1. chocolateyum's Avatar
    I bought a used laptop. I keep coming up with an error when trying to factory reset.

    I can get a bootable usb drive with windows 8.1 but not windows 8.

    If I upgrade my used preinstalled win 8 laptop to windows 8.1, can I do a clean install just by inserting the 8.1 usb drive into the laptop? From my understanding the product key is embedded into the drive but I don' know if that "embedded" version keeps the win8 product key or the 8.1 key.

    Thanks.
    01-13-2014 08:19 PM
  2. linzi7319's Avatar
    Product key will not change though you upgrade it from win8 to 8.1
    01-13-2014 09:08 PM
  3. a5cent's Avatar
    I keep coming up with an error when trying to factory reset.
    It usually helps to at least provide the exact error message you are encountering.

    I suspect you are encountering a Secure Boot message, telling you that W8.1 isn't the OS that the firmware expects to boot. If so, you must temporarily disable Secure Boot in the UEFI BIOS. Just be 100% certain that the W8.1 distribution you are installing (from your bootable USB stick) is original software that hasn't been tampered with! You can re-enable Secure Boot after installing W8.1.

    From my understanding the product key is embedded into the drive but I don' know if that "embedded" version keeps the win8 product key or the 8.1 key.
    No. The W8 product key is embedded in the UEFI BIOS (a.k.a the firmware). If the device was sold with a W8.0 OEM license, then the BIOS embeds a W8.0 product key. That won't change no matter what you install.

    If I upgrade my used preinstalled win 8 laptop to windows 8.1, can I do a clean install just by inserting the 8.1 usb drive into the laptop?
    No. At least not just by inserting installation media. It is possible however, although it is not recommended. The process has become so ridiculously convoluted that it will deter most. It isn't completely without risks either.

    If you are going to go off the trodden trail, at the very least recover your embedded OEM Product Key before doing anything else (with this), as a clean install will make it unrecoverable. You will require that key at some point, and if it has become unrecoverable, you will have lost that license. Store it somewhere safe.

    I can't go into all the details, but note the following:


    • A Windows product key is actually required twice. Once to confirm that you may install Windows (during installation), and once to activate Windows (after installation). How and when these two tests are made depends on the channel type you are installing (retail, OEM, or enterprise).
    • If you want Windows to reuse your BIOS embedded product key, you must install the OEM channel version of Windows.
    • The retail version of Windows doesn't accept OEM product keys and visa versa.
    • After installation, Windows will gladly activate W8.1 using a W8.0 product key.
    • During installation, Windows setup will refuse to install W8.1 using a W8.0 product key.
    01-13-2014 10:43 PM
  4. chocolateyum's Avatar
    Wow that sucks. Makes me wonder if Apple is better - and I've only ever used windows. I like Win 8 interface and touch way more though.

    I've tried Umbuntu before too which is actually very nice. But not compatible with barely any devices so couldn't work for me.

    Thanks for your help.
    01-14-2014 08:28 PM

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