Posted by Dave Thijssen Wednesday 7 November 2012

Purchase a new laptop today and it probably ships with Windows 8 pre-installed. Not many manufacturers nowadays ship their product with an original OS installation CD/DVD. Instead they place a factory image on a hidden partition and encourage you to create restore media yourself. This is true for Dell, HP, and Toshiba.
For anyone, like me, who likes to modify systems or reinstall the operating system to get a clean bloatware-free setup, this poses some challenges. Especially if you want a fully functional, activated  OS in the end. In the past I had no real problems with this: you'd just get an OEM-version of Windows somewhere, format, reinstall, spend a few hours finding drivers and you're set. Normally there's an OEM-sticker with the product key on the bottom or side of the machine. Unfortunately on this Toshiba Satellite C870-17R no product key was included anywhere.

In the end these were the steps I took to get to a working result:
  1. Create recovery media using the preinstalled Toshiba Software (2 DVD's).
  2. Replace the hard drive with new one (an SSD in my case). Video instructions
  3. Boot to the first recovery DVD.
  4. Start the Toshiba Recovery Wizard.*
  5. Follow the mini-setup.
  6. Remove all unnecessary Toshiba software manually.
* Don't go into the advanced system and choose to restore a "factory default image" from there. It will just give you an error message saying there's a recovery partition missing.

Please note that Toshiba does not support the replacement of the hard drive. Adding memory is just fine, but if you mess with their bloatware and hidden restore partitions you're on your own. Of course you can simply shelve your original HDD and put it back should it be necessary. No warranty void stickers are damaged during the above process.

It's still worth it. Gotta love this boot time:

Also note this includes the complete BIOS POST. Loading Windows to the lock-screen actually takes about 2 seconds!

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