Replacing OEM install

CEHJ
CEHJ used Ask the Experts™
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Goal: replace the OEM install with generic Windows 8.1 from Microsoft's installer.

Below is the GPT layout of the machine in question. Partition number 4 is the Windows installation. The question is: can I simply install generic 8.1 to that partition without any ill effects on the UEFI bios, e.g. not booting properly?

Also, please advise where the best place to get generic 8.1 is. afaik, one is entitled to the generic installer these days.

Model: ATA HGST HTS541010A9 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 1000GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name                          Flags
 1      1049kB  683MB   682MB   ntfs         Basic data partition          hidden, diag
 2      683MB   955MB   273MB   fat32        EFI system partition          boot
 3      955MB   1089MB  134MB                Microsoft reserved partition  msftres
 4      1089MB  976GB   975GB   ntfs         Basic data partition
 5      976GB   1000GB  24.6GB  ntfs         Basic data partition          hidden

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Scott CSenior Engineer
Commented:
Yes, you can install to partition 4 with no ill effects.

As to getting a generic version, just download the trial from MS and make sure everything works as expected, then purchase the activation key.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-8.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
Well i thought that these days no purchase would be required, owning already a valid 8.1. install?

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media is a little unclear on this, but 8.1 -> 8.1 might be OK(?)
DavidPresident
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
You're making an assumption that the OEM version of windows doesn't have any drivers for your hardware that is NOT in the retail distribution.
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Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
You're making an assumption ...
I'm not 100% certain what you're getting at there, but i'm not making any assumptions about drivers, i assure you. I might abandon the plan as i expect to find missing drivers if i install the generic system and i don't want the hassle.
Scott CSenior Engineer
Commented:
I was thinking that you were wanting to go from the pre-installed version which was a Home edition to a professional edition.  In that case you do need to purchase an upgrade key.

What is your ultimate goal?  Just to get a clean version with no bloatware?
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
I was thinking that you were wanting to go from the pre-installed version which was a Home edition to a professional edition.
Nope

What is your ultimate goal?  Just to get a clean version with no bloatware?
Yes
Scott CSenior Engineer
Commented:
Then you should be ok with the "trail" version downloaded from MS.  The install should see your imbedded key in the BIOS and install as desired.

Your only challenged will be trying to find all of the drivers, but with some patience, you can do it.

http://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-download-the-official-microsoft-windows-8-1-iso/
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Commented:
Media creation tool download here:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media

If you have UEFI enabled OEM system you may need one of the Generic KMS keys from Microsoft to start the install but when you switch back to Secure Boot Windows activation should then be automatic and 8.1 reactivated as the same OEM version to the original installation.

You're correct that the installation media is now pretty much generic but activation remains as convoluted as ever for OEM systems.
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
It's probably not worth all the effort and cost to the client. If (when) it starts running slowly i'll probably put Debian on it after getting him used to cross-platform software. Then he'll think he's doubled his hardware spec

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