Saturday, September 21, 2013

[Guide] Installing Windows 8.1 from MSDN on DELL Latitude 10 Essentials tablet

The biggest changes in Windows 8.1 are coming to Metro interface and that is a notable upgrade for tablet users. But since Microsoft isn't releasing the update for another month, I was desperate. I wanted to try out the one available on MSDN.

I talked about how you can activate Windows 8.1 using your Windows 8 key in this post. But I didn't know what the key that DELL used in my tablet. They usually paste a sticker with the key on the body of the PC. But they didn't do that for my tablet. That's a good thing actually. That would have looked horrible. So I had to find a way to extract the key that they have used in the installation that shipped with the tablet.

The OEM key was easy to find. I used this VB Script. It saved a text file with the key and product ID in the same folder as the folder you ran the script from. (like below)
Product Name: Windows 8.1 Pro
Product ID: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
Installed Key: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
The other issue with the tablet was that I didn't want to break the recovery functionality. So I decided to install it as an update - "keep all my files and settings" option. Since I didn't have any applications installed (not apps), I wouldn't have any dangling folders in Program Files. Windows folder will be backed up as Windows.old though. You cannot delete it the normal way. You have to use Disk Cleanup to get rid of Windows.old and other setup related file.

Remember, you still cannot install Windows 8.1 with your Windows 8 key. So you have to use the method 1 of this post to install with the default Windows 8.1 key, then change the key to the one you extracted from the VB Script (i.e. the Windows 8.1 key).

That worked really well!

In case you forgot to extract the OEM key before upgrading, you might still be able to find the OEM key. The key is usually embedded in BIOS, and you "should be able to" read it using this application, but it didn't work for me on my tablet. (Go to this link and read the part from "But if not". I could not get it to read the ACPI tables. So in that case, you can use Recovery or Refresh to go back to the original state, and use the VB Script to extract the OEM key.

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