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Can you install Windows 8 upgrade on a totally empty (ie new) drive?

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Orange Battery    265

I had the same question, can I download Win 8 and then wipe my drives and install it? After two pages of reading I still don't have the answer and Im bored.

My suggestion is we get a basic answer: Can Win 8 upgrade be fresh installed on a new hard drive, without the need for any old installations, given that you have an eligible previous version of Windows and a valid key?

If its yes then Im purchasing four copies now, if the answer involves me having to use my previous discs and such then forget it, Im sticking with 7 on my main rigs and XP on my basic ones.

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Shane Nokes    739

MSDN image from my MSDN account.... 32-Bit image to be precise :)

So that means you received an upgrade key, and the key controlled the install and didn't allow the activation.

So that definitely backs up my statement regarding the keys

Thank you :)

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Joni_78    47

MSDN image from my MSDN account.... 32-Bit image to be precise :)

Well, this is confusing, are you sure it's not a VL image, there are two types of images on MSDN.

Just to be sure, try if your MSDN key is accepted on upgrade assistant media.

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Shane Nokes    739

I had the same question, can I download Win 8 and then wipe my drives and install it? After two pages of reading I still don't have the answer.

My suggestion is we get a basic answer: Can Win 8 upgrade be installed on a new hard drive, given that you have an eligible previous version of Windows and a valid key?

If its yes then Im downloading three copies, if the answer involves me having to use my previous discs and such then forget it, Im sticking with 7 on my main rigs and XP on my basic ones.

You have a different question.

A clean install can be done on any machine that already has a valid OS.

It is a full install on a completely bare drive, and the key decides that.

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WildWayz    101

100% not a VL image.

en_windows_8_x86_dvd_915417.iso

Even tried to change the product key on my Win8 Pro test box which is running Win8 Pro (Was Win8 as a full install using MSDN disc, then changed product key to Pro MSDN key) and it wouldnt accept it. Running the upgrade assistant, it did accept it.

Last bit was a long shot as I doubt it would have worked anyway...

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Orange Battery    265

You have a different question.

A clean install can be done on any machine that already has a valid OS.

It is a full install on a completely bare drive, and the key decides that.

Thank you for the reply, I must admit Im totally confused. I really just wanted to install 8 this weekend onto some newly formatted larger drives without having to go through the whole process of first installing my previous versions of 7/XP. What do you mean about the key deciding it?

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WildWayz    101

Thank you for the reply, I must admit Im totally confused. I really just wanted to install 8 this weekend onto some newly formatted larger drives without having to go through the whole process of first installing my previous versions of 7/XP. What do you mean about the key deciding it?

You are going to have to install one of the eligable OS's first before you can do an install of Windows 8 Pro with the Upgrade key.

Once you then try the upgrade, the key will check and make sure you have one of the eligable OS's currently installed - then you can either

Upgrade and keep all programs, user files, settings

Upgrade and keep just settings and user files

Keep nothing (clean install)

Clean install option wipes the HD and installs Windows 8 Pro. None of the WindowsXP/Vista/7 files will be on there.

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Axel    95

You are going to have to install one of the eligable OS's first before you can do an install of Windows 8 Pro with the Upgrade key.

Once you then try the upgrade, the key will check and make sure you have one of the eligable OS's currently installed - then you can either

Upgrade and keep all programs, user files, settings

Upgrade and keep just settings and user files

Keep nothing (clean install)

Clean install option wipes the HD and installs Windows 8 Pro. None of the WindowsXP/Vista/7 files will be on there.

"Keep nothing" only deletes the Users folder and Program Files. It doesn't actually format the drive and is therefore by no means a clean install. You must boot the media to be able to format the disk.

Edit for source: http://www.davejunia.com/2012/10/windows-8-pro-upgrade-experience/

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Riggers    159

Just to throw this question out there as i haven`t seen it yet! I have an old hard drive with XP on which i`m thinking of installing windows 8 on. Hopefully i`ll be doing a clean install, so totally wiping the drive and just having 8 on there with my respective new key.

What would happen if something happened to the drive, or say a critical part of the the file system became corrupt (or even malware) and i had to reinstall. Should the key work, or would i in theory have to install XP back on it, activate it and then go threw the whole process again?

I suppose with all the different experiences people are having it seems a bit of a crap shoot at the moment :)

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Shane Nokes    739

Just to throw this question out there as i haven`t seen it yet! I have an old hard drive with XP on which i`m thinking of installing windows 8 on. Hopefully i`ll be doing a clean install, so totally wiping the drive and just having 8 on there with my respective new key.

