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

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adam.mt    26

"FULL install"???

The links I've given show that you can use an 'upgrade' key and media to install and activate a full copy of Windows 8 to a blank drive with no previous Windows install or verification required. The verification is done in order to purchase the key (you have to run Upgrade Assistant on a WinXP/Vista/7 PC), not when you use it.

So what do you mean?

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Noir Angel    4,143

I'm going to do this tomorrow so I'll let you guys know for sure but I'm betting it'll work. I just d/led the Win8Pro 64bit ISO (torrent, RTM ISO, none of that pre-cracked stuff). I'm going to either burn it to a DVD or use my 16GB USB drive to install it on temporarily, i'll keep the ISO around as is for future use if need be. I'll run the download assistant from my current Win7 install to buy my key then cancel it before the d/l part since I have the ISO already.

I'm going to install my new SSD, disconnect the other drives and boot off of the USB or DVD image and install Win8pro to the ssd with the key I'll buy. Windows 8 will activate the second it goes online so I'll know for sure shortly after. If it works then I'll reconnect my hdds if not I can then just fall back to my current Win7 install without issue. I think that should put this all to rest, or at least most of it.

Please do, I have access to an MSDN disk myself and whether or not it works will be useful for me to know. As I'm currently stuck on a slow ISP i'd like to avoid downloading the 3 gigs again unless I absolutely have to :D

Again, the question isn't clean install. Upgrades of course can be clean installed.

The question is FULL install. There is a difference.

If I can ask for one further indulgence, if at any point I need to reinstall, would a clean install work if I format the drive with 8 on it, and reinstall 8 to the same drive?

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+warwagon    12,166

I got mine to work. I cloned my 80GB Windows 7 to my new 128GB drive and then ran the setup and did a clean install. It then activated just fine.

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Shane Nokes    739

"FULL install"???

The links I've given show that you can use an 'upgrade' key and media to install and activate a full copy of Windows 8 to a blank drive with no previous Windows install or verification required. The verification is done in order to purchase the key (you have to run Upgrade Assistant on a WinXP/Vista/7 PC), not when you use it.

So what do you mean?

That's not what those links say at all. Read them very carefully.

Actually hold on I'll just quote for you the pertinent parts.

1.

Also new this time around is that Microsoft is no longer offering a Full version of Windows 8. So if you are actually installing Windows 8 on a PC that has never had any version of Windows on it before, then you will need to purchase the System Builder version of the OS (formerly called the OEM version) instead. NewEgg.com and other online retailers offer this.

2.

Before signing off on this topic for now, I did want to test one more scenario. This time, I ran Upgrade Assistant on my desktop PC with an eye towards buying another electronic copy of the software and installing it on a different PC (a Windows 7-based laptop).

Note how Paul very specifically mentions that the other PC is a Windows 7 based laptop? In other words it already had an OS on it.

What he did was boot and use the install disc to wipe the partitions and then do a clean install...which is totally allowed.

Clean install and Full install are NOT the same thing.

I got mine to work. I cloned my 80GB Windows 7 to my new 128GB drive and then ran the setup and did a clean install. It then activated just fine.

Again...not Clean install, but FULL install.

Is there something I'm missing in how I'm explaining this?

It seems that folks do not understand the difference between the 2 even though I keep repeating it.

I'm on the verge of giving up trying to explain since no one is listening to the difference....

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Darrian    246

I'm not trying to disrespect you here, but I don't think we really care greatly about the distinction. When asking what we can do, we're asking what we're literally capable of doing, not what will or will not violate the license agreement. As I said earlier, I was able to install Windows 8 in a VM from scratch using a technet ISO and an upgrade key, so the install media is not going to see any previous copies of Windows. I don't know if that violates a license agreement or not, but I suspect MS doesn't care all that much or it probably wouldn't be possible. They likely care more about people buying legitimate keys instead of pirating and getting genuine copies of Windows 8 out there to as many people as they possibly can right now. Otherwise they wouldn't be making it dirt cheap. The only time I ever made out better was when I got a copy of Vista and Office 2010 for free for a launch promo and all I had to do was watch a few videos.

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Shane Nokes    739

If I can ask for one further indulgence, if at any point I need to reinstall, would a clean install work if I format the drive with 8 on it, and reinstall 8 to the same drive?

Clean install yes. Here's how that works.

Leave the OS on the drive, do not format it.

Boot from the disc, choose to do a custom install...THEN you can format the drive and partition it however you like since it already picked up the valid license.

