Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Clean Install of Windows 8 without install disc?

  1. #11


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Let's discover if you have a recovery partition that contains a copy of your install wim - although it may not have usable files there. First download 7-zip 9.30 alpha from http://dl.7-zip.org/7z930-x64.msi (although this is alpha software , it seems stable enough to use for this - you may find differently - if that is the case try http://dl.7-zip.org/7z925-x64.msi)

    Install 7-zip. 7-zip file manager is the easiest way to view and extract files from WIM image files, without mounting the image - it also works with ISO and other archives and images.

    Open Disk Management (type +x then k) then take a screenshot (type +prt sc).

    If you can see a drive called Recovery, it is probably invisible to Windows Explorer, because it has no drive letter - Right click the drive and see if you can Change Drive Letter and Paths... - if you can give it the drive letter B, because you will not have a drive with that letter already.

    If you cannot Change the drive letter, then repost the screenshot image here, using the insert image button in the toolbar for the Eightforums Quick Reply edit window.

    If you do have a B: drive, you can then explore the drive. Right click the drive and select Explore. If there is a folder called Sources, look inside for a file called install.wim of about 3GB in size.

    If no Sources folder is there, search B: for *.wim in the search bar at the top right of the Explorer window. Take a screenshot as before and post here with both screenshots.

    If you have an install.wim, you can probably reinstall cleanly, so copy the file to your Downloads folder, it will take a while, but you may need your recovery folder safely hidden away again afterwards. Select your B drive then Change drive Letters and Paths... again and select Remove - the warning tells you what you already have found out - so select Yes, and the drive becomes hidden again.

    Look forward to your news.
    Last edited by fafhrd; 22 Jan 2013 at 12:45.

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  2. #12


    Posts : 57
    Windows 8


    Thanks, fafhrd, I will try that.

    For those suggesting that I buy a Windows 8 upgrade disc--yes the price is pretty good right now, so I may try that. However, I have already paid for a windows 8 license as part of buying the laptop. In fact, I paid $50 extra in configuring the laptop to get the pro version of win 8. (I now see that as a mistake, since one can now buy the Win 8 pro upgrade for $40.) So I really don't think I should have to buy it twice, and would prefer not to if possible. I don't even know if I will like Win 8 (this laptop is not a tablet, no touch screen, etc.), and therefore want to set it up dual-boot with win7, or perhaps even triple boot with xp and 7. So I don't really like the idea of having to buy Win8 again. Yet, to get the best trial of Win8, I think a clean install would be best, without all the Lenovo and Norton and other crapware, etc.

    Back to your suggestion, fafhrd. I am not at that computer right now. IT does have three recovery partitions. I think the largest (about 9-10GB) is the Lenovo recovery partition. The smallest is I think the System Reserved partition for the recovery features built into Windows, and I am not sure what the third one is (anyone know?) I doubt that in disk management that one can assign a drive letter to a recovery partition. However, I have backed up all the partitions with Acronis, so may try try to retrieve those files from the backup. I also may do the procedure to create the Lenovo recovery on a thumb drive. Of course that could not be used for a clean installs, but I could likely retrieve the install.wim file from it.

    Are you saying that with that install.wim file by itself, separated from other Lenovo recovery files, that one could do a clean install of Win8 from that?
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  3. #13


    Posts : 2,156
    Win7 Ult on DIY; Win8 Pro on MBP/Parallels; Win7 Ult on MBP/Boot Camp; Win7 Ult/Win8 Pro on HP


    Quote Originally Posted by maiki View Post
    Thank you in advance.
    In brief, have you identified a direction you want to go if it involves spending some money?
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  4. #14


    Posts : 57
    Windows 8


    FAFHRD-I tried in Disk Management. Although I could see the recovery partitions there, I did not see any way to access data in them, no way to assign a drive letter, etc.I'll try to access via Acronis later.However, can you tell me--if I am able to copy the install.wim file to my hard drive from the recovery partition, and if I can open the install.win file with 7-Zip---what files do I look to extract from the install.wim file?Then, what do I do with them?Thank you.Znod, I don't understand your question?
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  5. #15


    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64


    I tried in Disk Management. Although I could see the recovery partitions there, I did not see any way to access data in them, no way to assign a drive letter, etc.
    The recovery partition is a special EISA (Extended Industry Standard Architecture) partition. You cannot use Disk Management Tool to alter the Partition. You have to open the elevated command prompt and run diskpart, once in diskpart, type: help and it will list all the options for you to work with EISA partition.

