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High end Ivy Bridge consumer desktop released by Dell in 2013. Comes in White and Black or Black case options.

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How do I get the Win8 BIOS key to work?!

I have been fighting to get Win8.1 to install (properly) on this system and it has NOT worked so far, even with multiple media trials. Sadly, I have no choice as the previous owner wanted to keep the hard drive and they put it in their new system. I did this as follows:

  • Win8.1 multi-language (USB) - FAIL
  • Win8.1 Single Language (USB) - FAIL
  • Dell OEM DVD (Found through dumb luck) - FAIL
  • Old Win8 DVD (Non-OEM Dell) - FAIL
  • Placeholder key and product key finder - FAIL

I have also contacted Dell to get new media (prior to finding it, but I already sent it off) as I put the system in my name and had the previous owner’s data (They were okay with me having it. Don’t worry.) so I was able to transfer the system over to me so I shouldn’t have an issue with this, but the system may come up as including it as it was a refurb.

In addition, I investigated downgrading the BIOS (I have A12 installed; pre patching) and I just can’t do it as it notices I’m doing a downgrade. GRR. Is there ANY way I can test if the key was lost to time (and lost it’s Win8 identity) making this a complete waste of time or is there a way I can force the issue? I’m at a loss as to what to do :(.

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UPDATE: The drive was intact and I was able to get the key. I’m going to see if it made it back into the EFI firmware or I need to archive the rescued key.

Didn’t make it back into EFI (GRR) but I have it at least.

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2nd update - totally unexpected but welcome :-).

After I got nowhere with Dell and pulled the key from the hard drive I stopped thinking about it but I found a workaround since Dell buzzed me off and told me to buy another DVD (LOL no. It's the generic image with OEM SetupComplete added; the disc probably had a scratch that hampered it looking back). I'd have to sooner or later because I won't get that access again.

The solution I settled on since Dell blew me off and told me to buy another DVD (you can't even find these on eBay; just the 8.1 USB which may not work!) is to use NTLite and add the OEM SetupComplete under Unattended to force the matter. Yes I can burn my own DVD that works now since it's basically no different from what Dell shipped with it but I put it on a USB drive since I didn't have any DVDs on hand at the time I tried this. I added nothing else so I can use this USB key on other machines and did no additional configuration like add XPS 8500 drivers and make it “special”. Don't buy the DVD from Dell if you run into this; download the 8.1 image from Microsoft and force it to listen.

I also kept the key on the root directory of the drive in case I need to put the fire out again should I need to reinstall on a basic text file.

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Nick será eternamente grato(a).
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