Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Reset or Reinstall?

  1. #1

    Posts : 3
    Windows 8 Pro (x64)

    Reset or Reinstall?

    Hello all,

    I've tried to search for a solution, but while I've found much useful information, I haven't been able to paste together enough to be absolutely sure.

    My situation is this: my Windows 8.1 installation feels a bit buggy, and I want to do a reset. At first, I thought I would simply use the Push Button Reset functionality, but some things have come to light that make me question that approach.

    First off, let me detail my current setup: I'm running a legitimate Windows 8.1 Pro x64 installation. The way I installed it on this computer, is by upgrading from an old (also legitimate) retail Windows XP key I still had laying around. I downloaded the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade ISO file on another PC using the Microsoft Setup, then used that DVD to upgrade XP to 8. I later installed 8.1 via the store.

    What I failed to notice during this initial process, is that it installed using MBR instead of GPT (while I do have a UEFI motherboard). So now that I've decided I want to start fresh with this Windows installation, I figure I might as well try to get everything over on GPT as well. I also have two small unused partitions (ext4 and swap) that I made with Gparted and planned to install Ubuntu on, but I decided against it after learning how Fast Boot worked. I'd like to get that space back.

    I have a couple of questions:

    1) I have a Windows 8.1 retail ISO from a friend. However, he bought the "normal" version, while I have Pro. Can I use his ISO to Upgrade custom/clean install and activate my Pro installation (which is still an Upgrade license)?

    2) If I boot into the installation media through UEFI, can I choose Custom Installation, delete all the partitions (current W8 installation, Data ntfs partition, ext4, and swap), get the drive over to GPT, reformat, and install my Windows 8? Will it activate with the Upgrade key still?

    Regardless, I suspect it will be quite a hassle. I'm willing to stick with MBR if need be -- getting a clean install of Windows 8.1 Pro is my primary goal. I guess what I'm truly asking is: What is the best approach to take in this case?

    I hope you can advise me! If more info or clarification is needed, I'll gladly supply.

    Thanks in advance,


      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 1,720
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    There's a lot of different scenarios. Here's what I do: I have a bootable usb with the installation media that came with the Windows 8 upgrade, the corresponding product key, (there's a separate key for Media Center that you apply later), then I format and delete all partitions and clean install to a fresh HDD.
    I did the 'Reset' thing once but I can't remember what I ended up with! :/ It took forever though!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

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

    1) Set the UEFI/BIOS firmware to boot UEFI mode.
    To install in UEFI mode you will need the x64 version.

    To clean install:
    1) Clean the HD Drive, using Step one in this tutorial:
    SSD / HDD : Optimize for Windows Reinstallation - Windows 7 Help Forums
    2) UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) - Install Windows 8 with

    3)Activate retail Windows 8.1 with Windows 8 Product key.

    As you have a Retail Upgrade Product Key, you can download your own Windows 8.1x64 ISO
    information   Information
    If you need to download 32bit Windows 8/8.1, download from a 32bit PC.
    If you need to download 64bit Windows 8/8.1, download from a 64bit PC.

    Take a look at those posts for more info.

    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

  4. #4

    Posts : 3
    Windows 8 Pro (x64)

    Hey guys, thanks for your replies. But I'm still unclear: if you clean the HDD before the installation process, will Windows still recognise it as an upgrade? Won't wiping the currently activated installation throw a wrench in the works? Or are you suggesting to run diskpart from the installation media?

    Thanks for the tip on downloading the ISO; it's pulling it in right now.

    Also, another question: if I'm going to do this entire process, it will make things quite complicated for me (sheerly moving the data around with external hard disks and such will be quite the hassle). Would switching over to GPT be worth all that trouble? I mean, if I use this installation media to do a Push Button Reset, I'll basically have a new installation -- it will be MBR, but will that matter? I'm trying to weigh my options here, so I'd love to hear what you think.
    Last edited by Tarquin; 21 Dec 2013 at 06:00. Reason: Addendum
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 3
    Windows 8 Pro (x64)

    All right, so after doing a little research, I guess the conclusion is that switching over to GPT would only be useful if I had a big drive over 2TB, if I wanted SecureBoot, etc. I don't have or desperately want those things. As far as I can tell, there's very little difference in performance and/or stability, right?

    What I looked at:
    Benefits of GPT vs MBR Primary and MBR Logical Partitions ? - Windows 7 Help Forums
    Windows and GPT FAQ

    Unless I'm overlooking something or you advise differently, I guess I'll just save myself a lot of time and effort, and stick with MBR. if I boot from the installation media, it'll detect an existing Windows 8.1 installation and allow me to later activate with my upgrade key, right? Or would it just be simpler to use Push Button Reset at this point?

    And what about this: If I delete the system partition during install, but leave the data partition, will the installation still make a recovery partition?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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