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Clean installation of Windows 8.1 question


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#1 sportsfan1

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 01:09 PM

Hi all,

Ive followed the instructions given to me by Dell Tech support and gone to the link listed under my Service Tag where there is the option to download my Windows 8.1 ISO image along with instructions which Ive printed off.

I will be installing from a USB flash drive and the instructions to create the bootable USB installation media are straight forward and easy to follow using Diskpart. Then simply Mount the image and copy all files over onto the USB flash drive.

Im a little confused though when reading the instructions under How to Reinstall Windows 8.1. there are two options PCs with BIOS boot mode and PCs with UEFI boot mode. I purchased my Inspiron laptop late 2015 so it has UEFI boot mode with Secure Boot. Under the UEFI boot instructions it talks about disabling Secure Boot for USB installation media and set Boot order to Internal ODD device. I don't understand..a USB flash drive isnt an Internal ODD device as far as im aware.

So without doing anything to System Setup Ive tried inserting a USB flash drive and tapping F12. It says UEFI boot mode and Secure Boot is enabled and the flash drive is listed second one down underneath my Toshiba hard disc. It seems to me that I have to follow the instructions for PCs with BIOS boot mode even though my system is UEFI boot mode!! Am I missing something here?

 



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 02:42 PM

If you want to do a clean install with the Windows iso file the Dell method is over-complicated. Download Rufus. Attach your flash drive. Run the program and in the first box make sure you flash drive is detected. Select GPT partition scheme for UEFI in the dropdown box. Leave all boxes as checked. If there is a dropdown box listing FreeDos change it to iso image. Click the small icon and browse to the iso image you downloaded of Windows 8.1. Press Start. Backup any data on the flash drive as it will be deleted.

 

Attach the flash drive. Boot and at the same time tap F12. Select the USB flash drive as the boot device. 

 

If there are partitions currently on the disk and you do not need any data off the drive do the following.

 

When you get to the Window that asks for language press Shift + F10. This will open a command prompt. Type the following commands.

 

diskpart      Will open the diskpart command window

list disk 

select disk X       Where X is the number associated with the disk you are going to install Windows to. This should be disk 0 if you have one disk.

clean                   This will delete all partitions on the disk and set up the disk for a clean install. Make sure you are doing this to the correct disk.

convert GPT       This initializes the disk for booting on a UEFI computer

exit                      Exits out of diskpart

exit                      Exits out of command prompt

 

continue with the install. 

 

Note: you can also download a Windows DVD or USB using the Media Creation Tool on a Windows 7 or later computer although it will not have Dell specific drivers. Be sure to select your version, Home or Pro.

 

Before doing the clean install I would recommend you obtain your key using Produkey. Any computer pre-installed with Windows 8 or 8.1 has the key embedded in firmware. You can confirm the key obtained by Produkey by using Firmware Tables View and looking under the MSDM table.

 

Note: If you have a blank DVD disk you can right click the iso file and select Burn Disk Image on any Windows 7 or later computer.

 

 



#3 kaljukass

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 03:57 PM

Not in any way do not realize why is needed such a mess. Use Windows Media 8.1 greating Tool. 

If the USB, DVD, or whatever is ready, start your DELL, hold or hit F12, in BIOS menu select USB or DVD, then Enter and install.
All goes automatically and guidance are at all times visible.


#4 sportsfan1

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 04:10 PM

Thanks for your help guys but Ive created the USB bootable flash drive using their method without any problems. My point is I haven't gone into the F2 system settings at all to Disable Secure Boot. To see if it works..I just restarted my PC tapped F12 and the menu comes up as UEFI boot Mode with Secure Boot Enabled with my hard drive listed first and directly underneath it my USB flash drive is listed for selection. Does that mean that it isn't necessary to Disable Secure Boot on all systems in order for a USB drive to be recognised because on mine I haven't disabled it.
Can I just select the USB flash drive in the list with Secure Boot Enabled and continue with the Windows 8.1 clean installation or am I likely to have problems because the Secure Boot is enabled?



