my experience to help those in a similar situation.
Installing Windows 10 Without Internet
To install Windows 10 without the internet, or offline installation, you must download an ISO image or purchase a copy before beginning the installation process.
Preparing the installation media device
The other option is to select an ISO download in the tool, allowing you to create an installation medium of your choice. You can set up ISO on a burnable DVD, USB flash drive, compact flash, or any other drive easily connected to the machine you need Windows 10 installed.
Selecting the boot drive
With the offline computer turned off, connect the installation media device.
Next, you must enter your CMOS or BIOS settings to ensure you have the correct boot device selected.
You might need to do a quick search about your specific computer to find out which key to tap while your computer is on the post screen.
Usually, it’s keys like Del, F2, F6, or F10, depending on your hardware. You must repeatedly tap it as soon as the post screen appears. Otherwise, it might simply boot from whatever drive it can or end up hanging on a blank screen.
If no boot drive can be found, a message will appear saying exactly that.
Note: Quite often you can avoid going into the BIOS settings entirely and by hitting F12 instead, you can select your boot device directly for that specific boot instance. This is generally a better option as it won’t change your main boot drive from being the default selected boot drive making the installation easier.
By easier, I mean that Windows installations require restarts. Once the drive is prepared, and the initial files are copied onto your operating system drive in the first installation step, you will want that drive to boot the next time to continue the installation process.
Once you are in your BIOS settings, select the boot tab or boot settings page, and under the boot override area, select your installation media device.
If you don’t have a boot override area, select your first boot device and remember to change it back to your operating system drive after the first reboot during the installation process.
Beginning the installation process
After the computer has posted, you might have to press any key on your keyboard if it is stated. You have to be quick on the keypress, as it doesn’t give you much time before it times out.
You must select custom setup and clean up your operating drive if needed by deleting all the old partitions. With the drive you want Windows installed onto selected, click the install button to start the installation.
The installation program will automatically set up the appropriate partitions and perform the necessary formatting of the drives.
The rest is easy. Follow the prompts and respond to the setup selections to set it up exactly how you want.
If the setup wants you to configure an internet connection at any time, select the other options, like continue offline or proceed with limited features.
How to update without internet access
While keeping Windows 10 updated with a machine that runs offline permanently isn’t mandatory, you might consider updating it in large intervals that suit your maintenance model.
This is to help reduce the number of bugs in the Windows framework and help improve compatibility with newer versions of software applications.
And there is one other main reason: the features. Keeping up an updated schedule of some kind will help keep newer features available, and this not only gives you better tools to work with but also increases your productivity.
For example, my favorites are integrating with your smartphone and improving search performance.
To update while offline, visit the Windows 10 update history website and download the update of your choice. Once you have the offline update files, copy them onto the offline machine and run them.
How to install applications without the internet
Normally, we open our favorite browser, search for the application we want, and download it from the appropriate website.
Getting the application ready
So this process won’t change, apart from the fact that it won’t be done on the offline computer. Once you have obtained the software package you wish to install, it will have to be stored on some storage media that the computer can access without an internet connection.
Installing the application
Once you have the application’s installer package, connect your storage media to the destination computer and open Windows File Explorer.
You can run the installer straight from the storage media drive. Still, I recommend copying it to the computer’s drive (for example, the ‘Downloads’ folder) and then opening the installer package to start the installation process.
This will ensure that any temporary files the installer extracts get sent to a local folder on the computer.
Once the installer has been executed, the installation process should be the same, just as you would experience downloading the file from your browser and running it.
Note: Make sure that you have a good antivirus software installed on the computer that downloads the installer package.
Other problems related to running an application offline
Sometimes, your Windows version might not have the needed .NET Framework version installed, and you will have to download a copy of that along with the software package you want to install.
Usually, you can find the software requirements on the developer’s website. If you don’t, you will have to install the application first and take note of any errors when trying to run the application. It will usually tell you what’s missing.
And that’s how you install, maintain, and use a Windows installation that doesn’t have an internet connection.
Once everything is set up, you won’t notice much difference in the actual usage of the computer apart from the comforts offered by readily accessible information.
My only advice is to keep is to install any offline updates that you can. It will have many benefits. You may avoid frustration and make the whole experience smoother.