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How to: Recover Stock Windows 8 on an Acer Iconia W700 Tablet

sirixamosirixamo Posts: 3Member

Hey guys, after messing around with the recovery disks for ages for my tablet and getting nowhere (getting bounced back and forth between the UEFI and Legacy bioses), I decided to pursue another solution for installing Windows on the tablet. You cannot install a stock Windows 8 Pro disk or USB drive, because the CD Key for Win8 is hardcoded into the tablet. You can however install an OEM version, and I was able to get it working. Here's what you need to do:


Download the OEM version of Windows 8, I doubt I can link it for you but here's the information you need:


Windows 8 RTM English, 64-bit (x64)
Size: 3.33 GB SHA-1: 1CE53AD5F60419CF04A715CF3233F247E48BEEC4
Download: en_windows_8_x64_dvd_915440.iso


(make sure, whichever source you get windows from, you verify the SHA-1, you can find programs to do that via Google just look for an MD5 SHA utility).


Once you have your file, create a bootable USB drive (thousands of tutorials online) and copy the contents of the ISO onto the drive.


Now, boot your Tablet into BIOS (hold power+windows key for about 4 seconds when booting). Go down to the 'boot' option and switch to Legacy BIOS mode. Make sure your USB drive is before your HDD in the boot order. Save and Exit the bios.


It should reboot and install Windows 8 as expected, HOWEVER, you may have a serious issue with graphics once it finishes installing the files (I could only use about half the screen). This is remedied by simply installing the VGA drivers from Acer's support site, but it might be a bit tricky to do if you do not have an external monitor and some type of input device (it is doable though, I did it with just the tablet, but I had to switch from portrait to landscape a few times to get different parts of the screen to show). Don't bother changing the resolution, that won't fix it.


Install all the other drivers from support (Wifi for instance won't work, so you need to have another computer to get the drivers on, but presumably you did for the USB drive anyway). Other than that, system runs great, and there is absolutely 0 bloatware!


  • atomickarmaatomickarma Posts: 8Member

    This is really useful! I've screengrabbed for posterity Smiley Happy


  • micmic Posts: 22Member

    op thanks alot for the guide. i have it plain vanilla win 8 stock running. the process of installing was fast from beginning to start screen only took 15 min. acer process recovery took almost 2hrs. so if you are type of people like to do clean install frequently or don't like preinstalled apps, or have lost your recovery dvd, or don't have external dvd drive and like stock win 8, this process is for you. on the side note, i have my boot as uefi option, secure boot disable. put the iso mount files on 4gb bootable usb, along with wifi driver, bluetooth and what ever your backup apps and you good to go. remember to backup important files first

  • pajapaja Posts: 20Member


    Downloaded iso with sha-1 as you describe but got message "the product key entered does not match any of ....."

    Is there any way to avoid this.



    hope not disturb some rules of the forum

  • padgettpadgett Posts: 3,263ACE Pathfinder

    You cannot open the System window (one with "Vew Basic Information"- right click on "computer" and select properties). At the bottom under "Windows Activation" should be "change product key".

  • farkingdomfarkingdom Posts: 13Member

    im experiencing product key error as well, can you guys help me?

  • pajapaja Posts: 20Member


    Tnx for the answer.

    Maybe I didn't explain well, it's happened at the beginnig of the windows setup, there is no other option.

    According your advice I look at, and in present(acer) windows 8 there is no "change product key", or I didn't

    understand you well.



  • micmic Posts: 22Member

    it never asked me to enter keys during setup. however you could use belarc advisor to extract the keys from w700. if you have not back up info regarding sn and the like, product keys, now is the time to back up if have not register the tab. write down info or better yet make a text doc and email them to your self for safe keeping. try that keys you extract from w700 see if it works. it should have no problem at all for the keys are burn within bios.

  • farkingdomfarkingdom Posts: 13Member

    I'm sorry but I don't quite get you there. After plugging in the USB, I set up the boot order and reboot into the Setup. At the Setup of Windows 8, it suddenly popped out an error saying 'The product key does not match any windows image available'. I cannot proceed with the Setup and force to reboot. It is weird since it never prompted me to key in any product key at all.

