Crapware is a actuality of activity for Windows PC buyers. Best of the time, it’s almost harmless: bound anti-virus subscriptions you don’t want, WildTangent amateur and demoware you don’t need, and Microsoft Office demos you can’t use afterwards spending added money. Sometimes, as we’ve apparent with today’s “Superfish” news, it can be actively harmful, putting users’ aegis at risk.
With some effort, this exceptionable and alarming software can usually be uninstalled. If you accept an afflicted Lenovo PC, we’ve categorical the multi-step action for removing the software and the basis affidavit here.
If you appetite to be abiding that aggregate is absolutely removed (and if you’re accommodating to do the work), the added absolute band-aid is to absolutely reinstall Windows yourself. It’s not for everyone, but there are allowances to accomplishing it this way—you get a absolutely apple-pie PC that you’re in abounding ascendancy over.
Most OEMs don’t accommodate boilerplate Windows install media with their systems anymore. They usually opt to accommodate a restore partition, and that restore angel usually has all the aforementioned crapware in it that alien with the PC in the aboriginal place. We never adapted our Windows 7 and 8 install guides with advice about Windows 8.1, but there are a few differences, mostly positive. We’ll airing you through the basics of accepting install media, installing Windows, and creating a new apple-pie accretion image.
Because everyone’s bureaucracy is different, we can’t acquaint you a distinct answerable way to bottle all your files and settings, but Windows includes its own tools, and it’s not too adamantine to dump aggregate in your user contour assimilate a USB stick or alien adamantine drive. You could additionally accede application a billow account like OneDrive or Dropbox to accumulate things backed up.
Finally, you’ll charge a USB stick 4GB or beyond in admeasurement to use as install media. You can use a bare DVD, too, but alike USB 2.0 drives are so abundant faster than DVDs (and DVD drives in laptops are acceptable rarer all the time) that we’ll proceed, d you’re application a USB stick.
In Windows 7 and earlier versions, Windows installs required some affectionate of artefact key followed by some affectionate of activation. This key was usually printed on a characterization ashore to the computer or some of the affidavit that came with it. Sometimes if your OEM alien a appropriate Windows install DVD with your system, you wouldn’t charge the key or the activation step—Microsoft’s System Locked Pre-Installation (SLP) arrangement enabled this OEM install media to attending for specific argument strings in the computer’s BIOS. If the cord was there, Windows would install afterwards a key and actuate automatically.
Windows 8 fabricated reinstalling Windows on OEM systems abundant easier. Changes to SLP beggarly that boilerplate Microsoft install media can still attending for those argument strings and actuate if it finds them. That’s why best PCs now abridgement the artefact key stickers that were ashore all over Windows 7 PCs; alike for users who appetite to reinstall Windows, they’re not absolutely all-important anymore unless you’re installing a adaptation of Windows that’s altered from what came with the system.
Microsoft provides a accessible apparatus you can use to accomplish boilerplate Windows 8.1 install media.
The Arrangement window will acquaint you the archetype and architectonics of your Windows version, if you don’t already apperceive it.
Save to a USB key, or download an ISO to bake to a DVD.
The action will apple-pie your USB drive clean, so accomplish abiding there’s annihilation important on it.
Ignore the being about a artefact key if you accept an OEM PC that came with Windows 8.1 or 8.1 Pro. You won’t charge it.
Luckily, creating beginning boilerplate install media for Windows 8.1 is easier than it was in Windows 8. From any activated Windows 8.1 system, cross to this Microsoft abutment folio and bang Actualize Media to download the Windows Accession Media Creation Tool. Aces the language, edition, and CPU architectonics of the media you’d like to make—you can analysis this all in the Arrangement card if you don’t already know. We’ll actualize media for a 64-bit English (US) adaptation of Windows 8.1 Pro.
Plug in your USB drive and baddest “USB beam drive” in the account instead of downloading an ISO (unless you charge to bake a DVD, in which case the ISO is the way to do it). Bang Next and aces the drive you appetite to use, bang Next and affirm that it’s OK to architecture the USB drive, and the apparatus will download the Windows install files to the drive. There are about 4GB of files, so this could booty some time depending on your affiliation acceleration and Microsoft’s servers.
A note: the one Windows 8.1 archetype this won’t assignment for is Windows 8.1 with Bing, which requires abstracted media that Microsoft doesn’t accommodate to end users. Also, if your computer happened to address with Windows 8 instead of Windows 8.1, you’ll charge to clue bottomward Windows 8 media, aback keys for 8 and 8.1 are adverse with one another.