If you format it before you do this then it can't see the valid OS and will require a prior OS be installed.

That's the thing I keep trying to point out to folks. Everyone keeps talking about clean installs which of course can be done...but they don't seem to understand the difference between clean and full.

I'm not trying to disrespect you here, but I don't think we really care greatly about the distinction. When asking what we can do, we're asking what we're literally capable of doing, not what will or will not violate the license agreement. As I said earlier, I was able to install Windows 8 in a VM from scratch using a technet ISO and an upgrade key. I don't know if that violates a license agreement or not, but I suspect MS doesn't care all that much or it probably wouldn't be possible. They likely care more about people buying legitimate keys instead of pirating and getting genuine copies of Windows 8 out there to as many people as they possibly can right now. Otherwise they wouldn't be making it dirt cheap. The only time I ever made out better was when I got a copy of Vista and Office 2010 for free for a launch promo and all I had to do was watch a few videos.

/Facepalm

I'm not talking about the license agreements either...I'm talking about the difference between clean and full installs from a perspective of actual install procedure, not from a what's allowed on paper standpoint.

I would love to see you take an entirely blank physical box that has never been used for anything before with all fresh parts, and install the OS with your upgrade key and get it to activate via the web. It won't happen.

You know what...nevermind...

I give up...believe what you want.

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adam.mt    26

Apologies there, the Winsupersite article is a little ambiguous. However, the article linked way back makes it plain as day:

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

Quote: "Popular Questions

For users who are wondering if you can use the Upgrade version of Windows and do a clean install on a system with no OS ? Yes, you can. This is a question most people ask, worrying that they have to first install a preceding copy of Windows before using Windows 8 upgrade. If your computer goes up in flames in future or your drive dies and you have to start completely fresh: No problem, just stick in the DVD / USB, boot from it, enter your product key and you?re good to go. You do not need an OS or its old product key.

It is clear from above that the Upgrade Assistant simply verifies if you qualify to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro and if you do, allows you to purchase a Windows 8 Pro license. This license or product key is to a full version of Windows 8 Pro. The moment the license/product key is sold to you ? it is good for full installations of Windows 8 Pro. I hope this clarifies the queries of most people. You don?t have to keep your old OS / old product key. Just keep the Windows 8 Pro product key assigned to you."

Reading around, this is posted elsewhere too. Thus, it would appear Microsoft have indeed made a change to how it works.

Have you actually tried it yourself Shane? Do you know for sure others are lying/don't fully understand?

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Shane Nokes    739

Apologies there, the Winsupersite article is a little ambiguous. However, the article linked way back makes it plain as day:

http://www.davejunia...ade-experience/

Quote: "Popular Questions

For users who are wondering if you can use the Upgrade version of Windows and do a clean install on a system with no OS ? Yes, you can. This is a question most people ask, worrying that they have to first install a preceding copy of Windows before using Windows 8 upgrade. If your computer goes up in flames in future or your drive dies and you have to start completely fresh: No problem, just stick in the DVD / USB, boot from it, enter your product key and you?re good to go. You do not need an OS or its old product key.

It is clear from above that the Upgrade Assistant simply verifies if you qualify to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro and if you do, allows you to purchase a Windows 8 Pro license. This license or product key is to a full version of Windows 8 Pro. The moment the license/product key is sold to you ? it is good for full installations of Windows 8 Pro. I hope this clarifies the queries of most people. You don?t have to keep your old OS / old product key. Just keep the Windows 8 Pro product key assigned to you."

Reading around, this is posted elsewhere too. Thus, it would appear Microsoft have indeed made a change to how it works.

Have you actually tried it yourself Shane? Do you know for sure others are lying/don't fully understand?

That's the only source that people keep referring back to. Multiple people in this thread have already posted that it does NOT work on machines that are bare with no prior OS. It's been said more than once in this thread alone and tested practically.

I do not have the $40 to buy the upgrade installs. I already have the FPP version of 8 on the 2 machines I use to do my dev work due to bizspark, which I didn't have to pay for.

I will be snagging retail copies for my regular use machines at a later point, and can pick up an upgrade license then...but at the moment I have 0 spare cash to invest in a copy for myself. Otherwise I'd gladly kick it on a machine here on a completely bare drive.

As stated though, others have already tested this, and it doesn't work.

I can't keep arguing the difference between clean install and full install however though. It's taking up way too much of my time that I would rather spend relaxing since I have very little time for it these days. :(

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Shane Nokes    739

A lot of contradictory information out there it seems!

