Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Reinstall Win 8.1

  1. #1

    Reinstall Win 8.1


    I have a friend's laptop in my office that has a bad HD (bad sectors). I'm running the long test with Seatools right now, but doubt it will be able to repair it to the point where I can clone it (Acronis and Macrium bot fail to image the drive).
    The drive is 1 TB, but he's only using around 100 GB of it, including the hidden system partitions. I ordered and received a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO that I'll try to clone to after the long test is finished.

    In the event that the old HD won't clone due to the errors, I'll have to do a new install to the SSD.

    This is a Dell Inspiron M731R-5735. All is legit, but there is no COA label on the laptop. I'm not sure if it was originally win 8 or 8.1.

    I was able to extract the product key from the drive using Nirsoft's utility.

    So, all this is to ask if I need to follow a certain procedure to install and activate this machine?

    I have a retail copy of Win 8 for one of my systems. I also have a win 8.1 .ESD and one I converted to .wim.

    Can I use any of these to install his laptop, activating with his PK?

    How should I proceed that will be the least problematic?

    Thanks for any help.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 111
    Windows 8 Pro


    The first thing to do is download and run ShowKeyPlus. This will show you your original product key and the original version of Windows. The next step is to download the new Windows 8.1 ISO. You have to download the correct ISO or Windows will not activate. Download the one ShowKeyPlus is displaying.

    The most important thing is to download the correct Win8.1 ISO. If that computer came with Windows 8.1 and you install Windows 8.1 N or Windows 8.1 Single Language, it will not activate. You can download the ISO from here.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/soft...ad/windows8ISO

    The new Windows 8.1 ISO's now accepts Win8 and Win8.1 product keys.

    During the installation, Windows will read the product key in the BIOS and automatically install the correct version (Core or Pro). The ISO contains both versions. It will not ask you for a product key, it just reads the key in the BIOS. it will activate automatically.

    ShowKeyPlus

    ShowKeyPlus - Windows 10 Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Thanks for the pointers, TrustMe. I did download ShowKey (6125 & 5835) and it did identify the windows version. It's a nice little utility.
    I ran 6125 from within windows 7 and imput the Win 8.1 product key (that I already obtained via Produkey). It showed 8.1 RTM Core OEM.

    Fortunately, I wound up not having to reinstall. I ran Seatools long test/Repair on the bad HD and it was able to "repair' the drive. I was then able to successfully clone to the new SSD. Once cloned, I installed the SSD in the laptop. I was unable to open system utilities such as Disk Management, admin cmd prompt, etc.. Windows found and repaired errors and everything seems fine. The machine is humming along with a nice performance increase one would expect from an SSD upgrade.

    Even though Seatools "repaired" the drive, I guess there must have been irreparable surface errors not severe enough to prevent a clone, yet cause some issues. Once installed in the laptop, I could not run certain system utils such as Disk Mngmt, admin cmd prompt, etc.. I first thought there may have been some sort of infection, even though the drive had been scanned with virus checkers and malwarebytes.

    However, Windows detected and repaired errors once the SSD was installed into the laptop and all was well. Speculation on my part. If you have a more accurate perspective on it, I'd be glad to hear it.

    Again, thanks for your help.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  4. #4


    Posts : 111
    Windows 8 Pro


    I'm glad to hear you got it sorted out. I have read when you want to transfer the operating system from one driver to another, it is best to image the drive instead of cloning. If there are any errors on the old drive, they get copied to the new one. Of course you would need to image all of the partitions. Personally, when ever I install a new drive, I always do a clean install.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by TrustMe View Post
    I'm glad to hear you got it sorted out. I have read when you want to transfer the operating system from one driver to another, it is best to image the drive instead of cloning. If there are any errors on the old drive, they get copied to the new one. Of course you would need to image all of the partitions. Personally, when ever I install a new drive, I always do a clean install.
    Thanks for the tip re: imaging. As far as the clean install, I agree. In this case, a friend's laptop who is very particular about its setup and loss of use. Cleaning up the system and the SSD install has made a huge difference for him, and he's happy (which means I am too).

    Again, thanks for your help.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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