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Clean install on Windows 8 laptop?


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#1 Tiburon

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 17:59

Howdy neowin, it's been a while.

I recently bought a Windows 8 laptop and was looking to see if there was any way to do a clean install. No disk is provided and no serial is provided (from what I've read, it's hardcoded into UEFI).

I was able to burn "recovery disks" but all they do is setup the exact same thing I have now (bloat, 50gb lost from my HD for recovery partitions, etc).

Is there anyway to do an actual clean install? If I download an ISO somewhere will I be prompted for my non-existant serial number?

I just want an install with nothing but windows 8; I can install all the drivers myself.


#2 Detection

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 18:02

There is an option to wipe and reinstall windows from the Metro UI settings page

Settings > General > Reinstall Windows

Not sure if you need the disk, but any burned ISO of 8/Pro should work fine if it does

#3 OP Tiburon

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 18:03

I did the reinstall option and it just kept the exact same setup I had now.

Particularly, it kept a recovery partition on both my SSD and extra HD.

#4 Detection

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 18:07

I did the reinstall option and it just kept the exact same setup I had now.

Particularly, it kept a recovery partition on both my SSD and extra HD.


Ah I see, well if you grab an ISO from somewhere, I don't see any problem if you're using the key on the COA sticker

Google is your friend for ISOs, nothing illegal in that if you're using a genuine key

EDIT - Just reread your key situation, I don't know if it will just let you install, but before you get to the formatting stage it will have either asked you or not asked you for your key anyway

Are you sure there is no COA sticker on the bottom of the laptop?

Use Magic Jellybean keyfinder to grab the key currently installed
http://www.magicalje....com/keyfinder/

#5 +warwagon

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 18:14

What I would recommend you do is 1st image your hard drive just incase this does not work. Then download a Windows 8 iso and try to do a clean install. The theory is windows 8 should see the serial embedded in the UEFI and the setup should just install and activate no issue. (At least I hope so, other wise this lack of a product key sticker is going to a total nightmare / bitch)

Not sure how helpful the jelly bean key finder will be. If it's the same as it's been with all other versions of OEM windows, it always gave a different key than what was on the product key sticker. That key also would never activate. So just image the drive first so you can restore from it in case this doesn't work.

#6 Detection

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 18:18

Not sure how helpful the jelly bean key finder will be. If it's the same as it's been with all other versions of OEM windows, it always gave a different key than what was on the product key sticker. That key also would never activate. So just image the drive first so you can restore from it in case this doesn't work.


Ah yes, manufacturers use a default key to install windows, not the one from the sticker, I remember a few people having this issue too

But surely any laptop with windows installed has to legally have a COA sticker ?

#7 DavidM

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:55

Grab the PID checker from here, and run it, hit the Windows key, that will fill in the key used to install Windows, use that key and go to the online PID checker here. I believe Ultimate PID Checker has only one black listed key - a Lenovo SLP Key for Windows 7, that's why I would use the online checker to see if there is a problem with your key.

Once you know what the key is and what version of Windows it's for grab the correct ISO from a Microsoft source and check the hash and try to install with your key. You did burn the recovery discs, right?

Be careful about where you get your ISO from, CHECK YOUR HASHES -> if you Google -> Windows 8 hashes -> you will be pointed here. - and by here, I mean Neowin, the link is a thread on Neowin. :)

There is no guarantee this will work, so keep your restore disc handy. Good Luck.

#8 +Medfordite

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:58

From what I understand is Windows Activation 3.0 (Win8), will automatically read the key from the Bios. I have the same type of thing UEFI and only Belarc Advisor got the key correct on mine. I used others and it didn't concur with what I had for the last 4 in the activation status screen where it blanks out all but those.

This sort of clarifies what will happen, but not really a full answer:

http://www.zdnet.com...les-7000008226/

I have seen several articles on line lately talking about what if you wanted to upgrade your Win8 version, obviously that key won't work so then you would have to input the new key, however since Win8 pulls key from Bios, then you have no place to input it unless you do the obligatory install, then enter new key and upgrade somehow.

I haven't tried doing a clean install on my laptop (3 weeks old), but have considered it once. :)