How to install Windows 8.1 clean with your Windows 8 Upgrade Key

Discussion in 'Windows OS and Software' started by Zymphad, Oct 24, 2013.

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  1. Zymphad

    Zymphad Zymphad

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    If you are like me, you got yourself a Windows 8 upgrade key for free or $15 during their promotion, if you bought a Windows 7 notebook get a free upgrade to W8 if you bought a notebook during a certain period or that glitch for 24 hours anyone could upgrade for free...

    Here is how to use that key to activate Windows 8.1 and do a clean install:

    Downloading Windows 8.1


    - Go to: Upgrade Windows with only a product key - Microsoft Windows Help
    - Choose Windows 8 and enter in your upgrade key.
    - Once it starts downloading, cancel it. Click on the Windows 8.1 button from link above. It will download Windows 8.1
    - Choose to create media and then save it as ISO for later. I don't know when MS will patch this or if they will just leave it. Save the ISO somewhere for safe keeping later.

    Create your Windows 8.1 USB Bootup

    - You'll need at least 3.7 GB on your USB. Some 4GB USB only have 3.65 GB, so just be safe, get one that is 6GB.
    - Format it FAT32
    - Either Mount the W8.1 ISO if you are in W8 or extract it with 7zip.
    - Move all files over to USB drive. Done!

    Installing Windows 8.1

    - You have your BIOS setup with EFI and Secure Boot. Make sure it's setup correctly.
    - Boot into USB and choose to install.
    - Use generic key to install. XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB
    - Please note, you cannot activate Windows with this key. This is just to install Windows 8.1. It's a generic key. That's it.

    Activating Windows 8.1

    - Go into elevated Command Prompt. Windows Key + X. Then A.
    - slmgr -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX (XXXXX is your Upgrade Key!)
    - Check in System Overview. Right click Windows Start button and choose system.
    - If it is not activated just follow the instructions to activate over the phone. Reboot after doing phone method and it will work! Don't sweat it if the command above didn't work.
    - Also note, once you activate once with the phone, you won't have to do it again. Usually the phone method is needed if you change a HDD or a SSD. Windows thinks you are installing your single key on multiple machines. As said, don't sweat it.

    Disable annoying UAC!
    RegEdit

    Location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
    Key: EbableLUA
    Value data: 0



    Sources: MyDigitalLife and Google!
     
    DEagleson, bosmann and Ripcord999 like this.
  2. hendrix

    hendrix Notebook Guru

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    If my laptop came with W8 pre-installed, the key is embedded in the BIOS, right? Is there a way to find it or will it automatically be recognised by the installation?
     
  3. mattcheau

    mattcheau Notebook Deity

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    do older, non-EFI machines need to format pen drives as NTFS? does it matter?
     
  4. Zymphad

    Zymphad Zymphad

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    Yes. NTFS for USB drive without EFI. Microsoft has a USB drive creator to help with that.

    http://images2.store.microsoft.com/prod/clustera/framework/w7udt/1.0/en-us/Windows7-USB-DVD-tool.exe

    I'm not sure if your Windows 8 key will work with Windows 8.1, it may not. It may only allow you to upgrade W8 to W8.1. I'm not sure, but just in case you can find your Windows 8 key from below. A script, doesn't install anything. Right click it, run as command prompt. You can follow my method above and then activate with your key. Otherwise, if you're embedded key works, then no worries :p

    http://www.eightforums.com/attachments/tutorials/23469d1372146501-product-key-find-windows-8-showkey.vbs
     
  5. Nemix77

    Nemix77 Notebook Deity

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    For activating Windows 8.1 with a Windows 8 upgrade key you can always use Activate Windows Option in Metro UI's PC Settings instead of going into command prompt, it's just more user friendly IMHO.
     
  6. mattcheau

    mattcheau Notebook Deity

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    most important step. durp.
     
  7. Yeep

    Yeep Notebook Consultant

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    Hey guys, quick couple questions.

    New laptop on the way, plan on scoring a ssd on black friday sales. Laptop is coming with Win8, can I put the ssd in 2nd bay, download this iso to it. Then format the hdd, power down and swap their places?

    I have a 8gig thumb drive if the way noted in the OP is easier. Basically trying to figure out how to make this swap a month or so after owning the computer, so I can transfer vital documents/programs and mitigate data loss/recovery time.
     
  8. Zymphad

    Zymphad Zymphad

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    SSDs are insanely fast. The file transfer slow down isn't in the read, but in the write. So just move your current HDD into secondary, put your SSD into primary. Do a clean install of W8.1 and transfer your files from your old install to your SSD. It won't take long.

    I was able to do a clean install of W8.1, Office, Adobe suite, Steam, all drivers and all Windows updates in under 20 minutes.

    During this month just start a folder with all your important files you want, your drivers, and installers. Organize it and you are ready to go.

    You can also just start up some cloud storage like Dropbox or SkyDrive so your important files will just sync.
     
  9. Yeep

    Yeep Notebook Consultant

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    Thank you sir, sometimes when something seems that simple. Skeptical hippo is skeptical.

    I could buy a 120 right now, but waiting for a 256 to go on sale.
     
  10. Rodster

    Rodster Merica

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    Everything worked great. I did have to call into the automated service to transfer the license.
     
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