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Back in the old days of Windows 3.11, 95, 98 and XP, upgrading a system seemed a bad idea due to all the conflicts and instability that usually ensued. So I have created the habit of reinstalling systems whenever a new version was released (to avoid said issues but also to clean the filesystem of old DLLs and system files that would be left behind).

With Windows 8 we only had the option of upgrading (or getting it installed by the manufacturer) and the feeling that behind the shiny new interface, there was a mess of files, DLLs and other bloatware.

Now Microsoft has reintroduced full retail versions with Windows 8.1. Is it worth getting the retail version and reinstalling the system from scratch? The idea "feels" good but does it make sense nowadays?

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There isn't a difference. All versions of Windows 8.1 are Full licenses. The only easy FREE way to upgrade Windows 8.0 to 8.1 is to use the Windows Store –  Ramhound Oct 18 '13 at 21:08
    
I understand both versions will give me a full environment. I'm more interested in things the upgrade process will leave behind. To frame the question differently: if I installed win7 and upgraded to win8.0 and then 8.1... what files would be different from if i installed win8.1 directly? I think i'll have to try it and see. –  gtirloni Oct 21 '13 at 15:59
    
You have changed the context of your question. You wanted to know ( I thought ) the differences between installing Windows 8.1 or upgrading Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. In that context there isn't a difference. While upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 will allow you to keep your personal files, thats all that can be kept, everything else is moved to a Windows.old which can be removed with one mouse click. The same isn't true about Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 everything is migrated. The process of upgrading Windows has be very good since Windows Vista. –  Ramhound Oct 21 '13 at 16:10
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