Before getting started, I'd suggest doing the following:
1. Save any important data such as documents, audio files, and any other data that you can't get back to an external drive or somewhere safe.
2. Download magical Jellybean Keyfinder from https://www.magicaljellybean.com/downlo … taller.exe and use it to retrieve your product key. Copy the 25 character string next to CD key and save it. You may need to activate Windows after the clean install.
3. Download any drivers for your computer by searching on HP's website for your computer model. You may need to install them so that Windows recognizes all your hardware. When I did a clean install of Windows 7 on my Latitude E6540, I had to install practically every driver except the audio one. It was a mess! I'm not sure if Windows 8 changes this, but it's a pain! Windows 10 is supposed to do most of that automatically from what I've been told.
Anything before Windows 10 requires a talking Windows PE. Grab some from http://opopanax.net/download/ and you're good to go. Be sure to get the 32 bit or 64 bit version depending on what you're installing. The Windows 7 PE cannot boot from systems configured with UEFI, while the Windows 10 one will. If you're not sure, I'd suggest the Windows 10 PE because it will boot on either BIOS or UEFI modes.
You will then want to grab a copy of the Windows 8.1 installation media. Visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/softwar … d/windows8 and download the ISO file for either 32 or 64 bit. You may not be able to do this directly if you're on Windows. In that case, it should prompt you to download the media creation tool. The tool can download the installation media for you and either burn it to a DVD or a USB drive.
In order to get the talking PE working properly, you'll need to decide whether you want to use it with a DVD or a USB drive. It seems like some computers don't like booting from USB for what ever reason, so your best bet might be a DVD. Run the downloaded executable and follow the prompts to either create a USB drive or a DVD. I also recommend reading the readme file which is also available on that website I linked to above. It provides a lot of good information.
Finally, I'd recommend getting your hands on a USB sound card or headset. Audio may or may not be supported on your built-in sound card, but having a USB device connected when you do this will ensure that you'll have speech regardless.
Once you've prepared everything, you'll need to tell your computer to boot from the talking PE media you created earlier. This is the tricky part and may require sighted assistance. Try pressing F9 while your computer is powering on until the boot menu appears. Then use the arrow keys and enter to select the device to boot from and press enter. Wait until you hear NVDA come up and start speaking. At this point, you can remove the PE disk as everything is loaded into RAM and insert your Windows install media. Run the setup program and go through the standard Windows install process. Be sure to choose custom and erase all the internal drives.
That should get you going. If you have any further questions, let me know. I'm glad I've primarily switched to Windows 10. All I have to do is create a Windows 10 install drive, boot from it, and press Control+Windows+Enter to load Narrator. I don't miss Windows 7 or 8 at all!
Grab my Adventure at C: stages Right here.