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How to install windows 8.1 Pro with 8.1 Core installed factory

Posted on 2014-10-15
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Last Modified: 2016-06-15
I have a load of brand new Acer laptops running Windows 8.1 issue is these need to be added to a domain.  
When I attempt to install windows 8.1 Pro on these machines it automatically picks up 8.1 Core and installs that and never asks for a installation key.
I have a feeling 8.1 Core key is stuck in the bios and updates and selects Core as soon as a new system is installed.
Please help?
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Question by:Lawrie Gormley
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Expert Comment

by:Rizzle
ID: 40382320
Have you ensured secure boot is disabled and also that the BIOS is set to legacy when the install is done.

Maybe this migbt help with the install problem

http://www.eightforums.com/installation-setup/44415-how-install-windows-8-1-8-1-oem-key.html
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40382333
Go to Control Panel, Systems, click on the new edition link and that should take you to a Window that allows you to enter new key.

The BIOS is tied to the original install.
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Expert Comment

by:CorinTack
ID: 40382334
Using the steps on this website - complete the formatting of the thumb drive:
http://www.blogsolute.com/create-windows-8-usb-bootable-pendrive-uefi-boot/25988/
 
Then create a file named PID.txt (as described below).
http://www.blogsolute.com/windows-8-clean-installation-product-key-do-not-match/25990/
 
When the windows installer find PID.txt, it uses that product code and ignores the one embedded in the computers firmware.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40382511
Google  8.1 together with ei.cfg and Edition. It will lead to a how to that shows how to manipulate setup so it will offer to install pro.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40383761
Detailed instructions are here: http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-microsoft-windows-and-office/download-microsoft-windows/download-windows-8-1-iso/creating-a-bootable-iso-with-an-ei-cfg-and-pid-txt-file/

Easiest would be however, to write an 8.1 pro iso to a usb thumb drive (using microsoft's "usb download tool" freeware) and then right on the usb drive modify the ei.cfg.

Sorry, was on the phone yesterday and found it hard to type in details.
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40384169
So I managed to create a USB drive with an extracted install from a windows 8.1 Pro ISO image.  
I created a pid.tx and a EI.cfg with the correct windows 8.1 Pro key.

When I use the USB to install I still get 8.1 Core?

Any suggestions?

L
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40384194
Did you try the anytime upgrade I pointed to earlier?
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40384205
Hi John,

Sure did, it gives me "This key won't work. Check and try again, or try a different key.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40384222
Did you supply the Key from your Pro DVD? It would have been purchased. If you do it online, the upgrade has to be purchased as well. I haven't tried this with Windows 8 yet, but it should work (in terms of Keys) similarly to Windows 7.
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40384244
John,

The laptop is running 8.1 core at present, the 8.1Pro key is from a purchased full version of 8.1 Pro.
Win Pro 8.1 x64 Eng Intl 1pl
DSP OEI DVD
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Accepted Solution

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John Hurst earned 200 total points
ID: 40384269
Given you have a purchased Key, you may wish to contact Microsoft Licensing Support to see why it does not work.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40384487
Please quote your ei.cfg and make sure the key is not mistyped in PID.txt
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40384626
[EditionID]
Professional
[Channel]
Retail
[VL]
0

And the key is bang on in the PID.txt file.
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Assisted Solution

by:McKnife
McKnife earned 100 total points
ID: 40385173
And your ISO is a pro one? Well...it works for others...hmm.

There are however ISO files (which I can access via Microsoft's licensing portal https://www.microsoft.com/Licensing/servicecenter/Downloads/DownloadsAndKeys.aspx ) that have just the pro edition on them, there is no possible way to install it wrong.
Download name and size:
SW_DVD9_Win_Pro_8.1 _64BIT_English_-2_MLF_X19-49879.ISO (3.68 GB) from fullproductdownload.microsoft.com
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Assisted Solution

by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 200 total points
ID: 40385205
Are you using a retail Win 8.1 pro DVD to do this?  If so, do you have separate Keys for each of the machines?  If you are intending to add these to a VL (which is what it sounds like in your question) your ei.cfg format is wrong, it should be:

[EditionID]
Professional
[Channel]
Volume
[VL]
1

Open in new window


But this depends entirely on what you've actually purchased in terms of licensing.

As you've probably already worked out the SLIC (OA v3.0) install is kicking in and checking the BIOS ACPI Microsoft Data Management (MSDM) table, there it sees an OEM key for 8.1 Core, as your retail DVD contains all the base versions of 8.1 it then reverts to form and that's the installation you get.  As you've not bought an Anytime Upgrade (now simply called "Add Features" in 8.1 onward) your Key won't work for that pathway.

More details about embeded OA v.3.0 keys in my article here
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_8/A_13637-Where-is-my-Windows-8-Activation-Key.html
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40386168
Is there an exact way to tell whether it is a retail version?
It is not from the VLC and we have separate copies for each laptop.

So looking at your last comment the only real way to do this is using the 'add features' option?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40386350
we have separate copies for each laptop  <--- Are you trying to use an OEM Windows DVD to upgrade a different laptop?  

Did you try purchasing an upgraded via anytime upgrade?  (Microsoft Licensing Support).
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40386357
Yes a windows OEM version to upgrade a Acer laptop.

