My question is this: The laptop came pre-installed with Windows 8; if I was to replace the HDD, would I be able to re-install Windows 8 without purchasing a new CD and key? The only thing we have for it is the Windows 8 repair disk and we can't access the HDD.
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The product key is built into your laptops motherboard, you don't need to enter anything and it will activate automatically when you are online.
If your laptop did not come with a restore disk and you did not make a set while it was new, you should be able to contact Asus and order a restore disk for a nominal fee.