So for a while now I have been attempting to fix my computer which appears to have some corruption issues. I have an OEM installation of windows 8.0.

After discovering my issues I first attempted to install windows 8.1 through the store. That failed, with a variety of error codes. I discovered that windows update is completely broken and following repair instructions didn't help (including re-registering DLLs, using the trouble-shooter, clearing the data folder, ect). The stand-alone windows update installer fails with the same codes as the online windows update utility which can't even download them. I then tried to refresh my PC which failed (even after I tried renaming %windir%/system32/config/system to something else so it wasn't used). Remember the goal here is to at least save my old files (including program files).

I've decided I am just going to buy a flash drive an make a windows 8.1 pro installation media. The thing is I don't know how to preserve all files on my old hard drive without the new installation using old data. I looked online and it says that it will ask you what you want to do with the old data and offer you three choices for non-OEM users including keep settings, files and programs, keep only files and keep nothing. For OEM users (like myself) it shows just a confirmation page (on the website, I haven't made my install tool yet) with keep everything selected and a change selection button at the bottom so I don't know what I can select. My question to you is can I preform a clean install of windows 8.1 without wiping my hard drive but not keeping any settings or potential malware and the like so I don't have to copy everything over from a backup? Should I say install Ubuntu and install windows 8.1 from there?

  • If Windows setup offers the "Upgrade" option during install this will preserve data and just reinstall the core OS. – Moab Sep 18 '15 at 14:33
  • If you don't want to keep the old data, why don't you want to format the drive, a clean install is the "keep only files and keep nothing" option. I don't understand this question. "keep only files and keep nothing" will remove the current version of Windows and install Windows 8.1 on the system partition that exist. – Ramhound Sep 22 '15 at 14:32

If you have installation media, just double-click on the setup icon and follow the instructions. Your old data will be preserved. And I think it will remove malware, if any.

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