Question: how to reinstall Windows 8 the Icrontic Way?

BandrikBandrik Elkhart, IN Icrontian

Question for ya'll. Just got a new lappy that came with Windows 8 (my first Win8 machine so I'm a bit noobish). I want to swap out the HDD for a SSD and install a fresh copy of Win8 without the HP crapware. But, like the norm these days, HP did not include a recovery DVD (the laptop DOES have an optical drive if that matters). Unlike Win7 I don't think I can just download a legal iso from digitalriver and install with the license key sticker on my laptop (and there's no CD key sticker anyways).

I googled how to accomplish what I set out to do, but I got many mixed results that varied from "you can't do it" to "you can, but you must do xyzabclmonop steps first". Ugh. Anyone here have a certified RealTalk™ Icrontic method for doing this? Legit ways preferred, "gray area but mostly legal" ways are fine with me too.

Thanks, hugs, and all that jazz.


  • QCHQCH Ancient Guru Chicago Area - USA Icrontian

    The install Code is embedded in the BIOS. Use Belarc Advisor and look in the Software Licenses section. Copy that down...
    I've had some issues going straight to Win 8.1 with a Windows 8 code. Might have to get the Windows 8 ISO and then upgrade to 8.1. I've had good luck with downloading the ISO directly from Microsoft using the code...
    If downloading doesn't work... let me know or the code doesn't work. I have the ISO and we can work out a way to get it to you.

  • NiGHTSNiGHTS San Diego Icrontian

    Reporting in - seconding the trouble-with-straight-to-8.1 issue on QCH's old Surface RT, in fact. Had to install one, then the other, for whatever reason.

  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan Icrontian

    I'll have to dig around for the article(s), but there is definitely a way to install a clean Win 8.1.

    Part of it is using one of the dummy KMS keys to allow 8.1 to install, then activating with your Win8 key.

    I'll poke around and see what I can dig up.

  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseur There's no place like Icrontian

    In theory couldn't you ghost/clone the drive to the SSD and use a bloatware removal software like Decrap or vice versa?

  • QCHQCH Ancient Guru Chicago Area - USA Icrontian

    @BlackHawk said:
    In theory couldn't you ghost/clone the drive to the SSD and use a bloatware removal software like Decrap or vice versa?

    Not recommended at all... most cloning products fail to convert the OS to handle SSD. The TRIM has to be enabled and disable several features that would reduce the life of a SSD. As for removing bloat... If there was no way to re-image (time crunch), sure. But I ALWAYS advocate a fresh build of an OS over the factory "image". The factory image, in most cases, has been modified to allow the imaging process to work better and may not be the best for the OS and for the stability of the PC. Install Windows 8, grab the patches and drivers, and know you have a fresh, unbloated PC and not worry about some lingering Bloatware bits or drivers that are a year old and shimmed to "fit" your PC.

    @AlexDeGruven‌ Yeah... that route is the best for those that do it for a living. I've done that once and had to call MS to get them to send me the stupid "fix" that allows me to use a different code that what was intended... but it worked.

  • EMTEMT Seattle, WA Icrontian

    OEM software has been getting better, at least in terms of reliability. These days you're more likely to get a bluescreen on a homebuilt system than an OEM one, even if you don't overclock.

  • Mt_GoatMt_Goat Head Cheezy Knob Pflugerville (north of Austin) Icrontian
    edited May 2014

    No one seems to include recovery software these days in the form of a disc. But most machines do have a recovery partition on the drive. It's real easy to create a recovery disc or usb drive from the partition. Then you can use that to set up your new ssd. Unfortunately it will still be 8 and not 8.1 and will still have the bloatware. But I have no problem with doing the upgrade as well as sorting and removing the bloat manually.

  • SignalSignal Icrontian

    Isn't the .1 just as simple as doing a windows update?

  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian

    Yes it is. And it's a pretty worthwhile update at that.

  • Mt_GoatMt_Goat Head Cheezy Knob Pflugerville (north of Austin) Icrontian

    The only downside to doing the .1 upgrade is that ms wants all the updates to be up to date before you can get the upgrade. The only thing that does is takes time.

  • BandrikBandrik Elkhart, IN Icrontian

    Okay, I tried going to the site that @QCH suggested, but it won't let me download the ISO. When it asks for the product key, I type in what Belarc Advisor gives me, but it says "This product key cannot be used to install a retail version of Windows 8".

    @AlexDeGruven‌, did you find that guide on how to use some dummy key to get the iso? If not, @QCH I'd like to work with you to get that ISO from you.

    Thanks everyone!

  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Wut? Meechigan Icrontian

    Crap, no. And websense blocks the particular forum here at work. I'll try to find it tonight for posterity's sake, even if you can't necessarily use it by the time I get ahold of it.

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