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I read that new Windows 8 PCs don't have the COD with the serial on the bottom, and I wonder if this is gonna causing problems on reinstallation.

Usually when I have a new PC, this is what I do:

  1. Wipe the HDD to get rid of crazy partition layouts and crapware (on Win8 looks that's going crazier than ever!)
  2. Reinstall Windows

But, it looks like the OS installation on the HDD is tied to the machine with a code on the BIOS - that means if I wipe, I cant install it anymore legitemately - is that true?

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Computers that come with Windows 8 have recovery sectors just like computers that come with Windows 7 do. You have an option when using the recovery sector NOT to install the additioanl software. – Ramhound Nov 27 '12 at 11:06
that might be true for one or two OEMs, but certainly not all of them. Some PCs dont even come with a recovery partition. – Taylor Gibb Nov 27 '12 at 12:27
@TaylorGibb - ALL OEMS are required to either give you the option to create a recovery disk or have the recovery parition on the hdd. This requirement is set by Microsoft. – Ramhound Nov 27 '12 at 12:58
I wonder if the recovery partition has the crapware preinstalled or not – Magnetic_dud Nov 27 '12 at 13:50
@Ramhound I never said that they don't give you any option at all, what I actually meant was that they could also include an install disc if they don't want to include a partition. – Taylor Gibb Nov 27 '12 at 15:05
up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to this Blog post you can use a clean ISO and the setup detect your OEM key:

If you look at the bottom of my machine, you’ll notice there is no Windows 8 Certificate of Authenticity (COA). There is an official Windows 8 logo sticker, but no product key.

The good news is that you no longer have to worry about it fading or getting scratched. The 5x5 key is embedded in the BIOS. Therefore all I had to do in order to install a fresh clean copy of Windows 8 was attach an external DVD drive, boot from the retail DVD, and run setup. As soon as I connected to the internet, the machine activated. It never asked me for a key. No fuss!!!

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While this answer is a great answer its missing important information. This solution requires you have a copy of Windows 8 ( x64/x86 ) on some media in order to do this. At this time the the only tool I am aware that can download the iso is the upgrade assistance which only offers the download after you purchase Windows 8. Of course the application that downloads the ISO isn't behind a pay wall. I might post an answer to this "problem" if I get around to it. This note is based on the fact the author had trouble creating the recovery media for his Windows 8 OEM system. – Ramhound Nov 27 '12 at 12:57
download a fresh ISO from the internet and compare the hashes to make sure you have an untouched ISO. MSFT posts the hashes on Technet/MSDN – magicandre1981 Nov 27 '12 at 14:00
The iso that the Upgrade Assistance Tool downloads does not match the hashes on Technet/MSDN. This answer is still incomplete, based on the dismisal attitude you have about my feedback, makes me wish I waited to vote on it. – Ramhound Nov 27 '12 at 14:09
yes, the tool downloads an encrypted Image (ESD) file. Ask a friend who has access to the Win8 ISO from Technet/MSDN or google for the ISO with the name "en_windows_8_x64_dvd_915440.iso" with the SHA1 hash of "1CE53AD5F60419CF04A715CF3233F247E48BEEC4" – magicandre1981 Nov 27 '12 at 14:17
yes this answer is certainly legit, advising you to download an ISO from the internet. – Taylor Gibb Nov 27 '12 at 15:03

You can still install it. The key is tied to your BIOS, when you do a clean installation the installation wizard detects that you have an OEM key in your BIOS.

Once Windows has finished installing your PC will connect to the internet and activate.

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