Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

hard drive died

  1. #1

    Posts : 2
    windows 7

    hard drive died

    Hi to the forum.

    This is my first post.

    I got a windows 8 pro disk from amazon and installed it on my laptop over windows 7 and it worked great, no problems.

    I then downloaded windows 8 pro from Microsoft on to one of my desk top pc's which was running windows xp. This went well with no problems at the time.
    Tonight the hard drive died on that desk top. When I put a new drive in this desk top can I use the windows 8 pro disk to install on this hard drive but with the windows pro 8 key from the windows 8 pro I downloaded.
    also as its is a upgrade windows 8 will I need to reinstall windows xp first.

    Thank you for you help with this.

    Regards Cornishman

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10

    Hello Cornishman, and welcome to Eight Forums.

    Yes, you will be able to do a clean install with your upgrade Windows 8 Pro without having to install XP first. You would just use the same product key number that came with your download.

    Clean Install with Windows 8 Upgrade

    Hope this helps,
    Last edited by Brink; 16 Nov 2012 at 17:44. Reason: updated
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    I didn't see anything there about activating a Win8 installation on a blank HD with an upgrade key. I thought a qualifying OS had to be present first.

    (There's a published hack for installing 8 on a blank HD using an upgrade license, but I didn't see it in your link.)

    Any comment?
    Last edited by Brink; 16 Nov 2012 at 17:44. Reason: removed quote
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10

    Hello Bob,

    It's only required by the EULA to have a legally purchased and activated XP SP3, Vista, or Windows 7 installed to run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant on to purchase the upgrade copy of Windows 8 for a ISO file or DVD.

    Once you have the ISO or DVD for the upgrade copy of Windows 8, you can use it to legally do a clean install or upgrade install without having to do anything else so long as you no longer have the qulaifying OS (XP SP3, Vista, or Windows 7) you used to purchase the upgrade from.

    That's all.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    I'm pretty sure that you can't use the upgrade license on a blank HD. The qualifying OS is supposed to be present when you run the installer. (Just like for Windows 7.) Do you know something different?

    In my case, I had the Win8 Enterprise Evaluation copy on the machine I wished to upgrade. The upgrade assistant wouldn't let me buy the download form that machine. I used another PC (Win 7 X64) to but the upgrade, but I did the actual download on the Win8 machine (using the link in the order verification email). I had the download saved as an .iso, and prepared the installer from that.

    (I really dislike that damnable Upgrade Assistant. It makes restrictions that aren't required by the actual upgrade license.)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    Only the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant (see link) has to have the qualifying OS installed to run. Only XP SP3, Vista, or Windows 7 are a qualifying OS. Enterprise is not a qualifying OS. I'm not sure of what restrictions you are referring to.

    I'm 100% certain, as I've done it several times, that you can legally do either a clean or upgrade install with an upgrade copy of Windows 8. You are able to do the same in Windows 7 as well, but it's even easier with Windows 8 now.

    Clean Install with Windows 8 Upgrade


    Windows 8 EULA

    What about upgrading the software?
    The software covered by this agreement is an upgrade to your existing operating system software, so the upgrade replaces the original software that you are upgrading. You do not retain any rights to the original software after you have upgraded and you may not continue to use it or transfer it in any way. This agreement governs your rights to use the upgrade software and replaces the agreement for the software from which you upgraded. After you complete your upgrade, additional software will be required to playback or record certain types of media, including DVDs.
    Last edited by Brink; 16 Nov 2012 at 17:43.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    By "restrictions", the obvious one is that the Upgrade Assistant offers no choice of the upgrade "bitness". It's perfectly legit to qualify a 64 bit upgrade using an older 32 bit OS. The UA only offers the same bit depth as the OS it's run on. Per Microsoft:

    Can I upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 8? Yes, but you can't do this using Upgrade Assistant. If your PC has a 64-bit capable processor (CPU) but is currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can install a 64-bit version of Windows 8 Pro, but you'll need to buy it as a DVD and perform a custom installation. If available in your country or region, you can buy Windows 8 Pro from a participating retail store. You can also buy it online from the Microsoft Store in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States

    There's no mention of the work-around of installing the upgrade on a system different from the one used to buy and download it.

