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Alan SilvermanFlag for United States of America

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Windows 10 (again) on Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series

Client brought me a Dell Inspiron 11 3000 series she got for free from Time-Warner Cable.  It has Windows 8.1 on it.  My intent was to upgrade to Windows 10 and clone to an SSD using Acronis software.

Earlier I downloaded Windows 10 onto a flash drive and used that to do a clean install on another computer, a Dell Vostro 220 desktop.  But I wasn’t  able to activate Windows 10.  

My experience with the Dell Inspiron laptop was worse.  I wanted to do a clean install of Windows 10 but kept on running into trouble. The Windows 10 installer wouldn’t recognize the ssd.  It kept on asking for drivers. So I put back the 8.1 drive and tried to upgrade.

When I tried to do the upgrade on the Windows 8.1 drive (not ssd) the upgrade failed.  So then I tried applying the newest Win 8.1 updates and they failed.  Now I’m trying to update again.  

By the way, this site says that you can’t do a clean install of Windows 10 from 7 or 8, but have to upgrade first, activate 10, then you can do a clean install:

Have I fallen into the usual Microsoft morass?

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I got the upgrade from within working.  After it's done I will clone the drive.  Hopefully it will remain activated. When I upgraded I was given the option of not including any data or apps. I'm hoping that will give me close to a clean install, saving me from going through that.  
After it's done I will clone the drive

What is it you mean with that? Are you cloning just as a backup, or is it for use in another PC? If it is for another PC, activation won't work. Activation is only for that exact PC you originally activated on.

I have done several upgrades from within the previous OS, and those systems were all automatically activated as soon as Windows 10 was ready. I then did a clean installation of Windows 10 on at least some of those PC's of Windows 10. Although you get asked 2 or 3 times during the installation for the product key of Windows 10, you can skip that and the installation will proceed. When the installation has finished I checked those PC's, and they were all still properly activated. So once you have done a proper upgrade to Windows 10 on a PC, and it is properly activated, you can install the OS cleanly whenever your want, and it will automatically be activated again provided you have an active internet connection.
I will clone the hard drive the Inspiron 11 came with to a SSD.  Make the PC faster.  Same PC, new drive.
Thanks for everything. I can take it from here.

PS Just thought of one more question, if you care to answer it.  Do you think a clean reinstall is necessary?  On the same PC, after the upgrade, any idea if a clean install will make the PC significantly faster with less errors (bugs), rather than just going with the 8.1 upgrade?
Before cloning to the SSD I suggest you make sure the firmware on the SSD is up-to-date. Besides that I also suggest you rather use Paragon's migrate OS to SSD utility, which makes sure that everything is adapted to the new SSD so it performs best:
Do you think paragon is better than Acronis 2015?  I've used Acronis for years.
Paragon is a lot better than either Acronis or Symantec stuff, and their products are usually also less expensive, Some are even free.
Here's something to remember.  I could not get windows to recognize either of two crucial SSDs, a M500 and a BX100.  Finally I put in a Samsung EVO drive and it's doing a clean install. I made sure the firmware on the crucial drives was uplevel and also upgraded the bios on the Dell. It might finally be a Dell problem.  There was this weird thing I noticed. I'd do F2 to look at hardware setup and one time it would show the Crucial drives.  The next time the bios said there was no hard drive detected.  That's what made me think to try a Samsung.  
Please note: No second installation is needed to get a clean activated installation. We can choose to keep nothing or just files when upgrading, both will provide a clean installation.
Thanks for clarifying.  I did that once but wasn't sure it constituted a clean installation.
I'm really starting to like Windows 10.  Have to turn off all the Microsoft spying though.