  • micmic Posts: 22Member

    i would double check the iso again. my guess is the image either is corrupted or different image like enterprise edition is on there. i download mine over mydigitallife forum. under windows 8 section, they have a sticky post name the officicial windows 8 repository . you would look for windows 8 rtm english 64 bit. its a 3.3gb. need a ***** client like utorrent to download btw.

    any edition keys may not match.

    this iso should have no problem with the keys.

    iso can have many images in there, depending on the install.wim file that mount from it under sourses

    use command dism to find out.

    anyway i would try download that iso and boot again. it should be fine

    this iso contains both win8 and win8 pro . install.wim index 1 is pro , index 2 is win 8



  • farkingdomfarkingdom Posts: 13Member

    I have looked up mydigitalforum and apparently the problem lies on the operating system itself. I'm currently running Windows 8 Single Language, my guess is that yours is the core Windows 8 instead? Because currently there is no official available ISO from MSDN for Core Single Language. The one op posted is for both Core and Pro only, and not Core SingleLanguage.


    What is the base operating system for your w700?

  • micmic Posts: 22Member

    my apology. i think they took down the ***** link

  • farkingdomfarkingdom Posts: 13Member

    Yes, they took it down recently due to violation of DMCA copyright law. I obtained mine from another source and checked the SHA-1 which matches the one from Op. I'm still wondering whether you are running Windows 8 Core or Windows 8 Core Single Language?


  • micmic Posts: 22Member

    yeah mine is win8 core. thats the iso i downloaded from the forum.

    the win8 core iso is that 3.3gb. its just depend what index is used. win8 pro is just an win8 core with addon in that iso.

    where did u download yours? how big is file?


  • farkingdomfarkingdom Posts: 13Member

    I downloaded mine from eh-hem piratebay since it's the only way I can think of. Yes it is 3.3GB.


    I think the problem is with my operating system which runs the Core Single Language instead. Therefore the Setup does not accept the product key which was embedded into the BIOS. I do wonder why did Acer separate so many models and put different operating system into each W700.

  • micmic Posts: 22Member

    yeah thats about right size. win 8 core should be in there. can u try from beginning again..using step 1-8 from this link


    don't need step 11


    i can't think of any other reason why keys not accepting. can you set bios to boot uefi, secure boot disable very important thanks. can turn it back to enable later once installed


  • pajapaja Posts: 20Member


    my version is Windows 8 single language

  • micmic Posts: 22Member

    yeah, its very unfortunate win8 sl keys won't play nice with the iso.  that iso is problaly a multi lang and microsoft lisence on sl has something to do with it, preventing from setup and activate. in anycase win8 sl is bad restriction on a new device, really locking it up and not upgradeable. even when bought win 7, its upgradeable but not win 8 sl. 


    when you bought the tab, is the advertise on it claim win 8 or win8 sl. if it claimed win 8 and you received win8 sl then something is wrong, buying something and receiving something else. you might contact acer for details. they probaly reason depend on markets and destination continents.


    in the mean time you could try this link to see if it can bypass keys. this is strictly for edcucation and testing purpose only




    i hope you have a external dvd drive to do clean install from acer dvd just in case something wrong or after installed keys don't activate. if you don't then don't try, i really don't want mess up your current operating system

  • pajapaja Posts: 20Member

    Hi mic

    I checked invoce, it was win 8 sl.

    I tried to subscribe but without success( I have windows live account)

    I bought external usb dvd drive to be on safe side.

    Is there any possibilities to have clean install(w/o Acer bloatware) with Acer recovery disks?


  • guitarmangguitarmang Posts: 18Member

    Hi mic,

    when you do a fresh install from a Windows 8 disc, do you delete all the partitions?



