Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Bloatware & Win 8 OEM PCs - is 8.1 preview a workaround?

  1. #1


    Posts : 959
    Windows 8.1, 10

    Bloatware & Win 8 OEM PCs - is 8.1 preview a workaround?


    Here's my thinking... some people have Windows 8 OEM PCs and don't like the bloatware that comes on them.

    However, the only version of the Windows 8 installer which is readily available to consumers is the Upgrade, which as I understand it doesn't work with OEM versions of Windows 8. There is a system builder version, but you have to pay for it, I'm not even sure the licence for that allows installation on PCs that came with Windows 8.

    So what would happen if...:
    • you download the Windows 8.1 Preview ISO and install it clean? (Bye-bye bloatware)
    • you then upgrade to Windows 8.1 Final when it comes out.


    According to the tutorial:
    If upgrading from Windows 8.1 Preview/Windows RT 8.1 Preview to Windows 8.1 final/Windows 8.1 RT final (when released later this year), you will "Keep personal files only", but will lose your settings and have to reinstall all of your apps.
    The key thing is that there is an upgrade going forward from 8.1 Preview to 8.1, and you'd have created a clean install when you put the preview on.

    Because it says you can't keep anything except files, it sounds like will be a thorough reinstall, not just tweaking a few files from the Preview, which is probably what people in pursuit of a clean build would want as hopefully it should clean out any bad bits in the Preview.

    You still end up running Windows 8.1 Final, which is exactly what would have happened if you'd upgraded from Windows 8 to 8.1 Final, so I don't think there are any licensing issues.

    (The only issue I can think of is that the 8.1 ISOs expire, but even then they might allow the user to get far enough to upgrade to 8.1 Final. And even if that didn't work, you'd still have till January 2014...)

    I know I'm speculating a little on how 8.1 Final will work but what have I missed? Surely there's a catch...

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by DavidY View Post
    There is a system builder version, but you have to pay for it, I'm not even sure the licence for that allows installation on PCs that came with Windows 8.
    If you bought the "System Builder", it does come with it's own license key. However, during install, it won't even ask you for the key, it will simply use the key embedded in the BIOS of the machine when you install it. That key will work with any full install version of the disk and as far as I am concerned is still legal since you are using the same version of Windows, simply reinstalled.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidY View Post
    So what would happen if...:
    • you download the Windows 8.1 Preview ISO and install it clean? (Bye-bye bloatware)
    • you then upgrade to Windows 8.1 Final when it comes out.
    There is no upgrade from the preview to the final. You end up having to reinstall. Might want to read up on that.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 959
    Windows 8.1, 10


    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    There is no upgrade from the preview to the final. You end up having to reinstall. Might want to read up on that.
    Like here you mean?
    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon LeBlanc from Microsoft
    Brandon LeBlanc

    madthoughts and khvn - you will be able to move from the Windows 8.1 Preview to the final release of Windows 8.1: you'll be able to keep your personal files, but you'll need to reinstall your apps.
    The point is that Microsoft will provide some mechanism to get from 8 to 8.1 (maybe it will turn out I chose the wrong word with "upgrade", but the "keep personal files only" sounds very like the upgrade from XP to 8), and if it is a clean install, that's exactly what people with Windows 8 OEM bloatware want to achieve, and have no obvious way to do it at present.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    Windows 8.1 Preview FAQ - Microsoft Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Microsoft
    Can I uninstall Windows 8.1 Preview?


    Uninstalling the preview isn't supported. However, it may be possible to restore your entire system to its factory condition.

    If your PC came with Windows 8 you may be able to restore it back to Windows 8 by using PC refresh. Your personal files won't be affected, but apps that did not come with the PC will need to be reinstalled and apps that you installed while using the preview may not be available through the Windows 8 Store. To find out more about using PC refresh, see Restore, refresh, or reset your PC.

