Clean Install Windows 8.1 in SSD after Cloning from HDD- Windows OS Partition Problems


Oct 8, 2014
Hello everyone,

I have seen this question come up before, but the answers got convoluted at times. Also, I believe my situation is a little different than the previous posts.

I have a new laptop with no optical drive. Windows 8.1 came pre-installed in the laptop without a CD or product key; however I ran Belarc's software to presumably find the OEM OS product key (which I'm told is different than retail OS product key). I upgraded the original 1TB HDD to a Samsung 840 Pro SSD. I used Samsung's data migration software, and it did a decent job in cloning over all the data, including Windows 8.1 OS to my SSD.

However, I wish to reinstall Windows 8.1 in my SSD. It would be ideal to "Clean all data and reinstall Windows", but I cannot; I get the dreaded "Cannot find recovery environment- insert your installation media, etc.".

I have read that cloning the old HDD to the SSD will break the Windows recovery partition in the SSD.

Attached is the disk partition.

Disk 0 is the SSD, and Disk 1 is the original HDD plugged in externally to the USB port.

Here is the picture of the command prompt with the list of partitions.

I tried setting each of the 4 as the "recovery" partition, and went to try to reset all data and reinstall Windows, and they all failed.

I think the root of the problem is that my computer cannot locate where the recovery partition specifically is. Also, I read online about how certain files have to be together in the partition in order for the computer to recognize and use the recovery partition to reinstall Windows.

I cannot create a OS partition to a USB either; I get an error saying "We can't create a recovery drive on this PC, some required files are missing, etc". Additionally, I must reiterate that the laptop does not have an optical drive.

Please guide me on how I can fix this problem. I would love to do a fresh reinstall of Windows 8.1 on my SSD.

Thank you very much to the entire community in advance!

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