We already have pro versions in stock so don't want to pay £99 to use the anytime upgrade option.
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 40386365
Add Features is probably not the most appropriate route for this, I just need to get my head around the licencing arrangements you're intending for these machines.  Are you upgrading and then adding them to a existing Domain or are you creating a whole brand new domain?  If you're adding them are the others on a volume licence of any kind?
If you have separate keys it sounds like you have retail DVDs but your invoicing should tell you for sure.

I'd suggest you just take one machine and create the edited installation DVD using McKnife's plan but with the VL version of the ei.cfg file

(in fact the ei file can just contain the lines:
[Channel]
Volume
[VL]
1

Open in new window


and should still work)

As McKnife said what you're dealing with here is a bug in the way some manufacturer's preinstalls handle the OAv3.0 BIOS Key.  Effectively you need to break that link, which is what this installation method does.  Once that's done any other installers will ignore the BIOS key unless you reinstall Core when it will activate without asking for a Key code.

TBH in practice I've only done this with volume licences but I can't think why it wouldn't work with the Retail ei.cfg (but then we are talking about Microsoft here so try not to think logically about it) at worst the VL should install fine, break the BIOS Key link but then demand VL activation which you can't do, at that point you should be able to reinstall the Retail DVD you have and the BIOS Key issue will be gone.  At best you'll get prompted on install for the Retail Activation key and you're good to go.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40386367
You cannot use an OEM disk from computer A to upgrade OEM on computer B. That is probably why it is not working.

If you are not using Volume Licensing, then each Windows 8 Home machine must be upgraded with the Purchased Anytime upgrade to Pro.
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 40386369
Ahhh!  Missed the OEM upgrade bit - yep that will definitely cause hassle as all the OEM disks are installer not upgrades and will install the version matching the Key in the BIOS.  This is because you shouldn't be "Upgrading" an OEM system supplied with a lower version you can only "Downgrade" to a previous version.  Sounds like you have the wrong media.  What's been suggested would  take you outside of the licensing you have.
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40386401
So would an upgrade license of Pro 8.1 work from the VLC?
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40386412
That's not true. OEM disks can upgrade without any problems. Did that often.
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40386417
Now I'm confused?  So the OEM full version of 8.1 Pro should work?  I am not bothered about an upgrade.  A simple format and re install will suffice.
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 40386439
>>So would an upgrade license of Pro 8.1 work from the VLC?


Yes, but the bug with Acer BIOS still needs undoing

>>That's not true. OEM disks can upgrade without any problems. Did that often.

True for earlier/non-UEFI installs  but soon not to be the case if Microsoft get their way & use OAv3 to enforce restrictions which match their EULAs

They would work but not if they are using the BIOS Key to activate, With 8.1 and onwards OEM installers come in one format and activate the version according to the BIOS Key.   M$ have built this in to OAv3 to restrict users upgrading using OEM installation disks.  Sure you can edit the image but see the last part of my last post.

>>Now I'm confused?

I'm not surprised!
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40386444
Wow thanks Microsoft! ....again!

Thanks for your reply MASQ!
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40386454
You know what, take the ISO with pro x64 english with update 1 included from somewhere here:

[LINK REMOVED: ]

To make sure it's original and not tampered with, calculate the hash using md5sum, it should be cdadc5a76634651770a365f457702803

You can also search for that correct hash

[LINK REMOVED: ]

I calculated that hash myself using our Microsoft download.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40386468
What is wrong with original media? There are no keys involved.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40386479
So would an upgrade license of Pro 8.1 work from the VLC?   <-- It might (check with Microsoft Licensing Support). But you need the license availability to do the upgrade.

You can't use an OEM Pro disk from a different machine because that license is in use already.
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40386482
The OEM Pro disks are unused, fresh out the packaging.

This is all a little crazy.  I think I may have to call Microsoft to clarify.  At least then I have someone to blame  :)
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 200 total points
ID: 40386495
The OEM Pro disks are unused, fresh out the packaging ...  I think I may have to call Microsoft to clarify

Yes, I think Microsoft Licensing is a good thing to do.

Remember, if you use the OEM Pro disk to upgrade an existing machine (if Microsoft can make it work) that you will have then used up that license.  OEM disks are not transportable to another machine. Once used, the license stays with that machine.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 40386500
It's not about the keys it's about downloading the media from sites that Microsoft don't authorise, I have no doubts about the authenticity of the image but strictly even DigitalRiver's direct links aren't allowed.

Separately as we've now established we've already posted enough info to move these machines onto a platform that unintentionally the asker has the wrong media for.  Lawrie really needs a non-OEM installer as well as a fix for the bug forcing Core to be selected everytime.
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Assisted Solution

by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 200 total points
ID: 40386503
I think I may have to call Microsoft to clarify.  At least then I have someone to blame  :)

That, I think, is the perfect solution :)

Sorry, I know this seems really obstructive.
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Author Comment

by:Lawrie Gormley
ID: 40386631
So microsoft assure me it is a generic 8.1 disc and not a pro version.  Even though the packaging and even disc is plastered with 8.1Pro Full Version!

Seems I will to buy a separate upgrade disc.
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