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Repair Windows 8 Install

Posted on 2015-02-17
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I've got a client with a Windows 8 PC that won't boot. I am currently running a CHKDSK on it now to see what that will do but I have no idea where to go when this doesn't work.

It is a DELL XPS 8500

Automatic Repair cannot repair the machine.
Refresh cannot refresh the PC.
I cannot reset the PC.
I cannot run SFC /SCANNOW. It simply comes back and says it cannot be run at this time.
There is no system restore point for me to restore to.
I can't upgrade it to 8.1, because the ISO from Microsoft for that upgrade needs to be run from Windows, you can't boot from it.
I can't boot in any form of safe mode.

I have a DELL 8.1 recovery media CD, but when I try to run a new install it asks for a CD KEY, which as you all know doesn't come anywhere on the machine. This was not an upgraded Windows 7 PC, it came with 8.0 installed right from Dell.

Any ideas?
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Question by:new435
7 Comments
 
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by:R. Toby Richards
ID: 40615140
There are bootable CD/USB images that you can use to boot the dead computer, and recover the key. Two that come to mind are:

http://www.lazesoft.com/forgot-windows-admin-password-recovery-freeware.html
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Expert Comment

by:awawada
ID: 40615141
Did you try to create an installation media for Windows 8.1?
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media
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Author Comment

by:new435
ID: 40615147
AWAWADA:

Thats the media I tried to use the first time

R.Toby Tichards:

Ill see if I can burn one of those and try it.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:awawada
ID: 40615226
Also, make sure that BIOS of the system is updated. After try to reinstall with the installation media for Windows 8.1.
Look at the product ID at the bottom and see if the product ID mentions the words OEM. If the license is OEM then your product key will reside within the system UEFI/BIOS. If on the other hand your license does not mention OEM, you should have the product key in a confirmation email or in retail packaging. The Windows 8.1 “edition” with Update 1 .iso will automatically input OEM UEFI/BIOS Embedded System Locked Preinstallation Windows 8.0 “Edition” and Windows 8.1 “Edition” keys. Product activation will occur automatically upon first connection to the internet. There is thus no longer any need to use a third party utility to obtain your product key.
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Accepted Solution

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rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 40615285
You need the proper edition of Windows 8.0 DVD that matches the version that was installed (probably Windows 8, not Windows 8 Pro or higher). The you shouldn't need any key, as it is included in the BIOS.

Normally you wouldn't have "Recovery DVD's for Windows 8.x, but rather a USB stick. Besides that, have you tried recovery from the recovery partition?
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Author Comment

by:new435
ID: 40615294
I kind of figured that the 8.0 vs 8.1 CD was the problem. I didn't even think about the recovery partition. It doesn't even pop up on the post screen anymore! haha, will mash F-keys and give it a try. I have 8.0 CDs for HP and Powerspec (which I will never buy again) but I might give one of those a try as a last resort if I had to.
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