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OEM reinstall on laptop hard drive


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#1 Scott Stoef

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Posted 11 December 2015 - 11:52 PM

I have a laptop computer (ASUS) that I purchased a 2 years ago that I think has been compromised.  I've done lots different product scans with and it doesn't find anything.  The computer runs brutally slow and it takes Firefox almost 20-30 seconds to load and Chrome close to minute.  The only scanner that I've used that finds things is SuperAntiSpyware and Hitman Pro.  I've tried everything to get rid of the cookies found by Hitman Pro, but they just won't go way.

 

Since I was frustrated I decided to cut my losses and just do a factory reset, but the partition has gotten corrupted.  That is really fine because I much before to DBAN the hard drive and reinstall the OEM copy of windows 8. This would also get rid of the ASUS bloatware that drives me crazy. The only problem is that I've looked all over the case and the only thing I can see on the bottom is the Windows 8 emblem, but there is no license key to be found.  Is there a way to obtain the key so I can go out to Microsoft's website and download the .iso file for reinstall?

 

The only other option I'm considering is to just blow it all away and install Linux Mint or Zorin and call it a day.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



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#2 nuna

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 07:56 AM

On OEM pre-installed systems the Windows 8/10 key is stored in the uEFI or BIOS firmware chip. When installing Windows 8 the key will be retrieved by the installer without user intervention.

 

To get the key you can use:

 

Windows 8 Download Instructions

 

 

But before installing any other Operating System you might want to check the hard disk for bad sectors, as that could have caused the recovery partition corruption and the computer slowness.



#3 dc3

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 10:35 AM

nuna is correct, the product key is embedded in the UEFI - BIOS.  But what they posted about the product key being recognized is only true if you install the same exact version that was originally installed.  But if you are going to purchase another copy of Windows 8 it will come with its own product key.  


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#4 Scott Stoef

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 12:57 PM

I could only do the bad sector check on the d:\ drive.  The C:\ where the factory fresh is stored is locked down and I don't have the option to check it. Is there a way around

that?  I went into disk manager and here are the partitions on the hard drive:

 

OS (C:) - Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition) 118.8 GB (NTFS)

Data (D:) - Healthy (Primary Partion) 157.85 GB (NTFS)

No volume name - Healthy (EFI System Partition) 300 MB

No volume name - Healthy (Recovery Partition) 600 MB

No volume name - Healthy (Recovery Partition) 451 MB

No volume name - Healthy (Recovery Partition) 20.0 GB

 

I honestly have no clue about volumes with no names.  I don't remember those originally.  Could a piece of malware lock itself down in one of these locations?  At some point my router was set to a public network (not entirely sure how though).  I did do an optimize and analyze on all of the volumes but only 5 of the 6 show up.  All of the drives that I can see are showing 0% fragmented.



#5 dc3

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 01:28 PM

If you are going to purchase a copy of Windows 8.1 and do a fresh install, why are you still messing around with this?

 

If you are referring to the System Recovery partition as the factory fresh you need to be aware that it is on a different partition.  It is not installed on the C: drive.  It is listed as containing the OS (Operating System).

 

If you try to run chkdsk /r or any other switch with it you will get the following message.

 

"CHKDSK cannot be run because it is in use by another process.  Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts?  <Y/N>".

 

You need to press the Y key and then restart your computer and the scan should run.


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#6 nuna

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 03:16 PM

Checking the hard disk is optional but IMO a good call if the computer runs brutally slow even after malware security tools got clean results.

 

To check the hard disk you can use a program like HDDScan

Once open you can click the S.M.A.R.T. button to get some information of drive reliability.

 

If you click the orb/button with the hard drive and magnifying glass on it there are more tests. To run the Surface Test select:
Surface Test → Read (which is the default option) → Add Task

(Be careful, do NOT select write test).

The task will be added to the Test List. If you double-click on the task you will see a new window with the test progress (it can take a long time to finish). On the map tab you will see if the test has detected bad sectors, and slow sectors (red, orange).

