Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Reinstalling windows 8.1 quickest way

  1. #1


    Posts : 2
    Windows 8.1

    Reinstalling windows 8.1 quickest way


    Sorry if this has been asked before.

    Recently I have upgraded my OS from windows 7 with an upgrade license to windows 8 pro. Then I upgraded to windows 8.1.

    It was a lot of work. Partly because of my own fault. I assumed I could do a clean install onto an empty SSD with the window 8 pro CD. Turns out you can only upgrade to windows 8 from a working windows 7 environment. Why doesn't it say that on the box?

    Anyway my question is: if I want to do a clean reinstall of windows 8.1 in the future, for whatever reason, what would be the best way to go about it?
    I have a working Microsoft account. My windows 8.1 product key is currently attached to my Microsoft account right?
    Could I use the window 8 pro CD to reinstall windows 8 pro? Then login to my Microsoft account and go from there?

    Or do I first need to reinstall windows 7 and then upgrade to windows 8 pro like I did now? I really don't want to use this last method because installing windows 7 and 8 back to back is a hassle and the install/upgrade process is really clunky.

    Other question:
    Why does Microsoft use multiple files for updates? Why not use one big file for all crucial updates? It is really annoying to use windows update, then install 10 files, then restart your pc only to find out you have to download 15 more files and install those too. Repeat that process 5 more times and only then you have a fully updated windows 7.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 328
    Windows 8.1 (x64)


    If reinstalling on the same PC, then you're better off cloning your OS. Various free tools exist to do that, and it is much faster than a clean install.
    Once Windows 8 is installed with all its updates you can back it up on a different partition/disk.

    Here are tutorials for Macrium Reflect :
    Imaging with free Macrium - Windows 7 Help Forums
    Macrium Reflect Tutorials

    And here is the link to the free version : Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Best thing to do would be to make an image of the system immediately after a fresh install and all the updates have been installed. Then you just apply the image and you're back to that specific state.

    As for why do they issue individual updates. Primarily because people like you and me are not Microsoft's primary customers, Fortune 500 companies are. Those companies want to be able to test each and every update that gets pushed out by Microsoft before pushing it out to their systems. It's rare, but every so often this or that update will cause an issue with some obscure bit of legacy software someone probably wrote 20 years ago for some specific function, but has been since adopted as an official general-purpose tool. In cases like that the company may want to skip a particular update and they can't do that if they're all rolled into one big update. What is convenient for individuals like you and me is often highly inconvenient when you're dealing with thousands of PCs distributed between multiple sites across the globe.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 879
    Windows 10


    Quote Originally Posted by Merida View Post
    Anyway my question is: if I want to do a clean reinstall of windows 8.1 in the future, for whatever reason, what would be the best way to go about it?
    Reset Win 8.1 Update 1 > Win 8 Upgrade Product Key & ISO
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


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


    It was a lot of work. Partly because of my own fault. I assumed I could do a clean install onto an empty SSD with the window 8 pro CD. Turns out you can only upgrade to windows 8 from a working windows 7 environment. Why doesn't it say that on the box?
    I am not sure if it's true because myself I have fresh installed Windows 8.1 from an upgrade key and activated successfully.

    I have a working Microsoft account. My windows 8.1 product key is currently attached to my Microsoft account right?
    Could I use the window 8 pro CD to reinstall windows 8 pro? Then login to my Microsoft account and go from there?
    No, your key does not attach to any single MS Account. You can use another MS Account and it still work. In addition, you don't even have to install Windows 8/8.1 using MS Account, you can select to use local account like in Windows 7.

    So the answer is yes, you can fresh install Windows 8.1 and use the upgrade key to activate it.

    It has never been a good idea to upgrade from one version of Windows to another version and along the line, you might encounter some problem and could never resolve due to the old registry database filled with invalid entries, incompatitble third party softwares, incompatitble drivers etc...

    Having said that. Since you've already had a working Windows 8.1, You should make a backup image as suggested above and if you can get a copy of Windows 8.1 installation media then you can try to fresh install it. Just make sure you have the Product ID saved and the worst case, you can call MS to activate it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 2
    Windows 8.1


    Thank you all for the helpful replies. I understand now.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Reinstalling windows 8.1 quickest way
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