Windows 10 Install stuck in a never ending loop?

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Brand New - ASUS VivoBook 15 i3
1 TB Samsung SSD 980 M.2
12 GB RAM

I have built many of my own PC's starting with a Win 95 machine way back in the day and I am no stranger to installing OS's
but this is the first time I have had an issue with Windows 10.

The above laptop was purchased so my 10 year daughter could use it for School work.
Once set up, all internet and Bluetooth will be disabled so it can not connect to the internet for obvious reasons.

It came with Windows 11 which I personally can not stand and at my daughters school they use Windows 10 so she asked for this OS.

I purchased Windows 10 Pro from Microsoft and downloaded it using Media Creation tool saving it to` an ISO.

Using Rufus (been using it for years), I put Windows 10 Pro on a USB, fast boot is disabled in the BIOS, start the laptop, select boot from USB and the install starts, I choose Custom Install, and I delete all of the Windows 11 partitions, format the unused space, create new partition, windows creates three new partiitions by default, I then go through the various pages and right after the page where it asks if I want to add a 2nd keyboard layout it trys to connect to Microsoft.

There is no point in this as I have not been able to install any of ASUS's system drivers yet including the internet related so I press Ctrl + Alt + F3 by pass this but instead of bringing up the offline option windows reboots, goes to an admin login screen for about 15 - 20 seconds the boots to the windows desk top.

This normally would suggest that Windows is now installed.

So I copy the ASUS system drivers from a diffent USB on to the Desktop and try to start to install them (They are all .exe) and for each one windows reports that it is unable to open the app.

I remove the USB drive, insert it into my own laptop and I can open all of the files so I know the .exe's are not damaged.

I shut down the ASUS laptop, remove the install USB, boot to the BIOS, set the boot options and close and save.

I have performed this operation so many times I can not put a number on it and I have never had any issues.

The laptop boots up but imediateley goes to the Windows 10 install program (even though the install USB is no longer plugged in).
Just to see what happends, I let the install continue and again at the "connecting to Microsoft" page I press Ctrl + Alt + F3 and again instead of bringing up the offline option windows reboots, goes to an admin login screen for about 15 - 20 seconds the boots to the windows desk top.

This time an System Preperation app runs (I have never ever seen this before), aftetr a google I select OOBE and Quit, then let it run.

Still unable to run any .exe, so I shut the machine down, reboot, and the cycle starts again.

I have no clue where the setup is coming from as the USB drive is not plugged in.

Some google results suggest that in the newer versions of Windows 10, Microsoft have hidden or removed the option to bypass the need to connect to Microsoft therefore forcing an installer to do so.

From a previous install on an older machine, I have a USB install of Windows 10 1909 which always install with out a single issue, so I tried to install that but the same thing happpens.

It seems that for some unknown reason, no matter what version of Windows 10 I try to install, it installs it in S Mode.
This have NEVER happend before and I have no idea what is telling Windows to install in S Mode.

Regarding S Mode

On Support.microsoft.com it says to take the following steps:

Open settings > Upgrade and Security > Activation

In the Switch to Windows Home Or Pro section, select > go to the store

on the switch out of S Mode page select > Get Button

There are problems with this.

Although I can open Upgrade and Security > Activation there is no Switch to Windows Home Or Pro section.

Even if there was, as I have not been able to install my ASUS network drivers I am unable to tether the laptop to my iPhone to complete the activation.

Once this machine is setup I will be removing MS Store, all network drivers blue tooth drivers so that my daughter simply will not be able to connect to the internet - this is a vital and non negotiable step for me as my daughters online safety comes way and above Microsofts desire to harvest her data through telimitry.

Of course I am even unable to enter my own Licence Number which I need to be online to do.

It is just an endless loop that I can seem to get out of.

I have now spent two days on this - Can someone help please?
 
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Hi, the only thing I can offer is that you have an Asus. I have never had Windows problems or slow speeds until I got an Asus. My 15 years old Toshiba runs better. Try calling Asus support. It might take a few different techs to solve the problem. Mine took 3 before I was told about a patch. Good luck!
 
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In my experience W10 will ask you to select a wifi to connect. Select ‘I don’t have internet ‘ and then windows will ask you to create a LOCAL account and won’t attempt to connect to the internet. (This is now the only way to create a local account, previously you could just do it regardless)

I never had to bypass anything to be honest. I am unfamiliar with the key combination you mentioned - and I have installed offline systems before.

Silly question: could you connect to wifi, let windows download its things and then disable everything later?
 
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info on sMode this mode only supports microsoft apps store that is probably why you can't install any other software.In the attachment info on how to remove the smode microsoft CR......
 

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if required do a fresh install use the media creation tool to do this.I would put the win11 back on then do a move back to win 10 with the media tool then switch off the smode in other words microsoft want you to use their software and not any other 3 party software. The attachment will help in this .
 
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Well mate you have an interesting situation. The licence for win 11 is stored in the bios along with other win 11 rubbish for security if you do what I suggest win 11 won't reinstall without a licence key so first save the win 11 licence key etc, then flash the bios to take it back to factory presets then install win 10 I hope this works for you also if you can get into system managment format the all the hidden partitions as well but save a back up of those partitions also so if you ever need win 11 you have the files. I've never done this but when you say you can't insert a win 10 licence it most likely because you have a win 11 licence active already in the bios.
 
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Select ‘I don’t have internet ‘ and then windows will ask you to create a LOCAL account and won’t attempt to connect to the internet. (This is now the only way to create a local account, previously you could just do it regardless)
Wrong, you can create a local account regardless if you are on an active internet connection or not.
Did this just 2 weeks ago when i did a clean reset my gaming PC. Don't remeber the exact words, its rather cryptic, but there is something about you dont want all the extended experience Microsoft win is offering in the cloud, and this option is in small text in the lower left corner if i remember correct.
 
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I had a google around and all the pages I found seem to suggest that disconnecting the internet is now the only way.

It used to be as you say - it was a bit hidden but it was there. Apparently it's not there anymore. Happy to be proven wrong if mistaken of course. But I did an install just a few days ago and for the life of me I couldn't find any options to avoid the online account - until I went back and selected "I don't have the internet".

That said, I do not remember what version of Windows that was - Pro or Home. Maybe the option was removed in Home but still there in Pro.
 
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I don't think it's a matter of "views" here. Either you can set up an offline account or you cannot.

To get a better "view" I downloaded 22H2 and installed in on a VM. And yes, it clearly comes up with "offline account" on the screen. I can tell you that that was NOT there before, even on my desktop Pro - I remember, as you said, having to dig into unfriendly options to get to the offline account page. And I am pretty confident that the laptop I setup last week was not a Home.

So it looks that MS have improved on that - for a change! :)

Back to the OP, the issue with a laptop is that you don't know what kind of Windows 10 you are finding on it. But he says he downloaded W10 so I shall assume it's the same 22H2 I downloaded.

What I do not understand is what the need of bypassing stuff during the setup process is.

PS: For the sake of knowledge I went back and installed 2021 and 2019 Windows 10 on my VM and there is always an "offline account" option on the welcome screen. I am 101% sure that was not the case at some point - and multiple online pages are confirming that. I wonder whether Windows 10 updates the very setup screen to the latest version during installation which now comes with a clear option to setup an offline account. Anyways, happy days! :)
 

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