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  1.    10 Dec 2015 #1
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1

    Clean install of Windows 10 on a laptop purchased from DELL


    My current state:
    I ordered a laptop from DELL about 6 months ago that came with Windows 8.1 Pro on it. Since it was ordered from DELL I do not have access to my Windows 8.1 Pro Product Key. I recently downloaded the windows 10 upgrade tool from Microsoft's website and went through all of the steps. Since this was the first time I figured it would be best to upgrade to windows 10 keeping all of my apps and files. This upgrade was 100% successful. I am also assuming that my windows product key is not in Microsoft's database as a valid Windows 10 Pro key.

    My future goal:
    Now my goal is to do a 100% clean wipe and install of windows 10 on this PC. This is the process I want to follow but I am scared to attempt it without confirmation/help from others.

    1. Burn a Windows 10 Pro 64-bit DVD using the ISO available on Microsoft's website.
    2. Boot from the DVD using UEFI
    3. Go into advanced and completely wipe every single partition. Even the recovery partitions that DELL sets up since I won't be needing them anymore. (NOTE: I will never go back to Windows 8.1).
    4. Install windows on the Unparitioned Space and let it do its thing. I am assuming it will install with the new partition types.
    5. HERE IS THE STEP I AM SCARED ABOUT: When installing I am assuming it will ask me to enter a product key which I do not have. I am hoping since Microsoft recently made the process easier that it will see that I have a Product Key injected into my motherboard by dell and automatically use it. Can anyone confirm this will be the case? If it is not I do not know how this type of installation would be possible unless I use some kind of third party tool to retrieve my windows product key.


    If the above process is only possible when you have an actual product key in your hand I would like to know any alternatives to do a 100% clean wipe and install of windows 10 pro, additionally deleting all of the partitions dell created.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    10 Dec 2015 #2
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 3,655
    10 Pro

    You can easily get your key with this Solved Showkey - Windows 10 Forums just to be safe before you start.

    It should not ask you when you install (you are right it will get it from BIOS) but if it does you can either enter your 8.1 key, or press "Skip" or "I don't have a key" and it will activate automatically anyway as your hardware ID is already stored on MS servers.

    I (and many people here) have upgraded and then clean installed and it works fine as long as you install the correct version (i.e. you install 10 Pro if you had 8.1 Pro and you don't try to install 10 Home).
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    10 Dec 2015 #3
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Maine
    Posts : 36,389
    Windows10Pro 64Bit

    @bluetea55z
    You got most of the info you need, just need to read some tutorials here on the forum, if you haven't already. The only thing I didn't see you mention was making a IMAGE BACKUP Before deleting everything from your hard drive. This is just incase something goes wrong, and with the image backup, you will be able to restore everything back the way it was. And then try again knowing you got a way back to original OS if you need too!!! This is a VERY important step. Please don't use windows backup either. You could use a free image backup program like Macrium Reflect, which does a VERY good job. Anyhow, its always good to make image backups, just for safety's sake.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  4.    10 Dec 2015 #4
    Join Date : Oct 2015
    Posts : 1,967
    Windows 10 Pro X64

    Hi,

    You can easily get your key with this Solved Showkey - Windows 10 Forums just to be safe before you start.
    Which is quite likely kept in bios anyway so a clean install and activation should work just fine.

    However, if at some point you think you may be selling this machine in a factory fresh state then a full image backup using (and we can't say this enough) Macrium Reflect Free for instance to an external disk would be a wise thing to do.

    As OldMike65 says, a backup is always a good thing to have. Better to have too many than none at all.

    Cheers,
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  5.    10 Dec 2015 #5
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    Covington, Louisiana
    Posts : 715
    Windows 10 1703 Pro 64

    When you upgraded to Windows 10 MS made a record of the activation on that PC and when you do a clean install it checks its records and activates without inputting a key.


