Having a computer connected to the internet is the most common situation in most cases. However, there are times when setting up Windows 10 without the internet makes sense and suits your specific situation.
I have had my own experiences of this in my computing career, especially when it came to dealing with machines set up for specific business needs where an internet connection wasn’t an option.
So I thought I would share some of my insights based on my experience in order to help those of you in a similar situation.
You can install Windows 10 without an internet connection. Furthermore, you will be able to use it as normal but without having access to features like automatic updates, the ability to browse the internet, or sending and receiving emails.
Installing Windows 10 without an internet connection
To install Windows 10 without the internet, otherwise known as an offline installation, you will need to download an ISO image or purchase a copy before you can begin the installation process.
Preparing the installation media device
The other option is to select an ISO download in the tool which will allow you to create an installation medium of your choice. You can setup ISO on a burnable DVD, USB flash drive, compact flash, or any other type of drive that be easily connected to the machine you need Windows 10 installed onto.
Selecting the boot drive
With the offline computer turned off, connect up the installation media device.
Next, you will have to enter your CMOS, or BIOS settings in order make sure that 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 be repeatedly tapping it as soon as the post screen appears, otherwise it might simply boot from whatever drive it can, or it might 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.
Will have to 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 on the install button to start the installation.
The installation program will automatically setup the appropriate partitions and perform the necessary formatting of the drives.
The rest is easy and straight forward, simply follow the prompts and respond to the setup selections to set it up exactly how you want it.
If at any time the setup wants you to configure an internet connection, select the other options like continue offline or proceed with limited features.
How to update Windows 10 without internet
While it isn’t mandatory to keep Windows 10 updated with a machine that runs offline on a permanent basis, you might want to consider updating it in large intervals that suit your maintenance model.
The reason for this is simply 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, and that will be the features. Keeping up an update 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, integration with your smartphone and improved search performance are just two of my favorites.
To update Windows 10 offline, visit the Windows 10 update history website and download the update of your choice. Once you have the offline update files, simply copy them onto the offline Windows 10 machine and run them.
How to install application without 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 store on some kind of storage media that can be accessed by the computer without an internet connection.
Installing the application
Once you have the application’s installer package, simply connect your storage media to the destination computer and open Windows File Explorer.
You can run the installer straight from the storage media drive, but 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 that the installer extracts, gets sent to a local folder on the computer itself.
Once the installer has been executed, the installation process should be exactly 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 are wanting to install.
Usually, you can find the software requirements somewhere 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 setup, 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 that you may avoid frustration and make the whole experience smoother.