I am a Dell Community Rockstar and I have been a wiki writer in the Dell Community. My wiki Windows Reinstallation Guide and Related Guides may be found here:
I am trying to find a download link which users can use to clean install their OEM version of Windows 8.
There is the means to install Windows 8 with a product key and some generic product keys are available but the Windows 8 setup seems to accept them and then rejects them by saying can't connect:
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os/w/microsoft_os/4415.a-clean-install-of-windows-8-not-working.aspx moreover this installer requires a previous working version of Windows and is clearly unsuitable for a variety of reasons for clean installation on a blank hard drive (which may be needed in the case of hard drive failure for instance).
It seems to be too difficult for Dell users in Europe to obtain media:
We would like a download link and I have mentioned this to all my Dell contacts and posted on IdeaStorm about this:
I have been pushing for this on the Dell end but have not had much luck so far so I need to push for it on the Microsoft end but haven't many Microsoft contacts.
There seems to be no to little point in writing "A Clean Install of Windows 8" if no users can get media without having to purchase a new license, I have wrote it anyway but it is incomplete without a valid downloadable installation source.
Can anyone from Microsoft, Microsoft VIPs and Community Stars look at my wikies and IdeaStorm ideas and provide a viable solution so I can complete my wiki and users can clean install their OS without any preinstalled junk or have a means to reinstall their OS if all goes wrong.
A direct link would be best because a hard drive can fail and needs replaced. Use of the upgrade advisor is okay but as it downloads 32 bit setup files on a 32 bit computer and 64 bit ones on a 64 bit computer, its not ideal as users won't have the option of the one they want to pick. e.g. if computer 1 is 32 and computer 2 (the problem computer) is 64 bit then they will run into troubles.
With the product key residing in the BIOS piracy shouldn't be an issue if media is freely available to download. However if a legitimate source is unavailable for users to clean install with piracy will increase greatly.
In addition the inability for users to read the product key can also be an issue for product activation in some rare cases. I suggest that Microsoft allow/make OEMS print the product key in the BIOS information as a safety net:
Edit adding warnings about Windows 8.1 Update:
Scenario 1: Most of the OEM recovery partitions in general fail to work once the systems partitions have been altered in any way or an Operating System is Reinstalled. Should the user be relying on the internal restore partition then they are completely stumped after trying to install Windows 8.1.
Scenario 2: The user should recovery media before the installation of Windows 8.1 preview - You know aswell as I do that some people will not create the recovery media.
Scenario 3: The recovery programs do not always work. I have seen across the Dell Community numerous of customers have difficulties creating recovery media. They are in trouble if anything goes wrong.
Scenario 4: The user thinks they have created recovery media but really all they have created is a corrupt set of DVDs (i.e. used low quality DVDs or USB). When they are in trouble to go and use them they do not work.
Scenario 5: The user makes recovery media and misplaces it. They are likewise in trouble.
Scenario 6: The user suffers from an out of the box boot problem when the system arrives due to an incorrect setup of the factory settings in particular with a cache drive which I seen many users have and could easily fix on their own but cannot because they have no Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 .iso.
Scenario 7: A major virus problem which corrupts the entire Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 installation and infects the recovery USB when the user tries to boot from it. A third party utility like DBAN could be used to wipe the system in this case and clean installation could be done using a .iso and a USB after.
Scenario 8: Windows 8.1 is a Service Pack; Service Packs have been known to cause an assortment of issues in particular when drivers and third party software are installed before them. Hint, hint factory settings. Factory settings are preloaded with these problems. Its why my Windows Reinstallation Guides always recommends installing Windows and then the Service Packs via the Standalone Updates unless they are included on the installation media. Note I recommend installing the Service Packs even before the system drivers. Users have not had these problems if they have correctly followed my guides.
More scenarios could be made by mixing these above 8 up.
Edit 2: See comments made by 2 MVPs that have replied to this thread which seem to indicate that they want to make matters worse by removing Windows Vista and Windows 7 download links: