I have a laptop that was shipped with Windows 8, I nuked the drive and installed a linux distro on there temporarily.
I'd now like to put Windows 8 back - but I have no physical Windows 8 installation media. What are my options?
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You should be able to get a Windows 8 install disk from the laptop vendor. Sometimes for a small price but you can usually sweet talk them to giving it to you for free.
If you have the Windows 8 Product Key, you could theoretically download an .iso of the version you need. At a guess it would be Windows 8 x86 OEM or x64 OEM as that's is usually how the big name vendors work.
Update: Another alternative to get the files has been asked on SU before... Where can I download Windows 8 legally, from Microsoft? If you download the executable that is mentioned, when you run it, it will ask for the product key and then apparently allow you to download the .iso for external media. This is all just in those comments.