    Let's be clear on this: can you use an upgrade copy of Windows 8 to install and activate it on a blank hard drive? By "blank hard drive" I mean one that does not have a qualifying OS (XP, Vista, Win 7) installed, not one that is formatted by the Win8 installer.

    There's no question that an upgrade copy can be used to do a clean install on an HD with a qualifying OS. The issue is what happens if you have an appliance PC without proper install media for the OS (XP, Vista, or 7). You buy an upgrade license for 8. The hard drive dies. Can you use the Win8 upgrade to re-install the OS on a new, blank HD, without installing an OS that qualifies for the upgrade on it first? I'd say no. (That's leaving off any hacking.)

    It's also what makes sense. Would Microsoft sell a copy of Windows 8 Pro for $40 (upgrade) that has the same utility as the System Builder license at $130?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    I thought that I was being pretty clear about it. Did you read the links I posted above?

    I'm not going to argue with you. Purchase yourself an upgrade Windows 8 ISO or DVD, create a bootable DVD or USB key with it, then try installing it on a computer with a clean/blank HDD.

    You will see for yourself that you can do a clean install with a upgrade copy of Windows 8.

    Clean Install with Windows 8 Upgrade

    The catch is that in order to purchase the upgrade Windows 8 ISO or DVD, you will need to run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant on the qualifying installed OS (XP SP3, Vista, Win 7). That's how Microsoft checks to make sure you have a qualifying OS to be eligiable for the cheaper upgrade copy of Windows 8 instead of having to buy the more expensive System Builder copy.

    Again, after you purchase the upgrade copy of Windows 8, you will be able to legally do a clean install or upgrade install with it. The only requirements by the EULA is that the qualifying OS must be uninstalled.

    Microsoft allows this with the upgrade version of Windows 8 so that their customers do no have to install the qualifying OS then upgrade with the upgrade copy of Windows 8 everytime they may need to reinstall Windows 8.

    It was the same way with Windows 7, but they just made it a bit more easier for the customers with Windows 8.
    Last edited by Brink; 16 Nov 2012 at 17:42. Reason: updated
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    It's not an experiment I can conveniently perform at the moment, but if it's true it's surprising.

    This is getting away from the main point of the thread, but at one point I installed the Win8 upgrade over itself. (Clean install.) I was attempting to switch to a UEFI installation (instead of a Bios type installation on a UEFI capable PC.) The installation completed, but it wouldn't activate with the upgrade key, and the activation tool informed me that I'd need a different type of key. I contacted Microsoft support. They claimed that I'd need to re-install the qualifying OS for the upgrade to work.

    That was the same story that Microsoft gave for the Win7 upgrade, and most of us know that wasn't precisely true. There was the old double install method (same as for Vista), and at least one modest hack that worked with a single install.

    I have since successfully installed 8 over itself, but that included switching from the BIOS installation to the UEFI form.

    From my limited (one instance) experience, it appears that the double install method doesn't work with 8, except when it does. I've seen a simple hack that is supposed to allow 8 to be activated on an install to a blank drive using only an upgrade key. You say that's unnecessary. Damn, but I'm confused.

    It's further complicated because it is possible to download the upgrade using the Upgrade Assistant and then install it on a different machine.

    In my case, the PC I wanted to upgrade was running the Win8 Enterprise 90 day evaluation copy. The upgrade assistant wouldn't allow me to buy the upgrade from that machine. I purchased it on another PC, which is running Win 7 X64. I didn't download it there, though. I used the link in the purchase confirmation to download it on the Win8 machine. I saved it as an .iso, and used that to prepare a bootable USB flash drive. The surprise was that I was able to (clean) install it over the Enterprise eval. version and activate it normally. (That wasn't supposed to work.) I hope that I haven't violated the EULA with all this fiddlin' around.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative for argument's sake. I also don't want to parrot the Microsoft line. I'd like to know the facts, but I begin to fear that they're too complicated for my 20th century mind to retain.
    Last edited by Brink; 16 Nov 2012 at 17:43. Reason: removed unneeded quote
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    I understand. No worries.

    What I posted above is 100% confirmed and legal to do by the EULA.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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