A Clean Install of Windows 8 OEM - Media Download

Hi everyone


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:



Please advise.


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:




Question Info

Last updated August 6, 2019 Views 126,272 Applies to:

It is so very obvious from Microsoft's actions that Microsoft's goal is not to deter piracy but to double charge people when their system fails and requires a re-installation from external media (in cases where they upgrade to a SSD, or their recovery partition is wiped out. The percentage of people who just end up buying a retail version of Windows when their hard drives fail is very significant, something that radically adds to Microsoft's profits. Such business practices of Microsoft are plainly unfair and illegal and something the U.S. DOJ should investigate and prosecute.

That part is quite obvious given that their piracy prevention is so poor that their policies can only be aimed strictly to reap illegal profits from forcing legal non tech savvy users to pay twice for the Windows that they already paid for when they purchased their system. Were it not the case, they would freely allow users to download a Windows 8 OEM ISO so that they can recover if their hard drive fails completely, as the OEM ISO is useless to a pirate without a license key (usually built into the motherboard) and a pirate will have easy access to a copy of Windows 8 regardless. Again the only people hurt by these policies are legal users, not pirates.

Now as far as piracy is concerned, I would further suspect that given Microsoft's poor piracy prevention mechanisms that allow hackers to distribute self activating Windows 7 copies, etc. that Microsoft would rather let the poor people use a pirated version of Windows than to completely block them and force them to use Linux which would only increase the Linux user base. So I do speculate that they intentionally allow ways for pirates to pirate their Windows software anyway, because the poor free loafers are not going to pay for Windows no matter what because they simply do not have the money, yet nonetheless it is in Microsoft's interest to keep them from switching over to Linux because most of the poor are just young and will have money later for Microsoft licenses. But here again the only systems at issue here are older systems that have XP or Vista licenses, whereas the other systems that people are supposedly pirating are systems with valid Windows 7 and 8 license keys that Microsoft wants a double payment for!

The Windows 8.1 with Update 1 .iso is now downloadable without the need to input a product key. It is thus downloadable for the OEM license and I have documented this here in an updated guide focusing on an OEM license with UEFI and SecureBoot:


This .iso works with both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 product keys. The main issue is determining your edition. The correct edition will automatically input your product key and take you to the license agreement screen. The incorrect edition will ask for a product key. Also there are two "free" editions missing; Windows 8.1 with Bing and Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing.

Ironically Microsoft fixed the Windows 8 digital media deployment (not 100% but greatly) and then severely broke the Windows 7 digital media deployment a couple of months later.

2 people were helped by this reply


Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.