I am asking this for a female friend of mine. She owns a Dell Inspiron 3520 laptop computer with a Seagate ATA 500GB hard drive. It came with windows 8 preinstalled. I'm not sure why but she allowed someone to install Linux 14 nadia on her computer. Instead of doing a dual boot with both operating systems he erased the hard drive and reformatted it with the Linux operating system. She now wants the computer returned to the windows 8 operating system but has no back up recovery disk and no product key. It is my understanding that her product key may be embedded in the motherboard. Is it possible to wipe the hard drive clean for the second time, format it and reinstall windows 8. Will the install recover the product key from the mother board or will she need to purchase a new licensed copy of windows 8. Will the hard drive stand another erase and reinstall of a windows operating system or does she need a new hard drive. Thank you in advance!
At this stage its better to install Windows 10 TH2 which will accept the Windows 8 UEFI BIOS Embedded OEM SLP key:
Thank you for writing to the Dell Community Forum.
You can re-install Windows 8 using a Dell OEM disk and it will get activated using the product key embedded on the motherboard. Please visit the following link to place a request for the Windows back-up disk:
That was my plans eventually! My problem right now is that the person that installed Ubuntu/Linux 14 nadia on her computer has it password protected and so I'm having trouble running any type installation disk. Is there any type software that will just override this OS and clean the hard drive without using a password. Might I add he renamed the hard drive system files. Does not have a dual boot system with windows 8 and Linux OS
Once you mention password, particularly for a system that doesn't belong to you, it can be difficult to get support: even from the community.
There are several different types of passwords and workarounds are difficult to execute without proof of ownership. What you should know is that if a system lock / BIOS Admin lock is in place your only recourse is to provide proof of ownership to Customer Service at Dell. Be aware that if the HDD Lock from BIOS Security is active Dell support may or may not be able to help you. Be prepared for both. Normally when One is in place, so is the other. If your problem is simply an Operating System User Account Password, A clean installation will get you where you're going. The link provided in the above post "dellwindowsreinstallationguide" was posted by it's Author. It is Extraordinarily comprehensive and following it closely will afford you a clean installation of Windows and Dell related software as well as drivers. The Disk Images (.iso files) are also linked in that guide so you should...with a few hours and a little patience...be able to help your female friend get back to using her Dell equipment. GOOD LUCK and Happy Hunting!
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I could not fix the problem with this Dell 3520 laptop computer. I have decided to install a new hard drive and a clean installation of windows 8 using a recovery disc from the Dell support site. I was also told the product key for windows 8 is encrypted into the motherboard of the laptop. I have reviewed the installation video for installing windows 8 but have a question. When you get to the step where is says to enter the product key do I skip this step or is there a generic product key that you use until windows installs, updates and verifies the that windows is genuine. The hard drive will arrive tomorrow so I'm getting all my ducks in a row so it will be a smooth install. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
If you are using Windows 8.1 with Update 1 Installation Media or Windows 10 TH2 Installation Media the product key is automatically input during installation and you are taken straight to the license agreement screen.
If you are asked for a product key you are installing the wrong Edition e.g. Home instead of Home Single Language or vice versa.
Inputting a generic key will force installation of the wrong Edition and only result in Microsoft Product Activation issues.
I really appreciate everyones help in trying to get this computer repaired.
I recieved the new hard drive today but had difficulty getting in to the computer.
After several attempts with Dell online chat support and telephone support I am no where near repairing this computer.
It may be time to contact the professionals but I'm having trouble communicating with dell support because of my inquiries on another persons computer.
What would be the estimated cost to have a Dell Inspiron 3520 laptop computer loaded with the Linux OS brought back to factory settings and reinstall windows 8.
What Dell support do I contact to address this issue and get a estimated cost of repairs. I would like a estimate because the computer is three years old and no longer under warranty. Is it feasible to repair this computer or buy a new one.
Thank you for your support!
@OP: you can get your original product key from any version of windows with the freeware utility SPECCY
however, on reading your question I see you don't have an image backup of your windows (doh!) - so my suggestion is not relevant. future advice - Get an image backup utility, and use it! 🙂