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Reinstalling Windows 8 to a new hard drive

Hi, I apologise if this question has been asked before but I couldn't find it online despite hours of searching.

I'm a bit of a noob to most of this stuff so when you're answering I'd really appreciate that you treat me as a baby in this situation, ergo an empty vessel

Okay, so basically 2 days ago my hard drive suddenly failed and when I tried to turn my PC back on the BIOS (I assume) loaded up saying "no bootable image found". However since then I have been able to get my PC to come on however it keeps crashing and is occasionally VERY slow, so I'm certain that my hard drive needs replaced. Windows informed me today of said failure and it's asking me to make a backup (which as of writing is at 31%).

So I have a few questions.

1. When I buy my new hard drive do I need to buy a Windows 8 disc? The laptop (a HP ProBook 4540s) apparently has the Windows 8 key installed to the BIOS.

2. Does the key being in the BIOS mean I just have to install the new hard drive and then it will automatically detect said key and begin installation of Windows 8?

3. Or do I connect my external hard drive (which I'm saving the backup too) and then the new hard drive will recognise this and "restore" said data, since the license key will have been detected in the BIOS?

4. Is there anything else I need to do/know?

Thanks for any help, if you need any more information please ask, and once again I apologise if this has been asked before, but hardware related issues are completely alien to me.
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  1. The Product Key is not in the BIOS, it should be printed on a sticker on the underside of your laptop together with the Windows version. In Windows, it's converted in to an ID string and written to the registry.

    I assume you didn't make any factory recovery discs or a back-up image.

    In that case, contact HP and ask if they can send you a set of recovery discs for your laptop model. There will be a small charge but much cheaper than buying a retail copy of Windows, plus the factory recovery discs will install all the required drivers, something you would have to do manually (from HP's website) if you install a retail copy.

    You won't need to use the Product Key either if you install from the recovery discs.

    If you end up having to buy a retail copy, a new product key is supplied with it, use that key to install and ignore the key printed underneath the laptop which is only valid for the factory pre-installed version.
  2. Best answer
    harveycanis said:
    Hi, I apologise if this question has been asked before but I couldn't find it online despite hours of searching.

    I'm a bit of a noob to most of this stuff so when you're answering I'd really appreciate that you treat me as a baby in this situation, ergo an empty vessel

    Okay, so basically 2 days ago my hard drive suddenly failed and when I tried to turn my PC back on the BIOS (I assume) loaded up saying "no bootable image found". However since then I have been able to get my PC to come on however it keeps crashing and is occasionally VERY slow, so I'm certain that my hard drive needs replaced. Windows informed me today of said failure and it's asking me to make a backup (which as of writing is at 31%).

    So I have a few questions.

    1. When I buy my new hard drive do I need to buy a Windows 8 disc? The laptop (a HP ProBook 4540s) apparently has the Windows 8 key installed to the BIOS.

    2. Does the key being in the BIOS mean I just have to install the new hard drive and then it will automatically detect said key and begin installation of Windows 8?

    3. Or do I connect my external hard drive (which I'm saving the backup too) and then the new hard drive will recognise this and "restore" said data, since the license key will have been detected in the BIOS?

    4. Is there anything else I need to do/know?

    Thanks for any help, if you need any more information please ask, and once again I apologise if this has been asked before, but hardware related issues are completely alien to me.

    Your product key is tied to your laptop, so you can reinstall it. You can format your drive and install Windows or just buy a new drive.
  3. Thanks for both of your replies and sorry for taking so long to respond, I thought I'd be getting email notifications of your responses but obviously that wasn't the case.

    For more clarification, by the key being installed in the BIOS, I meant this http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33642_7-57554240-292/windows-8-moves-to-bios-based-product-keys/.

    I've contacted HP and they're sending me some recovery discs (with no charge, which is lovely!) however rather than replace the hard drive, I've taken some advice from my Grandad (a retired computer engineer) and I'm just going to claim on my insurance.

    However in future, if I'm allowed my old laptop back I may buy a new hard drive and use it as a backup laptop. My system is SATA and the hard disk is 2.5", so when purchasing a new one does the new hard drive have to match just those specs (SATA and 2.5") or are there other areas which are important for compatibility? If it's relevant, my current broken hard disk is the Toshiba MQ01ABD075, does the replacement have to be exactly the same?

    Thank again for your help. :)
  4. harveycanis said:
    Thanks for both of your replies and sorry for taking so long to respond, I thought I'd be getting email notifications of your responses but obviously that wasn't the case.

    For more clarification, by the key being installed in the BIOS, I meant this http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33642_7-57554240-292/windows-8-moves-to-bios-based-product-keys/.

    I've contacted HP and they're sending me some recovery discs (with no charge, which is lovely!) however rather than replace the hard drive, I've taken some advice from my Grandad (a retired computer engineer) and I'm just going to claim on my insurance.

    However in future, if I'm allowed my old laptop back I may buy a new hard drive and use it as a backup laptop. My system is SATA and the hard disk is 2.5", so when purchasing a new one does the new hard drive have to match just those specs (SATA and 2.5") or are there other areas which are important for compatibility? If it's relevant, my current broken hard disk is the Toshiba MQ01ABD075, does the replacement have to be exactly the same?

    Thank again for your help. :)

    No problem. Don't forget to select a Best Answer:)
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