I had a hard drive failure in an Alienware m14x. I have since purchased a new drive and installed. The laptop did not come with any installation media so I downloaded and created uefi boot usbs for Windows 8 and 8.1. Both regular and Pro versions. I am able to pull the product key from the bios using different tools but windows still doesn't activate to any version of windows 8 I install. Do I need a special version from Dell?
When you say you have downloaded and created uefi boot usbs - what version of Windows 8/8.1 have you downloaded? From where have you downloaded them?
The DPK on the motherboard is OEM specific. This DPK can/will be activated only while using OEM OS. If you are using a retail copy of OS, then you would have to use the retail key provided. If you have an MSDN account and have downloaded Windows from there, you will also find the product key in your account. So, to summarize, the OEM DPK cannot be used to activate the retail copy of OS, as this is controlled by Microsoft.
There is an alternate option - http://bit.ly/1F5YNYO - download the ISO file, create a bootable disk and try installing this OS. If it works, then it will pick up the product key.
If the system is under warranty, let us know. We can ship out the OEM for free.
Keep us updated.
I downloaded them from the media creation tool from Microsoft via http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media. The program does not give me an option to download an OEM iso. The laptop is out of warranty so I cannot get an OEM install disc through dell.
In this case, my suggestions are:
1. Purchase a retail copy
2. Purchase a Dell OEM disc
3. If you have MSDN access, you can download the image from there.
Let us know if you have any other questions.
You could contact us via Twitter - @alienwaretech - and the team shall assist you in purchasing the Dell OEM disc.
Please follow them on Twitter and DM the service tag of your system and your contact details.
You can use the generic Windows 8.1 with Update 1 media:
However note there are much more Editions than Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8.1 (Home). For instance the Windows 8.1 Single Language which is most likely the edition you have if Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro haven't worked. An Alienware should never come with Bing Editions. Follow the details of my guide to determine the correct edition, from system properties, if your system can boot into your old install. If it cannot boot then you will need to look at the Windows sticker affixed at the base of your system (with a bit of trial and error).