    If you're running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, you can't uninstall the preview. To go back to your previous operating system, you'll need to reinstall it from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC (typically DVD media). If you don't have recovery media you might be able to create it before you update from a recovery partition on your PC using software provided by your PC manufacturer. Check the support section of your PC manufacturer's website for more info. After you install Windows 8.1 Preview you won't be able to use the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 959
    Windows 8.1, 10


    Quote Originally Posted by theog View Post
    Thanks for that theog, however I'm speculating not on how to get a Win 8 OEM machine back to Factory condition, but forward to a "Clean Windows 8.1 Final" condition without some of the factory stuff.

    Before starting anything like this, it would of course be very sensible to have made the OEM recovery disks and taken backups, in case anything did go wrong and one needed to go back.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 959
    Windows 8.1, 10


    OK it's a long time since I started this thread... but I got hold of a (refurbished) laptop which came with Windows 8 OEM, and I've finally had a chance to try this.

    The result is, I think, success! I have an activated Windows 8.1 PC without the OEM bloatware it came with, and I didn't need access to Technet ISO (or leaked version thereof) to do it.

    Because this was a Windows 8 OEM PC, I'm pretty sure that the tricks to download an Upgrade 8.1 ISO wouldn't have worked with this product key.

    Here's what I did:
    1. Start with Windows 8 OEM laptop, complete with a selection of OEM bloatware. (It was a Toshiba and to be fair, I've seen worse with regards to the amount of bloatware present.)
    2. Find the Windows 8 Product Key. This is really important as it doesn't self-activate later.
    3. Add Features using the Windows 8 Pro Pack product key to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. (This step isn't essential but I like Bitlocker and other Pro features so bought a Pro pack for the laptop.)
    4. Install Windows 8.1 Preview (note this is the Pro version) as a clean install from the ISO into the partition that held the original C: drive. I ran Windows Update but did little else on the PC.
    5. Upgrade to the final 8.1 using the Windows Store.
    6. Skipped the step during Setup to enter a product key, to see if it would read it from the BIOS - it doesn't!
    7. Once Windows 8.1 was going and connected to the web, entered the original product key (from step 2) . Even though I'd upgraded from Windows 8.1 Pro Preview, it seemed happy to activate with a core key and the edition showed as "Windows 8.1" at this point.
    8. Use the product key from my Windows 8 Pro Pack to upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro. As above, this isn't essential.
    9. Seems to work and is activated and running - I just need to check through to make sure there aren't any drivers I need to update


    The only thing is... it's a bit late given the 8.1 Preview expires in less than 2 weeks!

    I saved the download links and it seems I can still download the UK version of the 8.1 Preview ISO though, so it is still possible to give it a go.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 959
    Windows 8.1, 10


    I think that only works if you have a way to download the ISO though? People with Windows 8 OEM PCs (and no access to Technet) wouldn't have a Product Key that would download the ISO would they?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    You may find that you can use the Windows 8 Pro Pack key to download the ISO for Windows 8.1 Pro.

    Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 ISO - Download or Create

    How to download Windows 8.1 ISO with a Windows 8 key.
    How to download the Windows 8.1 ISO
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by DavidY View Post
    I think that only works if you have a way to download the ISO though? People with Windows 8 OEM PCs (and no access to Technet) wouldn't have a Product Key that would download the ISO would they?
    I do believe you are correct, OEM keys will not work for that download. There is another big downside to the OEM bloat ware that isn't obvious. If you log into your brand new OEM PC with your Live ID, all the preinstalled Apps get added to the "Your Apps" section of your Microsoft store account. At present you can't delete them either so your stuck with a bunch of junk you never wanted or used. Mine is polluted with stuff I'll never use. I'm lucky in that I have a TechNet/MSDN SUB and access to the ISO's, so I can do a clean install of 8.1. 8.1 won't use my embedded 8.0 code on my laptop so I have to enter a Windows 8.1 code to actually install it. I have TechNet keys so that's no big deal for me. Recovering your embedded code can be an issue for some though. If you use a utility that reads if from the Windows registry you can end up with the wrong code. If you've used "Add Features" for example to add Media Center, all you'll get from the registry is your MC code that can't be used to install. I had issues the one time I upgraded though the store so I'm in no hurry to go that route again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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