I’m going to present a scenario here that’s common to many computer owners.
You have a laptop. It’s a good laptop and you don’t want to get rid of it. It runs fine but you’ve decided to switch out the primary hard drive drive with SSD, so you have to reinstall Windows.
However, there’s a problem. You don’t have a Windows operating system installation disc. You do however have the license to run it, because on the bottom of the laptop is a Microsoft sticker and your Product Key is right there; that’s what makes your Windows legal to begin with.
Now you have a dilemma. You don’t need a Windows license because you already have one ready to go that’s 100% legal, yet you don’t want to spend over 100 bucks just to get a disc and a Windows license you don’t even need.
Should you download a torrent of the Windows OS?
Nope, you don’t have to. If you have your Product Key and just need an ISO of Windows 7, there are official places to download the bootable ISO you need.
Very important notes (and you must do all of this)
1. You must download the EXACT version of Windows that’s listed on your Microsoft sticker.
If the sticker says “Windows 7 Home Premium”, that’s the version you need to download, meaning you can’t give yourself a free upgrade to Win7 Ultimate.
2. During the (re)activation process after installing Win7, it may require a phone call to Microsoft to complete your product key validation.
I’ve had to do this before, and it’s easy. All the “Activation Center” phone numbers for Microsoft are right here. For the US in particular, it’s (888) 352-7140.
3. If your Windows 7 version has “OA” in it, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll have to call Microsoft to complete activation.
Example: If the sticker says “Windows 7 Home Prem OA”, that simply means it’s an OEM-installed Win7 license. When you go to reinstall, you’re obviously not the OEM, so the attempt to reactivate your license will most likely fail, requiring you to call a Microsoft Activation Center to finish up the process.
As I said above, calling Microsoft for license activation is not a big deal. You’re reinstalling Windows on the same machine, using the same OS version, and when Microsoft asks why you need to reactivate the license, you can be completely honest and say you just switched out your old hard drive for a new SSD.
Download links for Windows 7
32-bit Windows 7 Ultimate x86 SP1 (bootable)
64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 (bootable)
32-bit Windows 7 Professional x86 SP1 (bootable)
64-bit Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1 (bootable)
32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium x86 SP1 (bootable)
64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium X64 SP1 (bootable)
Yes, they’re all SP1 versions and yes, they’re all 100% legal to download as long as you use your existing product key for the appropriate product. The downloads are from Digital River, an official Microsoft partner. It’s all legal, not to worry.
These are DVD ISOs, so they’re huge. You may want to consider using a download manager. Or you can simply launch a separate browser other than your primary and just let that sit and download until it’s done. For example, if you use Chrome or Firefox as your primary browser, launch IE, come to this article and download the ISO with that browser. Minimize IE and it will download the ISO uninterrupted while you use your other regular primary browser to do your normal internet stuff.
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