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Windows 10 recovery image for Surface Pro 3

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
you can do a clean installation when installing win10 the first time. Create a usb key of windows from microsoft, from win 8.1 start the installation procedure that is on the usb key, don't enter a key, and pick clean installation.

see: http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-quietly-rewrites-its-activation-rules-for-windows-10/
Not quite that simple...

"*Your goal is* to get to the screen with this full range of options:"
clean-install.jpg
This is the Recovery Screen.
How we got here with these options is not clear.
Let the games begin...
Sometimes what they don't tell you is more important than what they do tell you.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
What you describe is directly refuted by the author of the article who had this to say:
I've tested this scenario on multiple machines, and the result has been consistent:

Step 1: I booted from Windows 10 installation media, a USB flash drive prepared by the Windows 10 Media Creation tool, and tried a clean install on a system that had never been activated for Windows 10. I skipped both prompts to enter a product key. Result? My system failed activation.

To reiterate: Clean Installation would NOT Activate on a system that had never been activated i.e. Upgraded.

Step 2: I reset the machine with its original, activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and then ran the Windows 10 online upgrade. At the end of the process, I confirmed that Windows 10 was properly activated.​

Step 3: I then wiped the hard drive clean and used the exact same media as in Step 1 to do a clean install of Windows 10. As before, I skipped the product key entry. I used a Microsoft account in one test and used a local account in another. After the installation was complete, the system showed that it had a properly activated copy of Windows 10.​

To reiterate: Once it's been upgraded and activated you can do a clean install thereafter without a product key and it will activate.

LATER he alludes to doing a Clean Install if started from the running prior version of Windows and getting to a specific screen with Full set of options.

For those who are anxious to do a clean install, here's the trick:​

Don't do the online upgrade.​

Instead, from your current, activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, download the Windows 10 ISO file for the corresponding edition (Home or Pro), or create a bootable USB flash drive. Without exiting your current Windows version, double-click the ISO to mount it as a virtual DVD (or open the USB flash drive with installation media) and then double-click Setup.​

Your goal is to get to the screen with this full range of options:
Parsing the last sentence "Your goal" implies a divergence from the usual path. "full range of options" implies you might get there without all options present and be unable to select "Nothing". In fact you would not use that language unless it was a very real and likely occurrence.

However that's not the method you described. According to the article you linked, the only way you can do what you said is to have at some prior point Upgraded. Even if you subsequently restored the prior OS the W10 key would be stored online already.

So to clarify ... which method did you use? and is your installation "Activated"?
 

lhauser

Active Member
I haven't looked at this yet, but I'm wondering if the product key I can find when running SIW (the system information utility) is the "real" activation key. That is, if I did a clean install and *didn't* choose to skip entering the product key, then used the key I'd found with SIW, would I be activated or not? I guess it's moot, since I've successfully upgraded my SP3 to Win10.
 

leeshor

Well-Known Member
You can do a clean install after the upgrade but you "must" skip the key entry. If it activated after the upgrade it will activate without using a key.
 

RottenMutt

Member
What you describe is directly refuted by the author of the article who had this to say:
I've tested this scenario on multiple machines, and the result has been consistent:

Step 1: I booted from Windows 10 installation media, a USB flash drive prepared by the Windows 10 Media Creation tool, and tried a clean install on a system that had never been activated for Windows 10. I skipped both prompts to enter a product key. Result? My system failed activation.
wow, wow, wow... you don't BOOT FROM WINDOWS 10 INSTALLATION MEDIA! FROM WINDOWS 7 OR 8/8.1 RUN THE WINDOWS INSTALLATION FILE ON THE WINDOWS INSTALLATION MEDIA.....

please go back and read post 12 "from win 8.1 start the installation procedure that is on the usb key"
 

Nicola

Member
Well, I kind of foretold my future.
I wanted to have a clean partition layout with Win10 and I decided to do below:
  • restore SP3 with the win8.1 image (the one downloadable)
  • upgrade to Win 10 (I noticed the recovery partition was emptied by the upgrade)
  • upgrade to latest 10525
but the upgrade failed.
Then I tried to restore the previous version but it said it was impossible.
Then I tried to reset but it complained it could not access the restore data (probably the partition was dead)
When I then tried to fix the boot failure I ended up with a completely unusable SP3 (it was complaining about missing device, probably because it could not access the disk anymore)
Without another pc, I couldn't do anything, while with a dedicated recovery partition all could have been solved easily.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Well, I kind of foretold my future.
I wanted to have a clean partition layout with Win10 and I decided to do below:
  • restore SP3 with the win8.1 image (the one downloadable)
  • upgrade to Win 10 (I noticed the recovery partition was emptied by the upgrade)
  • upgrade to latest 10525
but the upgrade failed.
Then I tried to restore the previous version but it said it was impossible.
Then I tried to reset but it complained it could not access the restore data (probably the partition was dead)
When I then tried to fix the boot failure I ended up with a completely unusable SP3 (it was complaining about missing device, probably because it could not access the disk anymore)
Without another pc, I couldn't do anything, while with a dedicated recovery partition all could have been solved easily.
my observations were that Disk Management showed the partitions as empty or 100% free space when in fact they are not.
don't know what happened to you... but I tested all the recovery scenarios after successfully upgrading. Obviously as always, shat happens. :)

Upgrade observations and post upgrade Recovery Options | Microsoft Surface Forums
 

Nicola

Member
my observations were that Disk Management showed the partitions as empty or 100% free space when in fact they are not.
don't know what happened to you... but I tested all the recovery scenarios after successfully upgrading. Obviously as always, shat happens. :)

Upgrade observations and post upgrade Recovery Options | Microsoft Surface Forums
Nope, the partition was actually emptied. Only few files were left but the recovery files were gone (from the top of my mind, I remember they were 2, extension .swr, total size around 4GB). The total size of file left was around 300MB (similar to the WinRE partition)
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Nope, the partition was actually emptied. Only few files were left but the recovery files were gone (from the top of my mind, I remember they were 2, extension .swr, total size around 4GB). The total size of file left was around 300MB (similar to the WinRE partition)
Upgrade does add a partition between the Original recovery partition and the Windows Partition that contains the W10 equivalent of Win Re Tools partition. Basically it cuts 450MB off the Windows partition to make the new W10 Tools partition.

How much free space did you have on C: when you started?
 
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