Remove everything and reinstall


New Member
Please help me with this issue! I bought dell inspiron 15 with windows 8 installed for my son. It was running fine but after couple months got slow (he might have got a virus on it) so I want to reinstall it back to the way it was before. When I try to remove everything and reinstall windows after I click get started and next it gives me could not find the files needed and if you have a windows installations or recovery media, insert it and restart PC from the media. Well Windows 8 was already on it - I got dell new from amazon and I don't have a cd or even a product key for the windows :( what can I do?


Essential Member


New Member
From the control panel (the "new style", not the one you can find on Windows 7) you can do a factory reset. I don't know off the top of my head what tab it's in, but it's there if the OEM hasn't removed the option.

There's also the hidden partition that has been mentioned already. It can usually be accessed by booting into recovery mode.

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Essential Member
There is a refresh option built in to all Windows 8 PC's which allows them to be reset to factory condition without the need for additional recovery media.

To do this, go to the start screen and type "recovery" and click the result "Recovery Options" which will take you to the metro-CP. Here you can choose to "refresh" which essentially keeps your personal files but will remove all your programs and apps, or you can choose to remove everything and start "fresh". This should also exclude all of the crapware that comes preinstalled on PC's.


New Member
I forgot to mention that the product key is in the computer's flash memory instead of on a sticker like Windows 7 and earlier. If you can borrow a Windows 8 install DVD it will automatically find the product key and activate. You can download a Windows 8 disc image and burn it to a DVD-R or flash drive, but the legality of that is questionable and if your source isn't good you could get a virus.

It's better to use one of the methods mentioned above (the hidden partition or a system refresh), but if you are out of luck there, then this is another option.


Senior Member
Once you have sorted out the problem and reinstalled Windows, look into creating a system Image and store it on an Ext. HD. In this way, when your son screws the PC up again, you cab restore the Image in less than 10 minutes.

A system Image contains everything on the HD at the time it is created including all customizations, installed apps, user settings, everything. This is so much quicker than a Rest or Refresh or reinstallation to factory settings. It is a restore to what you chose to have the OS look like

MS has info on Refresh and Reset here.