Question Can I load Win8.1 on hard drive using a 2nd running hard drive

Sep 22, 2020
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I hope this is the correct forum. I did not see a Win8 forum.
I have a laptop that I have somehow wiped the hard drive while working on it. When I try to boot it I get "No Operating System Found". I checked that the hard drive was still connected. Removed hard drive and connected it to 2nd laptop via USB. It brings up the hard drive but shows it empty. 1st laptop is (was) running Win8.1, the 2nd laptop is running Win7. Put laptop back together and tried to get into BIOS and have not been able to. The only thing I get is the No Operating System message. It is an Acer and I have tried tapping, holding, and cussing the F2 button while powering on. I have tried to get to the boot menu and the Windows repair menu. I have tried F2, F8, F12, DEL, plus others that I have seen mentioned in way too many forums.
I want to know if I can load Win8.1 on the 1st laptop's hard drive when it is connected to the 2nd laptop via USB. I have a bootable ISO of Win8.1 loaded on a thumb drive via Windows USB/DVD download tool. Is this possible.
Thank you in advance for helping me on this.
Aaron
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Try F1 or Esc. Probably they won't work, but I've run into some Acer systems in the past that were not the standard F2 or Delete.

More likely, this is the problem.

I know this thread is over a year old, but I actually got the same notebook from a friend and I'm reusing it as as NAS, and I was facing the same problem.
My first attempt was unplugging ac, battery, and bios battery (at least 24h) but it didn't resolve anything.
Then I discovered why: UEFI and FastBoot are enabled, so your keyboard-interactions won't work @ startup. So what is starting up? The Windows BootManager. Then I tried following: When you insert a windows installation media (DVD/USB) it WILL start this one up.
When you get so far, try a FirmwareRepair (not necessarily) because /at least for me/ after inserting the Installation Media (!mportant that it is from Windows) I could enter the BIOS again, then changing from UEFI to Legacy/FastBoot-Disabled
Hope this helps anyone who's facing the same problem
cheers!
If you can find the information, and are comfortable with doing so, you might be able to disconnect the CMOS battery to reset the BIOS and disable the fast boot option. Probably that is going to be beyond most people however as on most notebooks it requires extensive disassembly.

Better would be to simply create new installation media and do a clean install since you say the drive is already wiped so anything on it is gone anyway.

Do you have the sticker on your unit with the Windows 8 product key still, or do you know the product key (Noted somewhere)? If not, it may not matter anyhow. It's been a while since I installed Windows 10 on a system that didn't just automatically apply a digital entitlement to any system that was previously running an activated version of 7 or 8. Still, it would be good if you have it.
 
Sep 22, 2020
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Thank you for your response. I tried the ESC and F! as suggested and had no joy. I disassembled the laptop and removed the CMOS battery for 7 minutes. No change. (You were correct about the extensive disassembly. The battery was under the motherboard that you had to remove from above). Still cannot access BIOS. I know that the keyboard is working because I can see the No Operating System Found blinking whenever I hit any key. (There was never a beep when I hit the keys. Interesting) I hooked up a brand new external USB keyboard and tried it also with the same results.
There is no product key sticker on this laptop, weird. There is only a sticker showing Windows 8 came installed. I downloaded a Windows 8.1 bootable ISO to a thumb drive and am willing to purchase a product key. I cannot get the system to boot to the thumb drive. I would love any other ideas.

Thanks
Aaron
 
Sep 22, 2020
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My next step will be making a bootable Win8.1 DVD using MS Windows USB/DVD Download Tool and trying to boot to that. It will be this evening that I try this because my dad called and needs my help and when the guy that gave you life and raised you asks for help, you help. :)
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Windows 8.1 is going to be end of life before you know it. Windows 10's free upgrade is STILL in effect, and that is what I would try before trying anything else. If your system has a valid Windows 8.1 activation on file with Microsoft then it SHOULD automatically activate once you install Windows 10. During the installation, contrary to my guide, be sure to NOT create a Microsoft account, yet, or log in with one during the installation, and also decline to connect to the internet. There will be options on the lower left to ignore the internet connection. You can enable that later after the installation is complete.

For now we want to ONLY do an installation with a LOCAL account, and no internet, regardless of any message you receive to the contrary. After the installation is complete, if you can even DO the installation, you can enable the internet connection. So during the installation do not connect any LAN cable and do not log into any wireless options. You can do that later.

If your system will activate with Windows 8.1 without entering a product key, it should do so with Windows 10, which is a much better option anyhow for a number of reasons, and probably it is MORE likely to activate than with an 8.1 installation.


Keep in mind though, this might actually be a hard drive issue.
 
Sep 22, 2020
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Very cool. Will try the Win10 install 1st. I had asked MS sales person and they said that the free upgrade was done and over with and (of course) tried to sell me a copy. Downloading now.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
👍

For future reference, don't EVER ask a "sales person" or even one of the "tech repair geeks" at any of the stores or anywhere for that matter, for advice on hardware, repairs or software. Most of them had their last job at Taco bell, and the other half come here to ask for advice that they then completely discombobulate and pass on to you.

Just come here if you have questions and if I don't know the answer I'll get somebody who does. If none of us do, then it's a conundrum indeed, but we'll still try to figure it out with you.
 
Sep 22, 2020
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Yep. Most of those "technicians" get paid to upsell. Dumb moment. Sorry about the delay. Spent most of the day without electricity. Tried it on original hard drive using a DVD and it still gave "operating system not found". Getting new hdd to try. Thank you again for your patience.
 
Sep 22, 2020
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Not sure why I can't read the drive when connected externally. I'm guessing something is wrong with the Boot Manager. I can't get to the Windows repair using F8.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I don't think you have a drive problem. I think you have a motherboard storage controller problem and the fact that your laptop is a second Gen Intel i3 based system that is about 9 years old makes it not just possible, but even likely, that there is a motherboard or other internal related issue.

It's certainly possible that something has been affected on the drive but all the partitions look healthy to me. The fact that you can't load installer media from USB OR Optical disk drive, can't access the BIOS, and can't boot the OS which is clearly installed on the drive still, tells me that the drive itself is not the problem.

It might simply be time to retire the old dog.
 
Possible reasons:
  1. Boot mode change from UEFI to legacy. Since windows is installed in UEFI, such change makes system unbootable.
  2. Borked bootloader partition.
  3. Some other issue with the drive.
If we could see full Disk Management screenshot, it would be possible to tell, if windows partition is indeed empty (probably isn't). Currently we see only capacity.
 
Sep 22, 2020
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I'm guessing this will show what SkyNetRising wants to see.
View: https://imgur.com/a/Q6mJiEK
(I keep getting something went wrong message when I try to insert image).

I'm thinking that Darkbreeze is correct about the motherboard being bad. Luckily I ordered a replacement a little while back when I found one for under $30. It 's on the way. I'll let you know what happens. Thank you again for your time and advice.
 

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