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Win 8.1 Reset fail


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#1 JohnW84

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 02:47 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I tried to do a complete reset for my computer to revert back to factory settings but after loading for a few seconds Windows tells me that its missing some files, and even after inserting my original Win 8 DVD into the optical drive, it comes back saying that I have the wrong media inserted. The only option after that is to cancel.

 

I built this computer from scratch nearly four years ago, never did a system restore or anything like that since then. The last few months the computer has been getting increasingly slow and sluggish and I am suspecting some malware may be involved. Despite my AV and malwarebytes showing clean, I tried running an Avira Rescue Disc and it ended up finishing prematurely saying that the "repair service has exited unexpectedly" and "some threats were found but your system could not be repaired."

 

So after some googling around I found the option to create a win 8.1 installation media package, which I am assuming will allow me to reset the computer back to its original state. However, I have a few concerns:

 

1. Since this is an 8.1 package, will my Win 8 product key work during the re-install process or will it tell me I don't have an 8.1 key and cancel out?

 

2. This is the first time I will be 'resetting' a computer with more than 1 drive, so I am unsure of what to do with my other 2 drives. The OS is currently on my 128GB SSD, but I also have a 500GB HDD and another 500GB SSD. Should I format those 2 drives now and clear them of all data before I attempt to use the 8.1 reinstall package? Or will the reset process clean all the drives? The last time I reformatted a computer was my old Dell Inspiron laptop with 1 crappy 100GB HDD, and that was with Win XP back in the day.

 

3. Lastly, I have been tinkering with the idea of throwing Windows in the garbage and just using Linux as an OS. I have pretty much stopped playing computer games and am largely just using the computer to learn front-end development and build basic websites and apps using VS Code. Out of curiosity, how much different (and easier to use) is the newest Linux OS compared to Win 8.1, and would it be easier to just do a clean install of that over my current 8.1 OS?



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 03:14 PM

1. Your Windows 8 key will work with the Windows 8.1 install. If the computer was pre-installed with 8 the key is embedded in the MSDM firmware table. Once online the OS will auto activate.

 

2: Is there any data on the drives? I would detach both drives, do a clean install on the SSD and reboot. Shutdown and attach the drives and partition/format them after the install if so desired.

 

3, Very good choice. If you don't play games and only do browsing/email with no mission critical Windows programs linux is the way to go. You do not have to install any distro until you decide which is right for you. Determine if any distro meets your needs and is compatible with your hardware. For people transferring from Windows Mint Cinnamon is a good choice. If you decide to go linux boot the live DVD and on the desktop is an icon called Install linux. It will ask if you want to install Linux and remove Windows or Install linux alongside Windows.

 

http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3181

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUDhb_HGInQ



#3 JohnW84

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 03:44 PM

1. Your Windows 8 key will work with the Windows 8.1 install. If the computer was pre-installed with 8 the key is embedded in the MSDM firmware table. Once online the OS will auto activate.

 

2: Is there any data on the drives? I would detach both drives, do a clean install on the SSD and reboot. Shutdown and attach the drives and partition/format them after the install if so desired.

 

3, Very good choice. If you don't play games and only do browsing/email with no mission critical Windows programs linux is the way to go. You do not have to install any distro until you decide which is right for you. Determine if any distro meets your needs and is compatible with your hardware. For people transferring from Windows Mint Cinnamon is a good choice. If you decide to go linux boot the live DVD and on the desktop is an icon called Install linux. It will ask if you want to install Linux and remove Windows or Install linux alongside Windows.

 

http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3181

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUDhb_HGInQ

Thanks for replying John.

 

All of my drives currently have data on them, but I have already backed up all the relevant and important files, so I don't care about the remaining data being wiped during reset. I'm just curious to know if the reset process will wipe all the drives clean - or just the C drive (where the OS is installed) in order to reinstall Win 8.1.

 

I believe when I first booted up the computer 4 years ago (When I only had the 128GB SSD and 500GB HDD), I detached the HDD sata cable during bootup, and reconnected it and formatted it after installing Windows 8, just as you you recommended.

 

Regarding the Linux question, I just did a quick google search of things that Linux can do that Windows cant, and vice versa, and it seems like Linux is indeed the better fit (I even found out that Steam supports Linux!!!). However, I was unable to find what the 'mission critical' windows programs are. I know Photoshop and other adobe products aren't supported on Linux, and I am assuming MS Office isn't either (I hope im wrong though as I do need that for work). What else is there?



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 04:07 PM

The install will only wipe the date on the 128GB SSD but I prefer to leave any additional drive detached during the install as sometimes Windows will put the boot files on the secondary drive.

 

By Mission Critical I did mean programs like Photoshop, Office, or a CAD/CAM program. There are linux alternatives. If you use Office extensively for work then I would stick with Windows.

 

Some of the Office Alternatives are WPS Office for linux and Libre Office.

 

http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/Linux_software_equivalent_to_Windows_software



#5 JohnW84

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 04:39 PM

Well, I finally reset the computer back to factory settings, but it wasn't as smooth as I thought or hoped it would be. After going to change PC settings, recovery options and reset pc, and making sure to click on the 'wipe all drives clean,' I expected the computer to actually wipe the C drive clean before installing Win 8.1, but it didn't do that. Instead, after clicking on all the buttons and confirming that I wanted to reset everything and that it would be lost, etc, etc, the computer just restarted and after about 15 seconds it went straight into Windows installation sequence. It asked for product key, asked which drive to install windows on, and all that jazz, but it didn't actually wipe the drive like I thought it would.

 

I had watched some videos and read about the reset process, and everyone mentioned that it would take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to clean the drives before it went to Windows installation. I proceeded with the installation, deleted all the partitions and chose my 128GB SSD as the drive to install Win 8.1 again, waited for the process to finish, which took around 30 minutes all in all, then reset the computer again, for the second time.

 

This time, however, it actually did do the reset process, and showed the progress by %, which was what I was hoping for the first time I reset. The process took about 30-45 minutes, which I figured was due to having already deleted the partition from the previous reset. After it finished, it went straight to Windows installation, it never showed the partition section where I got to choose which drive to install Windows on. Regardless, I installed Win 8.1 again, and now, after about 4 hours (including Windows updates, driver re-installation and some virus scans) I am finally back up to speed. 

 

Well, almost. I am still bothered by the first reset attempt, I can't figure out why the second reset wiped the drive while the first one didn't. Also, while installing Windows 8.1 after the first reset, it never prompted me for my location or timezone, just keyboard settings and language, but during the installation after the second reset, I was asked for my timezone and which country I resided in, which was not asked during the first install. This also puzzled me. 

 

Does anyone have any idea what happened during the first reset? Also, is there any virus or malware that can withstand a windows reset and a drive partition being deleted? 






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