#5 JohnC_21

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 04:22 PM

There should be no reason to disable SecureBoot as the Windows 8 install media has the certificate to boot with SecureBoot enabled. If you tap F12 at boot and select your flash drive it should boot without a problem. Windows 8 is designed to be installed with SecureBoot enabled. 

 

Here is a step by step guide should you need it.

 

https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-clean-install-windows-8-or-8-1-2626254

 

In order to enable secure boot on a Windows 8 Machine, you must have UEFI and Secure Boot enabled when you install and if you use USB Media to install, it must be formatted as FAT32.  Many USB drives are formatted as NTFS and many utilities that create bootable media for install will format the drives as NTFS (like the Windows 7 USB Utility).  Windows 8 can install from this media (if you disable secure boot), but that is a feature you want.  Instructions on how to create a FAT32 bootable drive are included at the bottom of this post.

 

 

http://eraserandcrowbar.com/2013/06/19/windows-8-uefi-secure-boot-on-clean-install/



#6 kaljukass

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 04:25 PM

Personally I have not seen such a situation, where is necessary disable. But if is needed, You can do it at any time, what the problem. You see it after couple minutes, if installing will begin or not. On W8-8.1 it begins fast, in W10 takes some minutes. (Till begins on W10 is visible only black screen.)

One more thing, clean instal means, that disk or partition is is cleaned and then fully formatted before installation. Not only "Quick Format", it doesn't remove nothing, everything is still there and can be recovered at any time.

 

FAT32 is not mandatory, I have used for example also NTFS, but if You have older USB stick, it usually cannot be formatted as NTFS.


Edited by kaljukass, 26 December 2016 - 04:38 PM.


#7 sportsfan1

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 01:57 PM

I was wondering if the Windows 8.1 ISO on the Microsoft site might be more up to date than the one on the Dell Site ...Less Windows Updates to download after installation etc. Does the Microsoft Windows Media Creation Tool still only format in NTFS. I will be using a USB flash drive to create bootable media with UEFI and Secure Boot enabled.

Also My laptop is a Dell OEM so I don't have a Windows Product key ..its on the motherboard. Would activation be an issue with the Microsoft site ISO?. 

If I do use the ISO from the Dell site would I be able to use Rufus with it rather than typing in all the Diskpart instructions?

Sorry for all the questions guys...Im just trying to decide which is the best way to go



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 02:12 PM

See my post#2. Your key is embedded in firmware and can be found using either Produkey or FirmWareTables View. Write this down as a precaution should you need to input the key.

 

Your Windows iso from Dell should have all your required drivers included. This would not be the case with the Windows iso created with the Media Creation Tool. Windows 10 will automatically updates to the latest version. This shouldn't be a problem unless your ISP has a bandwidth cap.

 

From post #4

Thanks for your help guys but Ive created the USB bootable flash drive using their method without any problems. 

Is there any reason you need to create a bootable flash drive with Rufus if you have already created the bootable flash drive of the Dell iso? But yes, you can use Rufus with the Dell iso to create a bootable flash drive. Just make sure to select GPT partition scheme in the drop down box and leave all boxes as checked.

 

The Media Creation tool will automatically format and create a bootable USB flash drive for Windows 8.1 install. It should format to FAT32.

 

If the Dell iso is for Windows 8 and not 8.1 then I think I would go with the Media Creation Tool but you may need to install additional drivers such as wifi. If the Dell iso is for 8.1 use the Dell iso.



#9 sportsfan1

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 03:43 PM

Hi John. Yeah..the dell ISO is for 8.1 (I haven't ever used Windows 10).

Like you've said I have created a Dell ISO ..I just haven't done anything with it yet. I havent had time yet. A technician on the phone at Dell said they always recommend disabling secure boot as a precaution when using a USB installation and the only reason I even thought about Rufus because you can set the GPT partition scheme so that the USB will definitely boot with Secure Boot enabled in UEFI boot mode.

I don't see the point in having Secure Boot and then having to go into set up and disable it to run the Windows 8.1 Installation from the USB stick.

