Windows – re-install windows 8 into a partition on a OEM machine for dual boot (ubuntu)

multi-bootpartitioningUbuntuwindows 8

I have a queation, that I considered rather "simple" until I just didn't get to fix it :/ Since I'm assuming there will be more people facing this problem in the future, I'll just ask here.

I bought a windows 8 OEM machine with pre-installed system. Since I'm used to dual booting windows and ubuntu, I aimed to do so on this machine, too. I created a windows system image and a system repair disc, wiped the hard drive from ubuntu-live and installed ubuntu, which worked well even with a UEFI boot partition.

I left about 400GB of unpartitioned space and tried to install windows 8 into this space, using the system image, I created.

This is where the problem starts.

Windows 8 wants to re-partition the whole drive, in order to re-install the image.

Since i didn't get an installation dvd and the licence key is hard coded into UEFI, how can i install windows 8 into the free space without formatting the drive?

I hope somebody has figured out way to acomplish this. Thank you in advance.

Best Answer

Most OEM Windows DVDs (or the DVDs you can create from an OEM installation) can't install except by taking over the whole hard disk. Complain to the computer's manufacturer and to Microsoft about this. To work around this, you'll need a retail Windows DVD. Answers to this question provides some pointers on getting them.

As Ramhound said in his comment, the easier approach would have been to shrink the existing Windows installation and then install Linux in the free space. If you wanted to re-install Windows to remove OEM cruft, doing that first would have been easier.

One more caveat: Most Linuxes, I think including Ubuntu, create a FAT16 EFI System Partition (ESP). Unfortunately, the Windows 7 installer flakes out when it sees this. I don't know if Windows 8 is any better in that respect. If not, you'll need to either temporarily change the ESP's type code (done by removing its "boot flag" in parted or GParted or by changing the type code from EF00 to anything else in gdisk) or back up the ESP, create a fresh FAT32 filesystem on it, and restore the files. The latter option will also require you to edit /etc/fstab to refer to the ESP by its new serial number ("UUID"). If you wipe the disk, re-install Windows, and then re-install Ubuntu, you won't need to jump through these hoops, since Windows will create a new ESP itself.

As security for the future, once you get this worked out, I recommend you make a backup of your Windows installation using ntfsclone from Linux or whatever Windows backup tool you prefer. Also back up your ESP. That way, you'll be able to restore Windows from your backup rather than use the fundamentally flawed OEM recovery discs.

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