Just purchased a new Inspiron 3847 with Win8.1 pre-installed and would like to gut it down to the bare bones. I have no use for all the bloat included, such as the "apps" for eBay and Amazon. Especially the one from Amazon, which has been cited as a major security/privacy hole (thanks Dell!).
So how does one go about doing this as quickly and painlessly as possible? Previously, a person could re-install from the cd/dvd that was included with the PC. Or they could create a recovery disk and clear it down to the bare essentials that way. Unfortunately, neither of those options seem to be immediately available.
I've attempted to read as much as possible about the Win8 install/re-install process and the difficulties/restrictions (BIOS-based activation keys, media reduction, locking things down to prevent piracy, etc etc etc) but it's hard to tell which of the things I'm reading apply to 8.1, when it seems many of the tutorials are written for 8.0. Also I've read that there may be other complications due to Dell being involved.
So I figured I'd ask other Dell owners and the people that are already dealing with this (either personally or via this forum). What would be the best method to accomplish a bloat-free system?
• Simply uninstall the mal/garbageware one-by-one?
• Submit a request for backup & recovery media?
• Find an 8.1 .iso from some random website and hope it's legit?
• Try this method, and hope that I can 1) extract the correct key from my BIOS; and 2) get the re-install to work with an OEM key.
• Some other option??
I've read so much (both helpful and totally bad/conflicting) that I'm starting to suffer from information overload. I need to get this done and move on. So any guidance here would be greatly appreciated.
My tutorial instructs for Windows 8.1:
You can call Dell Technical Support and request a Windows 8.1 Reinstallation DVD. If you are in the US or CA you can fill out:
In other regions you mu call Dell Technical Support to procure the media. In some cases the support agents are reluctant to ship media so if they insist that you don't need one and suggest you need to use Dell Backup and Recovery (which will give you the bloated install) you can say the system is non-bootable.
You may want to look at the following in the rare case that you should need to obtain your Windows 8.1 product key:
Hi. I bought a new Dell several years ago and had the same issue. I wiped the hard drive to get rid of all the <ADMIN NOTE: Substitute character removed as per TOU> and then reinstalled Windows with the disc that was shipped with the system. I was dismayed when I got a new Inspiron 3847 a few days ago and discovered a Windows disc was not included.
So how did it work out for you?
The easiest way to do this is to just uninstall all the junk you don't want. There is not as much as there used to be and the uninstalls go fast. You should try this first and how it is. Some claim that a clean install gives a better install. In my experience this is not true. I do this all the time and then keep them clean by routine cleanings and avoiding unsafe web sites. All my machines are fast and nuisance free.
XPS M1530, Win 10 CU Pro 32-bit
Inspiron E1705, Win 10 CU Pro 32-bit
Dimension 9100, Win 10 AU Pro 32 bit
Inspiron 660, Win 10 CU 64 bit
Inspiron 3668, Win 10 CU 64 bit
Asus T100 Tablet, Windows 10 CU 32 bit
I have never found factory settings to be up to scratch as a clean install. I thought things would be better with Windows 8.0 as many users have seemed to be happy with them however my friends Inspiron 7537 had the worst factory settings I had seen in my life to the extent that Dell Technical Support were going to replace the system mainboard and my 6 year old Latitude D820 outperformed it. The WIndows 8.1 Update had multiple issues with the factory install making it perform even worse. He took it over to me and I clean installed Windows 8.1 and now it performs as it should and he is very happy with it.
Unfortunately Microsoft has made life very difficult for their OEMs and OEM end users. They do not allow Dell to ship proper Windows Reinstallation DVDs/USBs with their systems due to "green" policies. Simultaneously they fail to provide a download link for a Dell Windows 8.1 OEM .iso and don't let Dell provide one which would be the most green route. The only way to get proper installation media via official channels is to request it and await for it to get physically shipped to you.
I would advise requesting a Dell Windows 8.1 Reinstallation DVD or USB. If you are in the States or Canada you can request one using the online request form here:
Some users often report limited success with the form and find it better to call Dell Technical Support. For other regions you must contact Dell Technical Support as there is no online form. Likely they will attempt to persuade you to use factory settings but you can insist you want to clean install.
Once you have the Reinstallation DVD/UEB follow my Windows Reinstallation Guide/A Clean Install of Windows:
This will take you through the installation process.
P.S. even if you are satisfied with the factory settings I would still request proper installation media in case the factory settings fail or you have problems with a future Windows Update. Dell Backup and Recovery (although getting better) is not a robust solution and often fails.