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Recently I bought a Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition, which had Windows 8 pre-installed requiring me just to select the settings to use, such as language and time-zone, etc.

The only disk that I received with my laptop was the driver installation disk. I also did not receive a product key, but that isn't as much a problem as I know how to find in in the OS using Belarc Advisor.

My goal is to be able to format my HDD, and then install a downloaded copy of Windows 8 via either a disk or USB that contains the Installation, and then to register the product using the product key that I already own.

Is there somewhere where I can download a file or set of files that I can store on a disk or USB, that when inserted into an Operating System-less machine, will begin installing Windows 8?

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Just use the Reset feature built into Windows 8 – Ramhound Aug 8 '13 at 11:42
How do you define a "clean install"? Do you mean a "factory reset", or a clean Windows 8 installation without bundled bloatware? – gronostaj Aug 8 '13 at 11:58
get a MSDN/Technet ISO from a "friend" ;) and setup Windows. In this case the OEM Key from your BIOS is used. Install the drivers and only the tools you want. – magicandre1981 Aug 8 '13 at 18:40

Why do you want to format the HDD ? you'll remove recovery partition too. Better use windows reset to rest-to-factory.

To reset your PC

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Under PC settings, tap or click General.

  3. Under Remove everything and reinstall Windows , tap or click Get started.

  4. Follow the instructions on the screen.

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This will restore pre-installed Windows that includes bloatware, not a clean install. – gronostaj Aug 8 '13 at 10:05
Hi johnny, will this method, in theory, reset my PC to what it was when I unboxed it? And will it require the product key at all? – Kurtsta Aug 8 '13 at 11:28
@gronostaj - The bloatware can be removed. Technically not having bloatware isn't a requirement the author requested. He can either use the system partition provided by Dell or use the Reset feature. He does not have access to a Windows 8 .iso and there is no legal way to download one. This is a perfectly valid answer that deserves to be upvoted. – Ramhound Aug 8 '13 at 11:41
@Kurtsta - Windows 8 automatically detects OEM keys. Furthermore this method will not request anything information from you except to create the user. – Ramhound Aug 8 '13 at 11:42

The cleanest way would probably be to:

  1. Update to Windows 8.1
  2. Create your clean Windows 8.1 Iso file
  3. Burn the iso to a DVD or USB flash drive.
  4. Lookup your current licence key using a tool like eg.

Reboot and install from your new Windows 8.1 DVD

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Now you're assuming he's only ever interested in installing it on his own computer, since Windows 8 uses BIOS-based product keys. (it's a new thing in Windows 10, that the product key is now directly connected to the user account). But yeah I did miss one thing.. as he already mentions he knows how to fetch the product key from the registry. There's however nowhere in the original question where he states that he does not have a working installation to begin with, so your comment seems somewhat misplaced. – Søren Høyer Kristensen Jul 29 '15 at 13:28
His question was: "My goal is to be able to format my HDD, and then install a downloaded copy of Windows 8 via either a disk or USB that contains the Installation, and then to register the product using the product key that I already own." - clearly, I answered that. – Søren Høyer Kristensen Jul 29 '15 at 14:10
Sure; Why not; I am to tired to disagree with you. This was asked months before that tool was even available. – Ramhound Jul 29 '15 at 23:22

Would this suit your needs?

I think this would be a clean install, but I'm not entirely sure. I think the other option would be to download the trial version of Windows 8 and then activate it with your product key.

This may also be of use:

So, what I would suggest you do is: -Retrieve your product key from your current install
-Download Windows 8 and burn it to disk
-Restart your computer, go into your BIOS and set the boot order so that your CD/DVD drive is first
-Restart your computer with the Win8 disk in
-Follow the instructions to install Windows 8

EDIT: This also seems to confirm your current product key will just work if you download the win8 files

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The linked product requires a valid Upgrade License key to download. The author also must have a previous eligible windows installation and a full copy of Windows 8 isn't an elgible copy. – Ramhound Aug 8 '13 at 11:43

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