Mount the Windows 8 [retail] ISO image on your computer
Format a USB flash drive
Copy the Windows 8 files onto the USB flash drive
Make the USB flash drive bootable
Install Windows 8/8.1/10 from the bootable flash drive
Step 1: Mount the Windows 8 [retail] ISO image on your computer
Step 2: Format a USB flash drive
Open the command prompt; type the following commands:
b. list disk
^^ This will show all connected disks, their disk numbers, connection status and disk size.
Using the sizes, determine which disk is your USB drive and remember its disk number (i.e. Disk 2)
Type the following commands: (where X is the disk number of your USB drive)
a. sel dis X
c. cre par pri
e. format fs=fat32 Quick
<...> Step 3: Make the USB flash drive bootable
We just need to make the USB flash drive bootable before copying the files. To do this, you can use the Boot Sector Registration Tool (bootsect.exe) which is located in the boot folder of the Windows 8 ISO image.
Start a Command Prompt as an Administrator and CHDIR into the boot folder of the Windows 8 ISO image, e.g. I:\boot where I:\ is the drive where the ISO image is mounted
Type bootsect /nt60 k: /* where k: is the drive assigned to the USB flash drive */
Result in CMD screen:
CMD Screen said:
Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.
What about installing Win8.1 over a new machine that has Win 10 Home pre-installed on it? Does the Win8.1 Install disc remove the partitions from Win10 & create the needed new partitions? My programs won't run on Win10!
It does. When you launch the Windows 8.1 installation from the USB, you simply have to choose the "Custom (Advanced)" installation method, select all the drives on the system and click on "Delete". You'll end up with a single, big "Unallocated space" which should be the size of your hard drive and then you can install Windows 8.1 on it (the partitions needed will be automatically created during the installation).
I believe that Dell's OEM version of Windows is similar to a full retail copy of Windows whereas Sony's OEM version of Windows (and just about all other system manufacturers) utilize an image of the HDD; hence there are no files to copy.