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I'm looking at buying this for my son to do gaming:

But it will really need an SSD drive and extra memory. I can save a few bucks by buying the SSD and memory from crucial, but will I then be able to install the dell supplied windows OS onto the SSD ?

An SSD as a d: drive makes no sense at all, it really needs Windows on the SSD, but I'm not sure if the system install stuff would allow me to put windows on the SSD drive in preference to the default HDD.

So, is this possible ?


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Personally, I wouldn't use the recovery media provided by Dell, because it likely contains lots of trialware and otherwise useless programs. Instead I would install using a retail disc and just activate Windows with the OEM product key. If your OEM computer has a Windows 8 (or later) sticker on it, then the product key is stored in the BIOS. – ntoskrnl Jul 4 '14 at 10:36
In my experience the windows install key is tied explicitly to that install of windows, I don't think you can use the key with any other CD of windows - not sure on that but tried it before some years ago and failed. – user2728841 Jul 7 '14 at 10:45
Installation discs are obviously identical and an installation cannot reject a valid key until online activation. If I remember correctly, modern versions of Windows don't make a difference between OEM and retail until activation either. The difference between OEM and retail is the fact that an OEM license is locked to the computer it is first activated on (it can be reactivated on the same hardware though). I recently reinstalled a Samsung laptop using a downloaded Windows 8.1 disc and successfully activated it with the product key from the BIOS. – ntoskrnl Jul 7 '14 at 11:06
ok thanks when the box arrives I can try it and revert to the dell image if all else fails – user2728841 Jul 7 '14 at 11:26
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I just recently purchased a Dell XPS Laptop and it came with a USB recovery key. I replaced the drive with SSD and it recovered to that media fine.

Your issue is with a Desktop and two drives you need to make sure the bios has the SSD as the Primary drive and the other drive as the slave 'secondary'. As it seems to only recover to the drive it see's as C?

I would ask Dell pre-sales that it does definitely come with the USB recovery media.

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Thank you. My first question so I can't upvote. Both these answers are exactly what I was looking for, and its good to hear from someone thats actually done it. – user2728841 Jul 4 '14 at 19:19

The problem is that you do not get a CD with the operating system and it is already pre-installed. However, there is a partition containing the recovery data and best way is to simply reinstall Windows on your new SSD. In the BIOS, just set the SSD as the only boot drive once everything is installed. Once you're comfortable with the overall operation, you can simply delete anything associated with the original OS install.

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as above.. thank you. – user2728841 Jul 4 '14 at 19:19

If you're looking to spend that kind of money for gaming, you best look at other places that actually create products solely for gaming:

As far as putting your own SSD in there, I have the previous model that you linked to, and I put my own SSD in, and turned the 2TB drive that came with it into storage only. After a while, dual booting became broken so that is why I never did that. Also, ask dell to send you the windows install disc, they sent mine to me for free. Make sure you download the latest drivers off their website if you plan on doing that. To avoid all that hassle, I plan to buy next from xidax. Much better customization. Don't get suckered into their alienware either.

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