    Jim
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    11 Dec 2015 #6
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Penn's Woods
    Posts : 1,182
    Windows 10 Home

    Further to what fdegrove said - first thing I've done will my Dell laptop of about the same age is to make the factory restore image onto a USB flash drive using Dell Backup and Recovery (actually, I also have one on a small external USB HDD, which DBR recommends). A complete disk image is good as well but the factory restore image brought out of DBR will give preserve a truly out-of-the box state (not even booted) to put on the machine if necessary.

    After I upgraded to WIn10, and installed an SSD to replace my HDD, I blew away the factory restore and diagnostics partitions as part of a Win10 clean install.

    When my son got an identical laptop a few months back, I actually did the initial boot from Macrium Reflect rescue media and captured a full disk image before allowing it to boot from the installed HDD.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    11 Dec 2015 #7
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1
    Thread Starter

    Do the DELL paritions matter when using recovery?


    Quote Originally Posted by OldMike65 View Post
    @bluetea55z
    You got most of the info you need, just need to read some tutorials here on the forum, if you haven't already. The only thing I didn't see you mention was making a IMAGE BACKUP Before deleting everything from your hard drive. This is just incase something goes wrong, and with the image backup, you will be able to restore everything back the way it was. And then try again knowing you got a way back to original OS if you need too!!! This is a VERY important step. Please don't use windows backup either. You could use a free image backup program like Macrium Reflect, which does a VERY good job. Anyhow, its always good to make image backups, just for safety's sake.
    Thank you for the answer! I am going to use Dell Backup and Recovery to create a flash drive. However, I am wondering if the recovery relies on those recovery partitions that Dell creates that I said I was planning on deleting. Will the usb recovery that I create be able to take me back to factory regardless of those partitions? I am assuming they are only there to do factory resets without any media creation.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    11 Dec 2015 #8
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1
    Thread Starter

    Thank you for all of the excellent answers guys! I am glad everyone reminded me to create a factory backup using Dell Backup and Recovery before attempting anything. However, I am wondering if the recovery media will rely on those Dell partitions that I am planning on deleting. Or are they just there to do factory resets without any media? I am am wondering what your guys thoughts were on deleting them in the first place.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    11 Dec 2015 #9
    Join Date : Oct 2015
    Posts : 1,967
    Windows 10 Pro X64

    Hi,

    Here's what I would do in that situation:

    Since I have no idea how Dell's Backup and Recover software works I'd install Macrium Reflect Free edition, make its Rescue Media using the latest WinPE and boot from that having hooked up an external drive or whatever media.

    MR will launch its backup software and I'll click on "Create an image etc..." Now verify all partitions are selected, then next to choose the destination drive and let it do its job.


    Once it has finished you can quit the PE environment and it will reboot during which you remove the rescue media and external drive or whatever and you'll be back in Windows.


    Cheers,
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  10.    11 Dec 2015 #10
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Penn's Woods
    Posts : 1,182
    Windows 10 Home

    Quote Originally Posted by bluetea55z View Post
    Thank you for all of the excellent answers guys! I am glad everyone reminded me to create a factory backup using Dell Backup and Recovery before attempting anything. However, I am wondering if the recovery media will rely on those Dell partitions that I am planning on deleting. Or are they just there to do factory resets without any media? I am am wondering what your guys thoughts were on deleting them in the first place.
    The recovery media you create with DBR will be entirely self contained and bootable, not dependent on partitions on your disk. It will recreate the partitions that it was set up with at the factory. If you have time and inclination later WITH a complete disk image made (plus a separate Macrium rescue DVD/USB) to an external drive, you can give the USB factory restore a try and see the result - then, once done seeing the result, restore your image completely (complete disk restore from Macrium will just replace all the partitions) to get back where you started from.

    P.S. - Just to be crystal clear - the Dell Backup and Recovery option I consider to be bonus, used for possible resale, or particularly if everything just goes so far south on you that you need it back to OOTB condition. By all means, I strongly recommend that, as a bottom line, you first of all rely on complete disk imaging (Macrium Reflect Free or Paid is my preference, others have their own preference) to an external drive as your primary protection.
    Last edited by Word Man; 11 Dec 2015 at 10:26. Reason: Qualified DBR as secondary to disk imaging.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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