The following suggests you need the registry change in order to properly activate:

http://www.ghacks.ne...stall-possible/

This would tally with how it was with Windows 7 Upgrade discs, so makes sense.

.... have to wait for more people to confirm I guess.

That reg change is only on media downloaded via the upgrade advisor.

Someone here already did an install using the upgrade key on a totally blank disc with the MSDN image (which does not require the change) and it didn't activate.

Grr...I keep getting sucked in because people just won't pay attention to the differences in clean vs full :(

I'm going to totally just close out my browser window for the next several hours and relax. Seeing the updates pop up for this thread keeps me coming back. :p

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Darrian    246

Ok, I'm going to install it in a VM again, so from the perspective of the install media it will be installing onto a blank hard drive with no other OS possibly detected. It should be noted that I'm going to use a Technet ISO, because when I ran the upgrade advisor I didn't realize I wouldn't be able to create an install media later, and I didn't bother. It might also be noteworthy that this is a 64-bit installation. Then I'm going to go ahead and attempt to activate it. I'll post back here with the results when it's done.

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Shane Nokes    739

Ok, I'm going to install it in a VM again, so from the perspective of the install media it will be installing onto a blank hard drive with no other OS possibly detected. It should be noted that I'm going to use a Technet ISO, because when I ran the upgrade advisor I didn't realize I wouldn't be able to create an install media later, and I didn't bother. It might also be noteworthy that this is a 64-bit installation. Then I'm going to go ahead and attempt to activate it. I'll post back here with the results when it's done.

I'm not sure how it will behave on a VM. I do know that in some cases VM's can see the host OS and that can change behavior. I've had that happen myself a couple times.

That's why I mentioned testing it on bare metal with a completely bare drive. A drive that has been totally wiped clean of everything, no partitions of any kind present...a total blank slate with no other drives even present in the machine.

In other words a single drive machine where the drive is completely zeroed out, or at least has had all the partitions completely removed so that there's 0 chance of it seeing anything at all.

That's the only way to truly verify if it's an FPP key being given out or an upgrade key.

Problem is there are already people in this thread that have done that...and it doesn't activate. It will install of course, but activation fails.

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Darrian    246

Ok, so I am actually amazed, but it did indeed fail activation. In light of this I would recommend anybody doing a clean install stick to methods that work, such as installing with a different key and then changing it, or installing an older version of Windows first and then running the upgrade. I might go mess with the registry later and seeing if changing that entry will allow it to activate or not, but right now it's dinner time so I'll be back later.

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theyarecomingforyou    10,195

Ok, so I am actually amazed, but it did indeed fail activation. In light of this I would recommend anybody doing a clean install stick to methods that work, such as installing with a different key and then changing it, or installing an older version of Windows first and then running the upgrade. I might go mess with the registry later and seeing if changing that entry will allow it to activate or not, but right now it's dinner time so I'll be back later.

Aren't you using a VM, though? It's quite possible the issue is related to that.

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Xerxes    194

Can you do the old "Vista trick"? just do a clean install (without entering the product key) and then do an "upgrade" of that install using your key? it's only the license key that stops you doing a clean install, not the media. However, not sure it you can do that anymore? MS might of made it you have to enter a key now during install not sure.

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JTA    13

I ran the upgrade assistant on my main desktop and downloaded the ISO, then used the Win7 USB download tool to copy the ISO to a flash drive. The only change I made to the boot media was that I added the ei.cfg referenced earlier in the thread to the flash drive so that I could add the key after install. I attempted to install from the flash drive to a spare test PC that consists of an Ion/Atom ITX board and a recently wiped 2.5" hdd. I confirmed using a gparted boot flash drive that the hdd was indeed void of any file systems.

Win 8 finished the install and would not activate when I entered the key. I have not tried to mess with the registry entry yet to see if that works.

error.jpg

If you click the link below "Buy a new key", it brings up a Windows.com support page. Here is the relevant portion:

You upgraded to Windows 8, but didn't have a previous version of Windows installed (error 0xC004F061)

If you see error 0xC004F061 when you try to activate Windows 8, it means that you're using a product key for an upgrade version of Windows 8 and a previous version of Windows wasn't on your PC when Windows 8 was installed. To install an upgrade version of Windows 8, you must already have Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP installed on your PC.

If you formatted the drive before the upgrade version of Windows 8 was installed, you won't be able to use your upgrade product key to activate Windows 8. To activate Windows 8, you'll need to install your previous version of Windows, and then reinstall Windows 8. For help with the activation process, contact support.

