HELP needed for clean install of Win 8.1 on OEM computer

Discussion in 'Windows 8' started by Surfinette, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. Surfinette

    Surfinette MDL Novice

    May 29, 2012
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    Hi,
    I'm pretty familiar with Win7, but have absolutely no experience so far of Win 8 or 8.1

    Today I have purchased an ACER laptop with Win 8.1. And of course, the laptop is full of bloatware which I want to get rid off, so I'd like to do a fresh install of Win 8.1. I also want to split the C: drive into 2 separate partitions... But I don't want to lose the ACER restore partitions.

    I've already read a lot of stickies from this forum and some tutorials about the Win 8.1 installation, but I'm still confused about the partitionning and some of the instructions in the tutorials.

    I have a CORE version of Windows 8.1, and I intend to use Windows Installation Media Creation Tool to create my installation USB key.

    From the disk management tool in windows, I see that my HDD has 4 partitions:
    - 1 Restore partition 600Mo
    - 1 EFI partition 300Mo
    - 1 Restore partion 16.21 Mo
    - 1 NTFS (C: ) partition 448255 Go

    Questions:

    1) Any idea why I have 2 Restore partitions? I assume the 16.21 Go partition is the main restore partition from Acer, but what about the 600 Mo partition?

    2) In all Win 8.1 install tutorials that I have found, at the step "Where do you want to install Windows?", the tutorial says that all partitions should be erased. However, I don't want to erase the Restore partitions from ACER (just in case, I want to factory reset my computer). Can I just erase the C: partition, leave the two restore partitions intact, and install Win 8.1 from there ? Do I also need to erase the EFI partition as well (I assume it will be automatically rebuilt during the install process, right ?)?

    3) About the EFI installation.... Do I need to do anything specific to reinstall Win 8.1 in EFI mode (this whole EFI is a new concept to me)? Will the USB drive created with Windows Installation Media Creation Tool be recognised by the computer when launching the install process in EFI mode?

    4) I see in this forum that there are a lot of discussion about Windows Activation, notably after a fresh install of Win 8.x. My ACER laptop, that I just took out of the box, is NOT activated yet. What do you recommand? Should I activate it before doing my fresh install of Win 8.1 or after? I would assume, reinstall first / activate after... but maybe it doesn't matter because the computer is OEM ....

    5) Any tips, advice, etc... would be great. I've done several clean install of Win 7 on OEM laptops, but that was some times ago, and I find the whole process with 8.1 and EFI quite intimidating :eek:

    Many thanks in advance
     
  2. coleoptere2007

    coleoptere2007 MDL Guru

    Apr 8, 2008
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    Read this first :cool:
     
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  3. genet

    genet MDL Novice

    Mar 10, 2013
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    If you perform a clean installation of Windows 8.1, you can no longer use the ACER recovery partition.
     
  4. Surfinette

    Surfinette MDL Novice

    May 29, 2012
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    Thank you all

    I had read this one ;) but I still don't get why my PC is NOT activated out of the box and should I do it now before reinstalling win 8.1 or do it after

    I have created the ACER recovery key as per ACER's instruction on the laptop. Will I still be able to factory restore afterward with this ACER USB key, if I need to?

    In any case, I now believe I have to decide for myself whether I want to stick with ACER's HDD structure or start from fresh...
     
  5. coleoptere2007

    coleoptere2007 MDL Guru

    Apr 8, 2008
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    If it's an OEM laptop your key is embedded in bios in MSDM table, so you don't have to worry about :)
     
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  6. ZaForD

    ZaForD MDL Expert

    Jan 26, 2008
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    Most of the tut's writers see no point in keeping the 'Bloated' restore installation, which is why they wipe it.
    There are two options I've used to keep the restore partition, they KILL the automatic restore process. But leave the partition and the files in intact, meaning you'll have to use ImageX or DISM to restore your laptop. o_O

    If this is the tool I think it is (i.e. it downloads the ISO and asks you if you want a DVD or USB) it should make your USB drive UEFI bootable. Its the MS tool that converts your ISO into a USB that doesn't work with UEFI. (It makes an NTFS partition instead of the FAT32 that UEFI uses)

    Once you have your USB drive, start the laptop and hit the key that shows the 'Boot Menu' if you see your USB drive and it says something about UEFI in the name or description. Your go to go.

    But remember grab all the drivers from ACER's website before you start. Its a pain trying to download them with no network connection. :eek:

    In theory it doesn't matter, but I always make sure it activates before I start.
    I don't want to spend hours/days trying to fix something that was broken before I started. :p

    As long as the device your doing the installation from (i.e. DVD, USB drive, USB HDD, etc.. ) is FAT32 formatted the UEFI should find it, (USB 3.0 ports can be a pain) from then on the installation is the same as before. :biggrin:

    By starting again from scratch you give yourself more options, and recover the HDD space taken up by the recovery files.
    But as I said above if your willing to use ImageX or DISM you could backup the recovery .WIM to a DVD in case you ever need it. :g:

    The chances are it won't, as it may look for ACER files that are storied on the C:\
    But you could try it when your finished, to know for sure. (see below)

    Good Luck. :biggrin:

    Not totally true, sometimes by installing the OEM's unities/tools they will reinstall the files needed to trigger the recovery process. I've seen this happen an a HP laptop :confused:
     
  7. Surfinette

    Surfinette MDL Novice

    May 29, 2012
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    Thanks again for all the tips and help.

    FYI, the ACER manual of my laptop explicitely indicates that I can use the ACER RECOVERY USB DRIVE to restore to factory state in case of a full wipe of the HDD or a HDD replacement... so I guess I'm safe here (I'll make 2 USB recovery drives just in case).

    I'm now downloading the ACER drivers from their website, then will make the Win 8.1 install USB drive from the MS website...

    Fingers crossed! :rolleyes: long night/weekend ahead! :rolleyes:
     
  8. Surfinette

    Surfinette MDL Novice

    May 29, 2012
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    I just want to thank you all for your help.
    It all went well, I now have a fresh and clean install of win8.1. :biggrin:
    Now I have to get use to some of the annoying features of win8.1 vs win7 (I only realise now how great the start menu is... will need to install a replacement to the win8 tile stuff... ;))

    Just a few remarks/Qs:

    (1) During the install process of win8.1, I had no access to the touch pad of the laptop... I had to use a USB mouse to run the install... I've never encountered this issue with any other laptop previously. That's pretty annoying... it means you always need to have a traditional mouse by your side just in case you have a major windows crash or just want to reinstall...

    (2) After the fresh win8.1 install, I lost the ability to go into repair mode by hitting ALT+F10 during reboot (this was possible before my fresh install of win8.1)... The ALT+F10 did not work either after restoring back to factory configuration (see point 3). Any idea how I could retore the ALT+F10 functionnality? Not a big issue though because I can still go back in repair mode by booting on the win8.1 USB key.

    (3) FYI: I did a test and was able to restore the computer to ACER factory configuration using the USB drive that I had initially made with ACER restore tool. However, the factory restore could not be initiated from windows (or from the ACER recovery tool program in windows), because I was then getting an error message stating that some files were missing. However, I was able to factory restore by booting direcly on the ACER factory USB key. Interestingly, the initial partitions were not resized to iniatial factory size : the 600Mo restore partition remained at 300Mo (as set by win 8.1 during the fresh install (I had then deleted the initial 600Mo restore partition) and the system (C: ) partition remained at 120 Go (as defined by me during the fresh install of win8.1) and my newly created data (D: ) partition was not erased... All in all, that's fine with me :)