When finished you can save the report.

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#7 Scott Stoef

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 05:08 PM

If you are going to purchase a copy of Windows 8.1 and do a fresh install, why are you still messing around with this?

 

I'm not going to purchase a copy of Windows 8.1.  I'm planning on reinstalling the OEM copy of Windows 8 that came on the computer after I wipe the drive.  I'm still muddling my way through the process since I've never done this on a laptop before.  Asus hasn't made it very easy to get into the bios to tell the system to it to boot from a USB device. So a lot of this is learning as I go.



#8 nuna

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 05:23 PM

For some Asus models you can bring up boot menu pressing ESC or F8 key, and  DEL key to get into the bios. Other models have a button on one side.

If you specify the laptop model we can help you with that.



#9 Scott Stoef

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 06:21 PM

Hi Nuna!

 

Thank you so much for your willingness to help me out.  I was able to finally get into the bios on my Asus X501A-RH31,  but when I go to the boot priority there is only one option.  There is an option to add a boot drive, but I'm not sure how to setup a USB option. Here is the information it is requesting: 

 

Add boot option - Specify name for new boot option. Support A to Z characters for new boot option only.

Select Filesystem - only option is 'PCI(1F|2)\DevicePath(Type 3, SubType12)HD(Part1,Sigd822ec6c-98c5-42a8-8de1-d3eexxxxc4a2)

Path for boot option - Enter the path to boot option in the format fsx;\path\filename.efi

 

Laptop is locked down tight for a guy with minimal experience!



#10 Scott Stoef

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 07:13 PM

Well it took a while but I finally got DBAN installed on a bootable USB drive. I'm guessing nothing is going to go easy on this project and I have 3 computers to do! :angry:  



#11 nuna

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Posted 12 December 2015 - 07:24 PM

Some quick links to get started:

How to enter the BIOS configuration of my Notebook (hold F2 then press power button)

How to enter the BIOS configuration of Windows 8

How to restore the system to factory default settings

 

Using the Recovery Partition:

  1. Press [F9] during bootup.
  2. Press [Enter] to select Windows Setup [EMS Enabled].
  3. Follow on-screen instructions.

 

I consider this might be of some use to you but discard the information you are not interested in.

 

If DBAN cannot boot from UEFI you can try to disable secure boot and enable the Laucnh CSM option. If you decide to install Windows 8 later you can enable them again as it is UEFI-aware.

 

Before using DBAN make sure you have all you'll need later (backup, installation media, another computer to download things and search for information...)


Edited by nuna, 12 December 2015 - 07:43 PM.


#12 dc3

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 09:52 AM

 

If you are going to purchase a copy of Windows 8.1 and do a fresh install, why are you still messing around with this?

 

I'm not going to purchase a copy of Windows 8.1.  I'm planning on reinstalling the OEM copy of Windows 8 that came on the computer after I wipe the drive.  I'm still muddling my way through the process since I've never done this on a laptop before.  Asus hasn't made it very easy to get into the bios to tell the system to it to boot from a USB device. So a lot of this is learning as I go.

 

I can only assume you intend to use the System Recovery Partition to do the installation.  If this is the case you don't need to wipe the hdd.  When you use the recovery partition it will format the partition which the operating system is installed on and then reinstall it.  If you use a program which overwrites the hdd you run the risk of overwriting the recovery partition.  If you do that you are going to have to contact the manufacturer of this computer and purchase a copy of the installation disc.


Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#13 Scott Stoef

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 12:52 PM

No, the system recovery partition is corrupted so I really don't have a choice anymore.  Personally I would rather blow it all away and install Mint or Zorin instead of sending it back to Asus to get Windows 8 reinstalled with all of their bloatware.
 



#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 02:22 PM

As nuna previously posted, you can create a bootable USB flash drive or disk using the Creation Tool here. This would give you an install without any additional software. You would need to provide some drivers after install though.






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