Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Clean 8.1 install on a laptop with pre-installed 8?

  1. #1


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8

    Clean 8.1 install on a laptop with pre-installed 8?


    Hello everyone,
    Today I received a new Acer laptop which came with Windows 8 but it has a bunch of programs which I will never use and I just want to restart with a clean slate.

    From here (Option 1) I downloaded and put an ISO of 64-bit Windows 8.1 on a USB drive but I'm not sure about how to go forward. The Windows 8 key of the Acer is in the BIOS right so with 8.1 being a free upgrade will that key automatically activate 8.1 for me?

    I was also reading about editing the ei.cfg and unless I'm understanding it wrong this allows you to install 8.1 without a product key and I read somewhere else that you can use your Windows 8 key to activate 8.1 after it has been installed. Is any of this correct?

    Apologies for the silly questions, I'm not good at setting up computers and my son usually does everything but he's not around at the moment.

    Thank you for reading.
    Advice will be appreciated.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 879
    Windows 10


    How to download and clean install Windows 8.1 if you have an OEM computer with UEFI firmware (BIOS) embedded Windows 8/8.1 product key. -> link

    How to create a bootable USB flash drive. -> link
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    You won't be able to clean install Windows 8.1 using the embedded key in your bios.

    Here is what you need to do
    Find a script called ShowKey.vbs to get a copy of your existing embedded BIOS key. You can find from this forum.
    Google for Windows 8.1 generic key and install using that key

    Once installed, that generic key will not activate
    So, from an admin level command line, run slmgr.vbs -ipk {your_original_key} : this is the key you obtained from showkey.vbs.

    You system will need to reboot and should activate just fine. I've done this trick many times at work, no problems at all.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 879
    Windows 10


    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    You won't be able to clean install Windows 8.1 using the embedded key in your bios.
    You no longer need to use a generic key. This new Windows 8.1 installation media also accepts Windows 8 product key (both retail and OEM). The UEFI firmware (BIOS) embedded Windows 8 product key is automatically detected.

    Create installation media for Windows 8.1 - Windows Help
    Last edited by genet; 17 Dec 2014 at 19:00.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    India
    Posts : 1,536
    Win 8.1 Update x64


    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    You won't be able to clean install Windows 8.1 using the embedded key in your bios.

    Here is what you need to do
    Find a script called ShowKey.vbs to get a copy of your existing embedded BIOS key. You can find from this forum.
    Google for Windows 8.1 generic key and install using that key

    Once installed, that generic key will not activate
    So, from an admin level command line, run slmgr.vbs -ipk {your_original_key} : this is the key you obtained from showkey.vbs.

    You system will need to reboot and should activate just fine. I've done this trick many times at work, no problems at all.
    This is not needed now it seems.
    The new Option 1 OP has referred, consists of new Windows installation media creation tool from MS, that will install Windows 8.1 Update in an OEM/Retail machine with Windows 8/8.1 directly. In OEM system, Windows 8.1 Update would be automatically activated with BIOS Windows 8/8.1 activation key.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8


    Genet, thank you for your help. When I posted this message I had already made my bootable USB and I guess that all I needed to do was change the boot order and plug it in.

    Now I have Windows 8.1 running on the laptop.

    The only thing is that I want to change the boot order again but I can't seem to get back into the BIOS with the old key, does Windows change the key location?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 879
    Windows 10


    Quote Originally Posted by emgray View Post
    The only thing is that I want to change the boot order again but I can't seem to get back into the BIOS with the old key
    UEFI Firmware Settings - Boot to from inside Windows 8
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8


    Much obliged genet.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


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


    Quote Originally Posted by emgray View Post
    Genet, thank you for your help. When I posted this message I had already made my bootable USB and I guess that all I needed to do was change the boot order and plug it in.

    Now I have Windows 8.1 running on the laptop.

    The only thing is that I want to change the boot order again but I can't seem to get back into the BIOS with the old key, does Windows change the key location?
    Some members have reported issues trying to get into the BIOS when Windows 8's Fast Startup is enabled. When enables the PC goes into a hybrid sleep mode. What genet posted should get you in. The BIOS access key hasn't changed it just doesn't work when the PC is coming out of fast startup's sleep/hibernate mode. If you turn fast startup off it should work like it did before. It's up to you what you want to do. I turn it off as I have an SSD anyway and my boot time is about 10 seconds. Just a FYI post,
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    India
    Posts : 1,536
    Win 8.1 Update x64


    Quote Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
    I turn it off as I have an SSD anyway and my boot time is about 10 seconds.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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