EDIT:

I checked the registry key HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Setup\OOBE\MediaBootInstall and it was set to 1. I changed it to 0, did a slmgr -rearm and rebooted. It subsequently activated fine using the key I got from the Upgrade Assistant.

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Darrian    246

I changed the registry entry from 1 to 0 and it still wouldn't activate.

This isn't horrible news, though. My actual PC is installed and activated. I paid $15 for an upgrade key. The most anybody is paying is $40. We knew going in that it was intended for upgrades and not full installs. It's still an awesome deal and I'm not the least bit disappointed.

There are ways to get previous versions of Windows installed and activated before running the upgrade. It's a little shady, more work and time, but anybody who frequents these forums should have no issue using an upgrade key to get Windows 8 installed.

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syncore    45

This worked for me w/ the $14.99 key:

(1) Format and perform clean install of Windows 8 using the public Client KMS Setup key from Microsoft's site

(2) Enter these 2 commands:

slmgr /cpky

slmgr /upk

(3) Run regedit.exe

(4) Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Setup\OOBE

(5) In the right window, change the value data for MediaBootInstall from 1 to 0.

(6) Open an elevated command prompt as administrator and run: slmgr /rearm

(7) Reboot

(8) Run slui.exe and activate using "upgrade-only" key

(9) Reboot

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+warwagon    12,166

Again...not Clean install, but FULL install.

Is there something I'm missing in how I'm explaining this?

It seems that folks do not understand the difference between the 2 even though I keep repeating it.

I'm on the verge of giving up trying to explain since no one is listening to the difference....

I think they just have bad terms. A full install, is also a clean install, in the sense that you are starting clean...see the confusion? So according to you, full install is a ...a full install using the upgrade disc, so you are saying when you install over the top of 7 you aren't doing a full? So then you must be only installing some of windows 8? LOL ...Just kidding. But you can see how the wording can get people confused.

I'm sorry but even if Clean install isn't the correct term, if I can delete a partition that use to have windows 7 and install 8 from scratch i'm calling that a clean install. Because I would also call an upgrade a dirty install.

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neo1911    793

I changed the registry entry from 1 to 0 and it still wouldn't activate.

Did you do rearm command in elevated DOS and reboot?

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Darrian    246

This worked for me w/ the $14.99 key:

(1) Format and perform clean install of Windows 8 using the public Client KMS Setup key from Microsoft's site

(2) Enter these 2 commands:

slmgr /cpky

slmgr /upk

(3) Run regedit.exe

(4) Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Setup\OOBE

(5) In the right window, change the value data for MediaBootInstall from 1 to 0.

(6) Open an elevated command prompt as administrator and run: slmgr /rearm

(7) Reboot

(8) Run slui.exe and activate using "upgrade-only" key

(9) Reboot

Right. I had a KMS-activated install, too, and then I just changed the key. Except I didn't do step 8, I went to system properties, viewed activation details, and had the option available to activate using a different key, so I was able to use the GUI to get activated.

Did you do rearm command in elevated DOS and reboot?

Nope, didn't know I was supposed to do that. Oops. VM is deleted again, might try it again tomorrow. Messing with Ubuntu trying to get a build environment for CM10 for my Nook Color set up right now.

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notme23    1

this worked for me as well. bought the 39.99 through the upgrade assistant and burned a bootable DVD. booted a bare PC i had spare and installed the upgrade. followed the steps above and it activated. so yes you can install the upgrade as a fresh install using the above steps.

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Shane Nokes    739

So it was totally bare? 0 data on any drive?

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mousestrap0731    3

I'm not sure if my experience makes any difference in helping but I bought Windows 8 via Microsoft's Windows Upgrade Offer for $15 within Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit on a Toshiba Satellite P745-S4102.

I downloaded it through that Upgrade Assistant, created 64-bit ISO, burned, rebooted to the Windows 8 Setup ("press any key to boot from DVD" during post)

I was asked to enter my key before being able to modify partitions and install Windows 8. Once I did it (which gave me Windows 8 Professional after entering the key), I proceeded to delete my Windows 7 partition from my hard drive and installed Windows 8.

Once it all got set up and installed I checked to see if my copy was activated and sure enough it was.

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Shane Nokes    739

That's not what we are talking about. You can clean install just fine with a prior OS.

We are talking about a totally empty machine with nothing on it. Absolutely 0 data on any drive.

What you did is a normal install. I've done that for years now.

We are trying to determine what type of keys are being given out. FPP or Upgrade.

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