My understanding is that when I first upgrade, I can choose to upgrade as a fresh install.

If I want to do another fresh install in the future, can I do that? I tend to reinstall Windows every 1-3 years, to get back to a clean system.

If it makes a difference, I am running an OEM version of Windows 7 Home.

5 Answers 5


You can use the refresh feature of Windows 8 and you can do it any number of times :)

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When you reset, the following steps happen

  • The PC boots into the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).
  • Windows RE erases and formats the hard drive partitions on which Windows and personal data reside.
  • Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows.
  • The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows.
  • Will it save the product key? Or do I need to activate my PC again after resetting my PC?
    – NewUser
    Dec 16, 2012 at 5:44
  • @DibyaRanjan No need product key will be saved
    – HackToHell
    Dec 16, 2012 at 10:04
  • Do you know if it's possible to purchase multiple licenses from the same machine (I want to get a license key for my Dad but can't run the install from his machine)? Jan 22, 2013 at 10:00
  • @NeilBarnwell yes, you can. Buying retail version of Windows 8 allows you to install it to any pc.
    – HackToHell
    Jan 22, 2013 at 11:59

You won't need to re-install to get to a clean system with Windows 8 Pro.

Once installed there is a "Refresh" feature - it's been covered in several articles, here's one:


I've used it myself with the Release Preview version when the Office 2013 CTR became unusable due to a failed update.

It also allows you to retain personal files if you choose.


yes you can do it many time but one thing is important in that is you should have always your activation key of Windows which is most important thing in this.

From How To Refresh Or Reset Your Windows 8 PC

Reset Your PC

The Refresh and Reset Utilities are accessible from General window in Windows 8 PC Settings. To quickly open PC Settings, bring up charms bar using Windows + C hotkey combination, click Settings.

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Now click on PC Setting.

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When you click Get Started under Reset PC, it will show the changes which will be made during the process. Insert Windows 8 installation disk, and then click Next followed by Refresh to reboot the system.

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For disk with multiple partitions, it asks you to choose entire hard disk to perform the cleanup operation or only the disk where Windows 8 is installed. Just select the required option to move to next step.

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Now, specify the type of cleanup operation – Thoroughly or Quickly. The Thorough disk cleanup operation removes all the files from selected disk(s), deletes all the installed applications, and makes data irrecoverable, whereas the quick cleanup option simply deletes your files and installed applications.

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Now it will reboot your system and start resetting Windows to default settings, The time it takes depends upon the number of changes made to your system and total size of your data. Once system reboots, it starts preparing your system for complete PC reset. At the bottom, you will see Resetting your PC progress.

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After the Resetting your PC process finishes, it will reboot your system to update Windows 8 registry settings, find attached devices, and then make identified devices ready for Windows 8.

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Once the process is finished, you will be asked to enter the Product key. Enter the license key and click Next. If you want to enter the license key later, click Skip.

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Now, accept License terms and click Accept to proceed further. It will now start loading Windows 8, and you will see Personalization window. Follow the on-screen instructions, enter details where required, and let Windows 8 prepare a fresh desktop for you.

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  • 1
    Are there any guidelines on directly lifting the entire content of a blog post for an answer? This is a helpful answer, but I'm a little worried about whether this counts as fair use.
    – Matthew
    Oct 26, 2012 at 18:29
  • @Matthew there was not, but as I have given the reference I don't think it will be bad. I'll edit it in my own words.
    – avirk
    Oct 26, 2012 at 18:31

While @PJC is correct, he didn't really answer the question.

The answer would be yes, unless you do certain things to your computer, such as changing the CPU (then MS would consider this computer a new computer) However if this does happen, you just call them and tell them that you have a new CPU and would like that activate Windows on it....

At least this is how it has been in the past.

  • as the OP stated he tended to refresh the install every 1-3 years, my assumption was this wasn't an install onto new hardware. Actually, I tend to reinstall after approx 6 months on my primary system myself, since I install lots of software for testing and it all adds up over time, so the Refresh feature is one I am VERY happy to see.
    – PJC
    Oct 26, 2012 at 16:03
  • I couldn't agree more, I was answering his question which you failed to do.
    – TheXed
    Oct 26, 2012 at 16:20

From a Licensing standpoint, Windows allows any number of reinstalls with a given license key. You're only restriction is that you are not permitted to have multiple installs at the same time.

If it gives you activation problems in the future, you can always contact Microsoft activation and tell them its a reinstall and they will release the key again. IT has been this way since windows XP.

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