Windows 8.1 clean install using OEM key...


New Member
I've recently bought a Dell Inspirion notebook with Windows 8.1 Home Edition 64 bit OEM pre-installed on it. Now, what i want to do is to replace the HDD with SSD, so i did a little research and....well, I' am more confused now! But first thing first.
For those who want to tell me about cloning disk-migration and everything, I am not interested in this solution...
From my understanding (and correct me if I'm wrong), I have to:
1) Obtaine a Windows 8.1 ISO file from...somewhere . Does it have to be specifically Windows 8.1 Home Edition? Becase I can't find it anywhere on the web which is weird, so first help me on this one.
2) Next, I have to create a bootable DVD or USB using the ISO file and use a generic key (btw what is a generic key?) to install it.
3) The final step is to activate the Windows using the OEM key, which I can extract from BIOS using some kind of software (I already did thad :D)
Now, the above is my conclusion from what I have read from different forums. In some other, people say that since the key is embedded inside the BIOS or UEFI or whatever they call it this days, Windows will detect it automatically and hence no activation is needed...
Here are the questions:
1) Are the above steps right? If not, what I have to do?
2) Say I did a clean install of Windows 8.1. Will it have installed all the bloatware that it has now? See, this is the reason I don't prefer to clone the drive...
3) Say I want to install a different version or edition of Windows, can i do that? Because if key is embedded it will essensially recognize only a specific edition of Windows...or not? And what if I want to install Linux?
4) What is the difference between Windows and Windows OEM? And finally....
5) Why so many KKKEEEYYYSSSSS? Product key, generic key, OEM key.....
Thank you in advance!


Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
1. Almost, you don’t use a genetic * key but use the actual oem key… so when you burn the iso onto a disc/ usb just leave the key blank and the system will auto insert it from the bios.

2. There is some junk in a windows install but nowhere near as much as you have now… note that some of the driver software will be better than what you get in windows (graphics etc) so you need to do your homework.

3. Yes you can put any operating system on the machine but the oem key is only for the one that came with it at purchase. You can install Linux also but l don’t recommend it… IME a much cleaner option for linux is to run it from the usb port.

4. An oem key come from the manufacture of the hardware and not from microsoft per say… legally you don’t own a oem key but are only using it with the machine and the oem key travels with that machine should you decide to sell / give it to someone else.

5. Because windows is sold all round the world and every piss pot country has its own set of rules which are different to the country next to it.

* a genetic key is used by service repair people to install a clean system without activating it, for example I have a disc with 8.1 that I can install onto your system and then tell it (your system) to use the oem key… however if I put your oem key onto my 8.1 install disc then that disc would only be useful to you as nobody else can use that key to activate windows.