Uninstalling windows 8 and then re installing it, how does it work?

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Problem :

So my PC has an activated version of Windows 8.1 and i was thinking of changing my OS to Zorin to see if i like it, if i decide i don’t like it is there anyway i can get back Windows 8.1, if so how would i do it? i don’t know how to find the ISO for Windows 8.1 on my computer and i don’t fancy paying for a new one, if i can get it back then how would it be done because wouldn’t the default OS be Zorin every time i boot my computer up?

I’m sorry if that doesn’t make much sense if you don’t understand, any simple help will be very much appreciated, im not to good with computers so please try keep the answers simple:)

Thank you, Steven.

Solution :

Why not remove the original hard drive with Windows 8.1 on it, store it in an anti-static bag and plug in a new drive and install the new Linux operating system? That way, your original operating system is not disturbed in any way. If Zorin is not what you want, you can try another operating system on the new drive. Keep in mind, the new UEFI (replaces the old BIOS) may not even allow using another operating system to be installed unless you change the EUFI settings to allow the older legacy BIOS.

You can download a Windows 8.1 iso creator from Microsoft

Getting the Windows 8.1 serial is a different story..
You can try Belarc Advsior

Depends. How is your copy of Windows licensed?

If you bought it in a box, it’s retail. You will need the key to reinstall. See if you can find the box.

If it came with the machine, and the machine is from a reputable vendor (Dell, HP, Asus, etc), then it’s an OEM license. If you get the right media, it’ll actually activate automatically as soon as you reinstall. Also, your license key should be on a sticker somewhere on the case–look for a rainbowy sticker with holographic Microsoft logos. For media, your best bet (if you didn’t keep the system recovery disc that should have come with the machine) would probably be to get ahold of the manufacturer–they’ll usually send it to you for a couple bucks + S&H.

If (and this is relatively unlikely), it’s licensed with Open license, you’ll need the license key there, too. Contact whoever sold you Windows, they should have a login to the Microsoft partner site to download ISOs for you.

…or you could try the above-mentioned media creator, if you have a ‘net connection where a 4GB download is feasible. Can’t speak to the efficacy of that, I’ve never needed it–my office is lousy with copies of every CD and ISO for installing various versions and editions and activation channels of Windows that you can think of. Perks of being an IT guy.

EDIT–if you don’t know your license key and can’t find it, before you go blowing away your installation, try Magical Jelly Bean–I’ve actually had a good bit of luck with that thing–it crawls your registry hive, finds the key, and decrypts it for you. Don’t know that I’ve needed to try it on Win8 yet–usually when it comes to that it’s because someone lost their key sometime in the 5 years since they bought their rig.

SOURCE–have personally installed Windows more times than I care to think about.

Best thing to do is backup an image of your entire hard drive or clone it to another hard drive.
Things you will need:

  • a second hard drive to save the image or clone to
  • software to make the image or clone (acronis true image, norton ghost, clonezilla etc.)
  • Cables to connect both hard drives to the same PC (usb to an external enclosure, or sata cables to connect internally)

After you have successfully backed up your hard drive, install Zorin and see if you like it.
If you don’t, you can use the backup image or clone you created to go back to windows 8.

If you are not interested or unable to do a backup, you can use Magic Jelly Bean to find your product key. Record it or print it off. Then install Zorin (deleting Windows 8 in the process) and see if you like it. If you don’t, you can use the product key and copy of windows 8 iso(which you must acquire somewhere and burn to a disk) to re-install windows.

Some interesting resources:
Clean install of windows 8
Create windows 8 boot/installation disk
How to clone a hard drive with Clonezilla
How to boot to a CD

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