What would happen if something happened to the drive, or say a critical part of the the file system became corrupt (or even malware) and i had to reinstall. Should the key work, or would i in theory have to install XP back on it, activate it and then go threw the whole process again?

I suppose with all the different experiences people are having it seems a bit of a crap shoot at the moment :)

It all depends on what key you have. If it is an upgrade key you will need a valid OS installed and activated first.

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Javik    3,977

100% not a VL image.

en_windows_8_x86_dvd_915417.iso

Even tried to change the product key on my Win8 Pro test box which is running Win8 Pro (Was Win8 as a full install using MSDN disc, then changed product key to Pro MSDN key) and it wouldnt accept it. Running the upgrade assistant, it did accept it.

Last bit was a long shot as I doubt it would have worked anyway...

Which key did you purchase, the 14.99 key or the normally priced upgrade?

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Nothing Here    450

I personally have used upgrade media to do a fresh install with Win7. When the pc rebooted to the install loader, it gave the option to upgrade or fresh install, I chose fresh install. I am not sure if you can do it under Win8 though.

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vraev    6

I got my upgrade from windows upgrade assistant, I tried a upgrade install after making a DISC, and windows 8 kept freezing, so I booted from DVD, formatted the system drive and reinstalled clean...and windows was activated from the get go. Maybe because it detected that I had windows 7/8 upgrade installed prior to the fresh boot.

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Neowon    15

I got my upgrade from windows upgrade assistant, I tried a upgrade install after making a DISC, and windows 8 kept freezing, so I booted from DVD, formatted the system drive and reinstalled clean...and windows was activated from the get go. Maybe because it detected that I had windows 7/8 upgrade installed prior to the fresh boot.

Maybe so, but I see a lot of people getting an error upon activation. I activated mine flawlessly. I'm gonna reformat and install again just to double check.

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SNOtwistR    0

In the old days I would make a folder on a formatted drive called windows, then ran upgrade disc, it only wanted to see the folder not what was inside as there was nothing in that folder. The upgrade would complete as normal. Might be worth a shot. SNO

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Shane Nokes    739

Maybe so, but I see a lot of people getting an error upon activation. I activated mine flawlessly. I'm gonna reformat and install again just to double check.

Make sure to format with something other than the OS install disc since it detects the license before you get the option to format.

So grab a boot disc utility of some sort to do it in advance.

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WildWayz    101

Which key did you purchase, the 14.99 key or the normally priced upgrade?

The ?14.99 one. AFAIK, it is the ?24.99 one but with the ?10 discount...

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Javik    3,977

Ahh well it appears that I had it the wrong way around then, the 24.99 upgrade must be the one that works normally with the MSDN disks. My guess then would be that the 14.99 upgrade is actually an upgrade key whereas the 24.99 upgrade is a full retail key.

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Salty Wagyu    61

Bored of the answers in here too. Must be a better way to install Windows 8 upgrade to an empty drive, especially with SSDs being more commonplace now as users will want to secure erase off any old junk on the drive before an OS install in order to keep the NAND clean which in turn keeps the drive speeds optimal.

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Javik    3,977

Apparently you can, do a clean install with the upgrade media then edit HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE and set MediaBootInstall to 0

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Shane Nokes    739

That is still not conformed yet as the MSDN image already has that reg key set to have normal non-upgrade behavior.

As I said, upgrade keys upgrade, FPP keys allow full install.

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Javik    3,977

Ok, so those of you that did the upgrade using the MSDN media, did changing this registry key allow you to activate when you couldn't before?

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Joni_78    47

Ok, so those of you that did the upgrade using the MSDN media, did changing this registry key allow you to activate when you couldn't before?

No it worked without any tricks.

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adam.mt    20

Was wondering about this too and just stumbled upon this thread.

I know with Windows 7 if you installed without entering a key on a blank drive an upgrade key would then fail activation (as per MS advice and what Shane says). However, there was a little know hack (sounds like that mentioned by Joni78 and Javik) that changes the format of the media used stored in the registry and allows an upgrade key to activate. Have used it a few times and it works just fine. In particular, it was useful for doing a fresh install (on blank/new drive) of a Win7 SP1 image rather than having to install an old Windows version, 'upgrade' using Win7 upgrade media + key, then apply SP1.

Wonder if similar is possible with Win 8? Is there definite confirmation?

So I'd need to get a copy of the MSDN media? (the discs are actually different this time, unlike with 7 and Vista)

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Axel    95

That is still not conformed yet as the MSDN image already has that reg key set to have normal non-upgrade behavior.

As I said, upgrade keys upgrade, FPP keys allow full install.

I guess we've established:

1. There is a registry key that differs in the MSDN version and upgrade version after install.

2. The key issued for the upgrade may indeed be a FPP

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