I need to replace the HDD.
The version of Windows 8 is actually irrelevant if your reason is only replacing the HDD. Here's how:
>Get yourself a external HDD or a large USB flash drive;
>Use a backup utility to create a partition image of your present OS (Operating System) and save it to your external drive.
>Replace your old HDD; I suggest getting one that is the same size or larger, not smaller or you may have restore problems.
>Now restore the image you have saved on your external drive to your new HDD. Done.
this unit's HDD is shot
Ok, you didn't say this initially. When you say "shot", what causes you to decide this? Have you run a disk check utility on it, like Seatools?
If it is, I suggest that you call Microsoft on their 800 number; since you are a registered owner, they may help you out. They actually are pushing the upgrade to Windows 10 real hard, even the support techs will give you a PR pitch if you mention it (I just called them for tier2 level support for a problem) so be a "helpless customer" and tell them you really want to upgrade to W10 and need W8 to do it, "please, please help" blah blah. I have a feeling they will allow you a download, or you can purchase a CD for a reasonable amount, etc. At lease it's worth a shot and won't cost anything.
Edited by ranchhand_, 27 July 2015 - 08:53 AM.