The Dell technician couldn't explain when I asked her why it was suggested to disable secure boot she just said it was recommended procedure but another technician didn't mention disabling secure boot at all. I don't know if the first technician was just being overly careful. Ive read the EraserandCrowbar link above that you pointed to and the Diskpart procedure on the Dell site is exactly the same except that after create partition primary...( there is no select partition 1 command after it as in the link above) That is the only command that is missing on dell instructions ..so is that command not really necessary? The rest of the Diskpart procedure is identical.

If you think the Dell ISO I have created will boot with Secure Boot enabled I will just use that



#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 03:58 PM

I would do the following. 

 

Use Rufus with the Dell iso file. Make sure you have the GPT partition scheme and FAT32 is checked for the file system, not NTFS.

Keep SecureBoot enabled. Tap F12 at boot and select the USB key. 

 

Either use my diskpart commands to clean the disk and initialize the disk as GPT or use the steps for the clean install I linked to in post #5. Both accomplish the same thing.



#11 sportsfan1

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 05:42 AM


Thanks John for all your help. I will just use the clean installation method.  Im used to that...advanced drive options, delete all partitions..when only unallocated space remains...click next. Ive also followed your advice Re:Produkey and Firmware tables to obtain my OEM product key just in case. Id never heard of those programmes. Ive always used Magic Jellybean keyfinder in the past.

How familiar are you with Diskpart..Re:the question I asked above about the eraserandcrowbar link you pointed to (Ive copied and pasted their instructions for you below). Im curious that's all...would be nice to know. When you type Create Partition Primary is it not really necessary to type select partition 1 afterwards..can you just follow on with all the other commands. On some sites that select partition 1 command is listed and on others it isn't...all other commands are the same, slightly different order in some instances that's all.

From Eraserandcrowbar link :-

C:>diskpart

DISKPART>list disk

DISKPART>select disk <disk#>

DISKPART>clean

DISKPART>create partition primary

DISKPART>select partition 1

DISKPART>active

DISKPART>format quick fs=fat32

DISKPART>assign

DISKPART>exit

 

This is from Dell site, eight forums etc with the select partition 1 instruction left out

  1. At the command prompt, type diskpart and press Enter.
  2. Next, type list volume and press Enter.
  3. From the list, determine which volume number is the connected USB drive. The volume type should be marked as Removable.
  4. Type select volume X, where X is the number obtained in the previous step. For example, select volume 9.
  5. Type clean and press Enter.
  6. Type create partition primary and press Enter.
  7. Type format fs=fat32 label='OS install' quick and press Enter.
  8. Type active and press Enter.
  9. To close the Command Prompt window, type exit and press Enter.

Edited by sportsfan1, 28 December 2016 - 07:02 AM.


#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 08:57 AM

I don't use diskpart to create bootable flash drives but I would think you need to select the partition you create before formatting it. In this technet article is shows the extra step of selecting partition 1, the partition just created. This is a good question and I am going to try both methods on a spare flash drive to see if both work but every page I have visited regarding formatting a USB flash drive requires the step to select partition 1.

 

In the Dell method it's not required to add a label but it's a good idea.

 

It's much easier using the iso with Rufus.

 

Edit: I can confirm both methods work. The Dell method using list volume vs list disk. The Eraseandcrowbar link works with or without the select partition 1 step. Use the Dell method.


Edited by JohnC_21, 28 December 2016 - 09:58 AM.


#13 sportsfan1

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 12:50 PM

Thanks John. You're a star mate. That's my curiosity sorted out lol The only concern I might have about using a third party tool like Rufus on a USB boot device ..would be security..malware,viruses etc. But Im nowhere near knowledgeable enough to know if that is a valid concern or not. But I guess Im probably being too cautious as it seems to be a popular programme



#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 12:59 PM

No Problem. If you have any additional questions feel free to post them and have a Happy New Year.  :)



#15 sportsfan1

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 01:42 PM

Happy New Year to you too mate. Have a great 2017 :-)






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