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Installing Windows 8 on a New Hard Drive

Posted on 2014-12-15
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Occasionally I am presented with a Windows 8 machine where the Hard Drive has crashed and I need to install Windows 8.1 from an install disk. Unfortunately there is no sticker on Windows 8 machines with a Windows 8 license key.  

The product key is apparently embedded in the BIOS somewhere.

Is it possible to perform a fresh install of Windows 8 on a new hard drive without contacting the computer manufacturer for an OEM install disk?

Scott
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Question by:scottjnorris
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by:Frosty555
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I've done installs using the standard Microsoft OEM media (e.g. this) and it has found the key and automatically activated without asking me for it. I've only done it a couple times so I don't know if it was a fluke or if it works universally but it did for me. I believe this was an ASUS laptop with Windows 8.1 Pro.

But of course it must be the correct edition of windows. (8 vs 8.1, regular vs pro, 32-bit vs 64-bit)
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by:Dawid Fusek
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it's possible in most cases if You have OEM install disk from your Vendor for that products line, most OEM installs don't need to enter a key, it just detect a hardware vendor and model type (compatible with that Vendor install DVD) and will install smoothly without need for entering a key. But, in general any hardware that have production install of OEM MS Windows should have a sticker, maybe search for it under a battery (inside battery place).

regards
NTShad0w
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by:scottjnorris
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Just to clarify; I do not have an OEM disk.  I have an install disk that was downloaded from TechNet I am wondering if it is possible to access the Windows licence key embedded in BIOS without contacting the manufacturer for an OEM disk each time I run into this problem. I could contact the manufacturer each time I run into this problem but it slows turn-around time considerably.

Scott
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by:Seth Simmons
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technet are retail versions so it won't work for you
if you can't get an OEM disk, the only other option is to purchase volume licensing for systems
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by:scottjnorris
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Are OEM disks specific to the make and model of the computer. If for instance I contact Dell for an OEM disk then will it work on any Dell computer or just the "Dell Inspiron 14z - 5423. " If that is what I order the OEM disk for?

thanks,

scott
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by:nobus
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If Windows 8 came preinstalled on your computer, and you did have DVD or flash media but now it's damaged or lost, contact your computer maker for a replacement. Depending on their policy, your computer maker may provide you with Windows 8 media for free or a small fee.

more info here :   http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows-8/f/download-windows-8.htm
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by:noxcho
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Contact your vendor and ask for a Windows 8.1 installation media and explain that you lost your Windows due to HDD replacement. They will give you instructions what to do. If it is Dell then either open a ticket in their support system or give them a call. The Windows replacement policy can differ from company to company so there is no universal answer what exactly is going to be done.
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by:rindi
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The vendors normally don't send you installation media, but rather a recovery USB stick, which restores the system back to factory defaults.

You can create such a factory restore recovery stick yourself as long as the disk is still fine, using Windows' 8.x control panel and selecting "Recovery", then "create a recovery drive". This will start a wizard within which you must select "Copy the recovery partition to the recovery drive". The stick only needs to be slightly larger than the space used by the PC's recovery partition, and when done it should be stored away safely and not touched unless a factory restore is needed. I strongly advise you to tell your customers who get a new windows 8.x PC to do that as one of the first things, or do it for them... You could then make a stick for yourself as well so you have a stock of sticks for the different manufacturers for the future.

If the user omitted to create such a stick, then as has already been mentioned, you either need an OEM copy of the original type of windows 8.x that was installed on that PC (core, pro, ultimate, 32bit or 64 bit) and install from that, or order the stick from the PC's manufacturer.
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by:Dawid Fusek
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"Are OEM disks specific to the make and model of the computer. If for instance I contact Dell for an OEM disk then will it work on any Dell computer or just the "Dell Inspiron 14z - 5423. "?"

the OEM installation disk is design to work on some compatible models of one vendor/manufacture, in most cases it will work on most current models range from 2-5 years, so it's not designed for one model only but it's limited for a range of models.

For Dell for example this OEM Installation DVD (Windows 7) looks like this (attachment).
And this OEM installation DVD working for a huge range of DELL laptops.

OS downloaded from MS Technet will require to enter a key not matter on what hw/vm it will be intalled.

regards
NTShad0w
DELL-OEM-Windows7-DVD.JPG
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by:rindi
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You either didn't read the Question properly, or are out of date, or both. OEM has changed with windows 8.x, and this Question is about windows 8.x, not windows 7.

PC's that come with Windows 8.x preinstalled, and have the windows 8.x logo on the case, must have an UEFI BIOS, and in that BIOS the key is embedded, so there is no sticker with a key. Those are m$ requirements to their OEM manufacturers. Also, you can use any OEM DVD provided it is the same version of OS, and you don't need to enter the key during the installation, as has already been mentioned, as it gets that automatically from the BIOS. You don't have to use a Dell branded DVD to install to a Dell PC. Another thing that changed with OEM for Windows 8.x is that you are now allowed to run an OEM version of the OS as a VM, as long as the VM is run on the original hardware. That wasn't allowed with previous Windows versions.
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by:Dawid Fusek
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my replays are only correct for Windows 7 indeed, so sorry, no update for Win 8.

regards
NTShad0w
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 500 total points
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Just back to your original question, the answer is yes.  Build an install DVD from here:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media.  The install wiill pick up the embedded activation code for Windows 8 in the ACPI Microsoft Data Management (MSDM) table in the UEFI system BIOS and automatically activate.  The emphasis for OEM installs now is all about the embedded key and no longer the media.
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by:scottjnorris
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Excellent advice MASQ!
I will give ti a try.

Scott
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