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Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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Hi all, (My PC was purchased in August 2015 Dell OEM with Windows 8.1 preinstalled). Ive seen the link listed under my Service Tag where there is the option to download a Windows 8.1 ISO recovery image. Ive also read that you can obtain the ISO from Microsoft. Is that ISO the same as the one  under my service tag on the Dell Support site? Which is the best one to get?

I will be installing from a USB flash drive and the instructions to create the bootable USB installation media on the Dell Support site are straight forward and easy to follow using Diskpart. Then simply Mount the image and copy all files over onto the USB flash drive. With this method am I going to have to mess around in the BIOS disabling Secure Boot etc when I insert the USB to reinstall or after tapping F12 will the USB stick be listed?  A technician took control of my PC a few months ago to do a clean install because my factory  image was corrupted. I don't know if he typed something else as well but he used Diskpart. I don't remember him disabling Secure Boot at all but Im not 100% sure what he typed in Diskpart.

Ive read a little about installing from the Windows 8.1 ISO. With UEFI boot mode I know the USB has to be formatted in FAT32 because NTFS wont work {the support site method abovedoes that).

Ive seen Windows Media Creation Tool..but Ive read that it uses NTFS so there are boot problems. Ive also seen people talking about using something called Rufus. I just want the easiest method..so confusing.

If the Dell method above works without having to Disable Secure Boot then I'll do it that way. I just don't want to have to change Secure Boot etc in BIOS

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7 Thorium

RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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The procedure is identical to Desktops and Laptops.

On the Dell Website you can opt to search between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. The Dell website should automatically detect you are running Windows 10 however.

Its highly unlikely Microsoft are going to bother changing the product activation mechanisms... It will cause them far too much support hassle than its worth.

Revenue wise they want to make the Windows Store a success and they want to make Edge and Bing and Cortana a success... They also want to make OneDrive and Office a success. If these services are used - if one purchases from the Windows 10 Store or uses Microsoft's search Engine then Microsoft will get revenue and advertisement revenue respectively.

The one Windows model also means they only need to support one Windows version in the future saving them a lot in support costs. e.g. Windows Vista security updates must be made even if few people use Windows Vista.

Guide wise its fine to leave your browser open while using the Media Creation Tool. I forgot to mention there is also some tutorial videos here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1RkaknDn7v-Ucth4gt0U3BHVSY7oNkWr 

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell

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7 Thorium

RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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The Windows 8.1 UEFI BIOS SLP key will always automatically be input by Windows 10 RS1 installation media automatically installing Windows 10 Home. You should never be asked for a product key for that system... During the first installation it'll automatically become a Windows 10 Home Device - Motherboard Details given to Microsoft and stored on their server.

The Microsoft Account sign in is good if you want to use OneDrive, the Mail App as it saves you signing in every App individually etc. otherwise a Local Account is fine.

If you are signed with a Microsoft Account, Microsoft link your Product Activation to the Microsoft Account in case their are reactivation issues. In reality its only useful for the Retail Licenses which are transferable licenses - the OEM licenses are not. 

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell

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8 Krypton

RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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Didn't you upgrade to Win 10 when it was free?

ISOs downloaded directly from MS may be more up-to-date than any on Dell's support page.

You can find a Win 8.1 reinstallation guide written by one of the Dell Rockstars here.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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Hi Ron. I didn't try Windows 10 at all. I stayed with Windows 8

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RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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Guess you're a glutton for punishment. Win 8(.1) is painful, unless you use something like the free Classic Shell to make it behave like Win 7.

Are you sure a Win 8.1 Reset won't work? That would be the easiest/fastest way to get back to a clean system.

Whatever you do, just be sure to back up all your personal files on external media first, make sure you have the product keys and reinstallation media for any software you installed (eg, MS Office), and download all the Win 8.1 drivers for your specific system hardware onto a USB stick so they're ready to install as soon as the WIn 8.1 reinstallation is finished.

The link I gave you has the details you need to do a clean reinstall 8.1.

Post back if you have any problems...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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Windows 8.1 Reset doesn't work..corrupted factory image.

Can I just ask you Ron...I can easily download the ISO from Dell Support site and follow the instructions using Diskpart under my Service Tag providing that I can then install from the USB flash drive without disabling Secure Boot under UEFI boot mode. One technician at Dell said it wouldn't be a problem while another said they recommend to disable Secure Boot. I thought Secure Boot was designed to work in Windows 8.1. A technician took remote control of my PC a few months ago installed from ISO on Dell site with Diskpart and I don't remember seeing him disable Secure Boot at all

If you think the above wont work and I use the link you have given me will Windows activate automatically? My system is OEM , Inspiron, 12 months old but under 3 year warranty and came pre installed with Windows 8.1

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RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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You might have issues with Secure Boot enabled if one of the drivers isn't 'signed' by Microsoft...

The Dell ISOs may not be fully up-to-date, so probably better off to get it from the MS site (free), regardless of which procedure you use to do the installation. If it were me, I'd follow the link I gave you. The author of that tutorial is really smart about figuring out how to install Windows. And I'm sure -sooner or later- you'll probably see him post in this tread...

Windows 8.1 should activate itself automatically because the product key is stored in BIOS on your PC.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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7 Thorium

RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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You should Download a Windows 10 RS1 .iso, make a Bootable USB with Rufus and Clean Install Windows 10 RS1:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-10-oem-and-retail-iso/ 

Ignore Microsoft's bad marketing... Windows 10 RS1 Installation Media will automatically input your Windows 8.1 UEFI BIOS SLP key and input during installation. Your system will activate as a new Windows 10 Edition Device after clean installation. 

I've been actively testing this since the amrketing period expired.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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Hi Phil. I don't think that will work for me. I never tried Windows 10 even though it was offered to me. I didn't download it..I wish I had now... so im stuck with 8.1

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RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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Get an OEM windows 10

https://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Windows-10-Pro-Bit/dp/B00ZSHDJ4O/

 


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7 Thorium

RE: Clean Installation of Windows OS help required

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Hi Phil. I don't think that will work for me. I never tried Windows 10 even though it was offered to me. I didn't download it..I wish I had now... so im stuck with 8.1

It will still work for you. I carried out the same procedure in a number of Desktops just before Christmas. If it doesn't work you can follow the equivalent instructions for Windows 8.1. I would recommend trying with Windows 10 first though as its a better Operating System.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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