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What you need to know about Windows 8.1 when you have a hard drive failure.

by Tom Valdez  July 23, 2015

Owner / Mountain Peak Computers


A while back we had a client with a Windows 8.1 laptop that had a bad hard drive.  She had not created the recovery disks that windows allows you to do online.  Her laptop was not bootable when we received it for repair. 


Here is the kicker, you do not get a software key when you purchase most new laptop that come with Windows 8.1.  So there is no way to reinstall from OEM disks unless you have a software key and most laptops are being shipped without the key to reinstall.


So what does that mean to my client or you?  You will need to create the reinstall disks right away just in case you have a hard drive failure.  For my client it was to late.  she had not created the disks before the failure.


You can go to this link on Microsoft site to create the install recovery disks.  This disk will only work on your laptop and can't be transferred to another laptop or desktop PC without a software key.


You will need at least 1 blank DVD disks or a 4GB USB 3.0 flash drive.  Flash drives are relatively inexpensive now a days at Microcenter for $3.99.  It is a lot faster using a usb flash drive.


So when your hard drive fails you have two options if you had not created the reinstall disks, one is to pay $125 for Windows 8.1 OEM disk with software key, new SSD hard drive $99, from Mountain Peak Computers and pay $95 in labor to install the licensed copy of Windows 8.1 on your new SSD hard drive.  Total of cost with new software key $319 plus tax.  But if you created the install disks before the hard drive failure then it would cost just $194 for just the SSD hard drive and labor.  Second option is to go buy a new laptop computer, starting at $399. (prices differ from website because of our mark up.)


So what do you think my client said about not having a reinstall key for Windows 8.1?  She said that why would she have to pay for Windows 8.1 again when she paid for it when she purchased the laptop new.  So I explained it to her just as I have explained it to you.  Once the hard drive fails you can't create the reinstall disks.  So plan ahead and be proactive.


We recovered her data and put it on a 8GB USB flash drive  The next day we returned her laptop to her home in Highlands Ranch Colorado


Mountain Peak Computers recommends that you check to see if you have a Windows 8.1 software key on your current laptop.  If you have problems locating your software key, remove your battery and check to see if it is located there.  If you can't find one then you didn't purchase a software key with your laptop.  Call us and we can help you further.


If you have a similar problem or any other computer problem you can give Mountain Peak Computers a call at 303-400-4000 for the personal service you demand and we can provide.