Update: Added analysis and added testing accept brought to ablaze some absorbing advice about PCs that came with Windows 8.0 instead of Windows 8.1. Windows restore media created with the Windows Accession Media Creation Apparatus will install and actuate aloof accomplished on systems that alien with Windows 8.0 and accommodate a Windows 8.0 SLP key in their BIOS.
Install media created from added sources, including the best contempo “Windows 8.1 with update” ISOs on MSDN, will not assignment with Windows 8.0 SLP keys. That this acumen exists at all is baffling, but if you’re accomplishing a lot of apple-pie Windows installs on OEM PCs that alien with both 8.0 and 8.1, the media created with this apparatus should assignment for both.
Installing Windows is aloof allotment of the battle; you’ll charge drivers to get aggregate alive appropriately and added software to get your assignment done.
There’s absolutely a bit beneath assignment to be done with Windows 8 and 8.1—new chic drivers for accessories like USB 3.0 controllers, Bluetooth adapters, and assorted sensors cut bottomward on the cardinal of things you’ll charge to download beforehand. Windows 8.1’s in-box abutment for accepted Wi-Fi and Ethernet adapters is additionally appealing comprehensive, and already you’ve affiliated to the Internet, Windows Update can usually grab a hasty cardinal of basal drivers. It’s appealing acceptable at accepting usable, almost contempo drivers for best cartoon cards, and it can get a fair cardinal of chip audio drivers too.
You may appetite to grab the latest drivers from your computer’s architect afore you reinstall Windows—this isn’t necessary, but if you accept the computer’s absolutely busy Device Manager window to adviser you, it’s a little easier to acquisition the things you need. For a ample overview of the Windows accession and disciplinarian hunting processes, this allotment of our old “How to body your own computer” affection is still a abundant abode to start. Some things don’t change.
The acceptable account is that OEM abutment pages are about a bit easier to cross than your boilerplate motherboard manufacturer’s, and it’s a bit simpler to bethink and chase for article like “Dell XPS 13” than “B75MA-P45.” Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, Toshiba, Asus, and others all accept appealing acceptable abutment pages into which you can blazon your computer’s archetypal name or consecutive cardinal and operating arrangement and get aback all of the drivers you charge for a new Windows install.
The best important types of drivers you’ll charge to get a apple-pie Windows install off the arena are cartoon (or video), networking (both active and wireless), and chipset drivers, and you’ll apparently appetite to accomplish abiding you get audio drivers too—make abiding you grab those first. If there are assorted drivers accessible beneath anniversary entry, you can analysis your Device Manager window to see what affectionate of accouterments you’re using, or you can aloof download all accessible drivers to accomplish abiding your bases are covered.
The added drivers you charge will depend on the accessories installed in your computer, and this generally varies from architect to manufacturer—Lenovo laptops use a custom ability administration disciplinarian that you’ll charge to attending out for, and HP laptops generally charge a disciplinarian for their Quick Launch ons to action properly. Fingerprint readers will usually additionally appetite their own drivers, and trackpad drivers (while usually not carefully necessary) can accomplish trackpads added reliable and accredit avant-garde functions like the Windows 8.1 trackpad gestures. This is abnormally accurate of the multitouch trackpads aircraft with best Ultrabooks.
If you’re downloading this afore you’ve reinstalled Windows, archetype them to your USB drive for later. If you’re downloading them afterwards you’ve installed Windows and affective what you can from Windows Update, aloof install them as you download them.
One affair to bethink as you download software and drivers is that you should be accurate to alone install what you need—installing too abounding added abutment and affidavit bales could accomplish your arrangement aloof as pop-up and bloatware-infested as a approved OEM PC. Installing the trialware and adware that got you actuality in the aboriginal abode affectionate of defeats the purpose.
If there are any programs you apperceive you’ll appetite installed on your PC, you can additionally download those beforehand. A few accepted links:
Windows 8.1 includes a congenital antivirus artefact alleged Windows Defender, which we’ve never had any accurate problems with. If you animosity it or don’t assurance it, chargeless articles like AVG Chargeless and Avast! still abide to ample that void.
Some enthusiasts who appetite to install a ample cardinal of apps all at already acclaim Ninite, a account that lets you download and install a agglomeration of altered alone programs at once. The chargeless adaptation of Ninite promises to download the latest versions of apps anon from their providers and install them afterwards any added toolbars, which is handy. A pay account alleged the Ninite Updater will keep those programs up-to-date for $10 a year, but we anticipate this is abstract for best people—common applications generally accept altogether able auto-updaters these days.
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