  • micmic Posts: 22Member

    hi guitarmang

    when i did clean install from iso, i did go to option advance and format the selected drive to install. otherwise the setup won't let windows install. after format next button becomes visible and go from there. have to pay attention because setup run quite fast like around 10 min mark to finish. you have 10 secs to unplug the usb otherwise windows will repeat the boot process again

    by 15 min you will reach start screeen. quite fast for clean install but a little behind clean installed android os

    anyways, i had many partitions by using easeus partition. i install main os on larger partition, smaller one i save backup files like wifi drivers, and large downloaded files so i don't need to download again, or you just could put them on bootable usb. so i would back up first.


    hi paja

    unfortunately when do clean install from acer recovery, all preintall apps will be there, more like a custome rom in term of android. the iso is like the clean google stock rom

    however, you could uninstall using app revo uninstaller. it will delete preinstall apps including files lelf over in registrey, by selecting advance method. you could save additional space probaly 1-2gb, no hog on memory or cpu. but backup important files like serial number (sn)in identity card or somthing like that for future use.

    i have been searching for win8 sl iso system builder but couldn't find any.


    you could try a reset on charm bar, general. it probably ask for a missing file which is install.wim. then can you plug in the usb with the iso to see if it go through. if not well we have to find another method like using dism or imagex command to mount install.wim index 2 which is win 8. the only thing i am afriad of is when somehow we could install win 8, windows could not activate, that is why external dvd come in


    or you could do reset by this guide


    on step 4, put index 2 instead of 1. one is for win8 pro

    back a while i did try 1 and running win8 pro but not activated. however eventually activated by kms method but thats another thing. it was just for testing purpose i did not need pro

  • pajapaja Posts: 20Member

    Hi mic

    thank you for your effort to explain and for advice.

    I will examine your advice and when have time test it.

    In this moment son and me are using it for job and boatmodelling.


  • sirixamosirixamo Posts: 3Member

    Thanks for being so helpful with the thread mic, I started it and then never came back. You've been spot on with all your advice!


    Unfortunately the Windows 8 product keys are VERY specific, you would need to find an ISO of the Single Language version of Windows 8 which I imagine is fairly difficult to do. You might be able to contact Microsoft for help, they might be able to sell or send you just an installation disk, but the restore disks Acer sends won't be of much help as they will just install the OS the way it was when you got it. Honestly if you use something like CCleaner getting the bloatware off of it isn't too hard, and I was able to get it pretty clean. I only did a fresh install because I was installing a new harddrive.

  • kmd1970kmd1970 Posts: 15Member

    Guys, If you install a fresh copy of windows 8 in LEGACY mode, you will not be able to boot again in UEFI mode. You will get a "No Bootable Device" error like I did. Your Acer will boot windows fine in legacy mode, but not in uefi mode.


    I've also noticed that Windows 8 setup will create 2 partitions in LEGACY mode and 4 partitions in UEFI mode (thats if you choose custom and delete/recreate all partitions during setup).


    Having those 2 partitions will cause the recovery DVD to fail and keep asking you to switch between LEGACY and UEFI modes. 


    To perfom a fresh windows 8 install or full recovery:


    1. You need a USB DVD drive. (I just bought one and returned it)

    2. Make sure BIOS is in UEFI mode.

    3. Move the USB DVD drive up as first boot device (you may have to reboot into BIOS a second time to change this)

    4. Turn off FAST boot in BIOS 

    5. Insert DVD into drive.

    6. Hold w700 power button down for 6 seconds

    7. Power ON.


    When the w700 recognises the DVD drive it will reboot and pause on the ACER logo screen. There is a slight delay while the w700 reads the DVD, so wait. (watch the DVD drive light and listen for it spinning).


    To do a full recovery you must first delete everything on the drive. I just used a windows 8 dvd:


     a. start the windows 8 setup:

     b. choose custom install

     c. delete all drive partitions

     d. create new drive partitions (there should now be 4)

     e. format largest partition

     f. exit the windows setup.

  • agoetz512agoetz512 Posts: 1Member
    Install Windows 8 in UEFI and you will not have the graphics glitch. Also the W700 will respond better.
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