    Hope this helps
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  6. #16


    Posts : 57
    Windows 8


    topgundcp-- I was replying to a post from fafhrd. If you didn't read that one, you might want to see what he was suggesting re the recovery partition. It didn't have to do with altering it, but with extracting a file from it. Would diskpart do that? You are right though, that one cannot make it visible with Disk Management. (It appears there, but one cannot mount it as a drive or something. I would still like to find out what he was suggesting I do if I am able to extract that file from it (install.wim) in some way.
    Quote Originally Posted by topgundcp View Post
    I tried in Disk Management. Although I could see the recovery partitions there, I did not see any way to access data in them, no way to assign a drive letter, etc.
    The recovery partition is a special EISA (Extended Industry Standard Architecture) partition. You cannot use Disk Management Tool to alter the Partition. You have to open the elevated command prompt and run diskpart, once in diskpart, type: help and it will list all the options for you to work with EISA partition.Hope this helps
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  7. #17


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Hi Maiki, OK, you cannot get any further with the Windows disk manager, but you do see the 9-10 GB recovery partition. A screenshot would be informative, and so would the output from Diskpart.

    Open an elevated command prompt (+x then a) and type diskpart. After the DISKPART prompt appears type

    list disk

    I guess your main disk is going to be disk 0 (check on Disk Management console), so select it

    sel disk 0

    now list the partitions on the selected disk

    list part

    Check the size of your recovery volume and select the corresponding partition (in my case partition 3)

    sel part 3

    and reveal the details of the partition

    detail part

    If you could make a screenshot and post it as I have, it would be interesting, and we can proceed

    Click image for larger version



    If the partition type is 27

    set id=07 override

    this removes the basic "hidden-ness"

    (If the type is something else, note it down, let us know what it is, but do not change it.)

    The simplest thing to try at this point is to assign a drive letter, say b, since you probably do not have a second floppy drive!

    assign letter=b

    Partition types: List of partition identifiers for PCs is a useful partition type resource.

    you can remove the drive letter with

    remove letter=b

    and the type change with

    set id=27 override

    Exit exits diskpart and returns you to the command prompt.

    Wim tomorrow!
    Last edited by fafhrd; 30 Jan 2013 at 03:03.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #18


    Posts : 2,156
    Win7 Ult on DIY; Win8 Pro on MBP/Parallels; Win7 Ult on MBP/Boot Camp; Win7 Ult/Win8 Pro on HP


    Quote Originally Posted by maiki View Post
    Thank you.Znod, I don't understand your question?
    You are very welcome. I am just intimating that you are spending a fair amount of time trying to not spend a few $. You could get down to business by spending a few $ before the $39.99 option goes away. And, for an extra $14.99, you can order, during the upgrade process, a two disc set that is equivalent to the retail pro upgrade set--one 32-bit DVD and one 64-bit DVD. Time is almost up. I think it is not functional to stand on the principle that you shouldn't have to pay for Pro twice under the circumstances. Who do you hurt standing on that principle? Mostly you.
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  9. #19


    Posts : 57
    Windows 8


    Thanks for the info, fafhrd. I am still not clear, however, if I find the install.wim file (on the recovery partition), and open it with 7-zip, what am I supposed to look for in it, and what do I do with what is found?Also, I did the recoverydrive thing to create a recovery USB flash drive. When asked if I wanted to include the manufacturer recovery partition, I chose yes. Therefore, shouldn't the whole recovery partition be on my USB flash drive, which is readable. I did look for install.wim on it, no such file.
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  10. #20


    Posts : 57
    Windows 8


    Also, I have another idea how perhaps one could do a clean install without an install disc, although I don't know if it would work, and wonder if anyone has tried this. In the pre-boot recovery options of Win 8 (booting into the System Reserved partition), there is an option called Reset Windows. In another forum someone speculated whether that might do a clean install. Then they tried it, said it did not, it did the same thing as the manufacturer recovery media, brought the computer back to the state it came from the factory, bloatware and all. It occurs to me though--what if one deleted the manufacturer recovery partition, and then did this Reset Windows thing. The system would not have the manufacturer recovery, so could not set it back to factory. Might it then do a clean install? Anyone tried that?
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