Beginner Question: Using a Windows 10 PC and installing HA on an Intel NUC with an M.2 drive

I’m new to Home Assistant, switching from a Samsung SmartThings coupled with one smoke sensor.
I’m going to get a used Intel NUC (NUC6i3SYK) with a M.2 drive. I don’t have a laptop to plug in the M.2 drive so I can flash the image into it. I have a Windows 10 Desktop. How do I get the HA image into the M.2 drive?
The Installation page doesnt tell me how: Generic x86-64 - Home Assistant
I get stuck at this step: “Attach the Home Assistant boot media (storage device) to your computer”
I dont have a way to connect that M.2 drive to my Desktop PC. I could buy an M.2 Enclosure but I dont have that right now. Is there any other way? For example, do I make a bootable Windows or Ubuntu drive with the image already on it? Or… something else? Another thing is that the seller said it will have a Windows 10 OS on it, if that helps.
I want to run the fast HA OS version with the Supervisor option and not a docker/container kind of thing. I want it to have the real OS.

use rufus…free and (for me) painless

Do it via a live CD image as described in the page you linked. Item 2 under flashing section

Ok, so I would create a bootable Ubuntu USB drive and use that as the boot device in the Intel NUC? And then I would download the Ubuntu (linux) version of the Etcher software or Rufus, to download and flash the image into the M.2 drive?

So, I created the ubuntu USB with rufus, booted my NUC with it and all went according (ubuntu-documented) plan…a really no-brainer
One tip… if you really (!) donot want the gnome/gui then just take the server side, the hassle of undoing that has been too much (for me). I only run docker images on my NUC so no need for ubuntu desktop stuff

Thank you I will try this out.

Got it work, thanks all! Wow, it all works. It auto discovered the Philips Hue lights too. Will see how to start making things more convenient.
Steps I followed, for anyone with an Intel NUC (mostly the main Install link above and stuff from the people here):

  1. Intel NUC (M.2 drive inside came with Windows 10 on it). I got the ‘NUC6i3SYK’ used for $150 from Ebay with a 8GB ram and 120 GB SSD. Powered off it uses 2W, and at idle it uses 8W. At max CPU its 20W. Most of the time its going to be idle.
  2. Booted up the NUC (connected to my TV via HDMI), connect a Keyboard/mouse and setup Windows. First thing I did was update the bios from a 2016 version to the latest they had on the Intel NUC website (2020) for that specific model. F2 at bootup time goes into the BIOS menu and then F7 to update the BIOS
  3. Booted up again in Windows 10, downloaded Rufus. Inserted a blank USB drive. Started up the download of Ubuntu Live Desktop and flashed it into the USB drive using Rufus.
  4. Booted up with the Live Ubuntu on the USB drive. Connected to my wireless again and got Belena Etcher, used the URL as provided on the HA Install page.
  5. Selected the internet M.2 Drive for the flash of HA (gave lots of alerts saying its the main OS drive and I said yes I want to wipe it and install the HA image on that drive)
  6. Shutdown the Intel NUC, removed the USB, connected an Ethernet cable on it and started the NUC again. HA now showed up.
  7. On my main Desktop computer, I went to the URL given on the NUC: http://homeassistant.local:8123/
  8. And I could now access the HA remotely and configure it. It guided me through what it detected such as LED lights. More can be added later. From this point the NUC only needs the Ethernet cable and its Power cable.

Anyway that was it. Hopefully it wont be too hard for me to add other stuff. Definitely need to be a little tech friendly for this (getting into Home Assistant).
Hopefully I can add SmartThings integration for the smoke sensor I got and add a water leak sensor later.

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Now comes the real fun (and I do mean that) … HA is so incredibly flexible that (without saying all is possible) … endless options which may come with additional effort. The fact that it is python based allows a huge amount of freedom where from time to time you might have invest in it. The forum however also can be used a a source of information…advising you to do plenty of searches as sometimes a solution has multiple options.

Thanks. I’m familiar with these kinds of projects such as flashing a custom ROM into a phone. So many issues because of the nature of the project. Its open source and there are no full time people assigned to the project and so there are so many issues that don’t work well, and there’s no resolution, just work-arounds and “have you tried this and that”.
A few issues I’ve run into till now:
(1) Home Assistant home page isnt sometimes accessible on my laptop which is connected via Wifi. It works sometimes and sometimes it doesnt. Others have faced the same issue. This is a project in an advanced development stage and this issue has gone unresolved and not investigated, just like issues I’ve faced on custom ROMs for phones. Same story.
(2) I used to get rapid (multiple per second) ‘Sensor update’ notifications. Also a known issue faced by many other people (proof: Google search)
Once again just work arounds “just turn the notifs off”. That is not a solution to the problem. The solution is for the app to not do this. Its a bug in the software and in this case its pretty easy: It shouldn’t be sending out so many notifs. Multiple per second.

So that’s the story of these kinds of projects. Absolutely nothing works smoothly. Tonnes of unresolved ancient issues and only work arounds. Its very frustrating and I know its not just me. Google searches prove this. On a scale of 1 to 10 for a polished product, I give HA a 7/10. I know how its going to be as I go into it deeper. These are just the initial issues.

I’m still in but I dont trust Home Assistant to work reliably to give me notifs from a water leak sensor, or a Carbon monoxide sensor. I will keep those native hubs and apps. With time I’ll see what else I can do with HA. Maybe just turn some lights off and so on. And I might do more as time goes. I just wished it was a better system.

I have non-HA attached “certified” CO detector that just died on me without any warning, my water leak is flaky as well … one should never fully trust machines but they do reduce the risk