Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/186775/how-to-download-windows-7-8-and-8.1-installation-media-legally/
You can reinstall Windows from scratch using the product key that came with your PC, but you’ll have to find installation media yourself. Microsoft offers free Windows ISO files — if you know where to look.
This article implies that you can get rid of manufacturer bloatware by downloading a copy of Windows 8/8.1 and doing a clean install. The truth is you cannot use the Product Key from an OEM installation of Windows 8/8.1 to download and activate a copy of Windows. Therefore to imply that in the article is wrong and misleading.
You can actually use an OEM key with a retail DVD, you just might have to call Microsoft for phone activation. I've added a note to the article to reflect that.
If you already have the OEM install DVD, just create an ISO from that for a backup.
As mentioned already, an OEM installation DVD key will not work for the windows 8/8.1 method.
I would like to REMOVE Windows 7 permanently from my laptop and install it on a desktop. Most people I asked told me that this is not allowed because I have an OEM installation. Is there a way to do it now?
I too have a Win 7 Home Premium OEM key, and would like to do a clean reinstall -- but no longer have the factory rollback option. Will downloading the ISO from the link above work?
Somebody clearly define what an OEM key is?
I have a OEM 8.1 on my laptop.
If I want to do a clean install, I will have to purchase a Retail DVD ?
Is this correct ?
@Bniedem_Malti Nope, no way. It's tied to your laptop's motherboard, I think.
@stupot65 An OEM key is a key that is used by manufacturers to install Windows onto your computer. Windows 7 on, there is something in the motherboard that is used to verify a key, so an OEM key for a computer cannot be used on another computer.
Let's try this then, I have a four/five year old Windows 7 laptop with a 'product key' on the bottom that I use for activating Windows 7. I've used it temporarily on virtual machines successfully. What kind of key is this?
OEM key. Even though they are supposed to work on only the machine they were for, sometimes they work on virtual machines or other computers of the same brand.
When I downloaded and installed Windows 7 retail over the copy of Windows 7 OEM (and a Norton trial, and an Office 2007 trial, and various HP media programs) that came with my computer, I went through various methods of trying to get things to work. I tried to use the key that was printed on my sticker, and I tried to use Speccy to read what my OEM copy reported its Product Key as being. No luck, but after some searching I found that Activation Backup & Restore might do the trick. I restored the OEM copy from recovery discs, ran and stored the program in Dropbox, installed the retail copy, ran the software again, and was home free. Unfortunately it doesn't look like there's a version for Windows 8/8.1, but there are apparently other ways of going about it.
Well, I think there's still the command to reset the 30 day trial that works up to three times, so you could extend that to 116-120 days.
Clean Install Windows 8.
8 won't activate most of the time.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Setup/OOBE/MediaBootInstall to 0
Run slmgr /rearm
Run activation again
If number at bottom of screen doesn't disappear in a couple minutes , do this.
slmgr.vbs -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
Interesting. Isn't that just for the upgrade license, or does it work with a full retail disk and an OEM key?
I have activated different types of licences (retail, OEM, OPEN, MS Subscription) using an AIO Windows 7 DVD. However, I could not activate a Windows Starter, using the key in the OEM sticker, after doing a clean install in a netbook. This has been the only exception. About using a Windows 8 key to activate Windows 8.1, I have read that is it possible to install 8.1 using a KMS code and then activate it with a Windows 8 key but havent tried it by myself. By the way, the Windows 8.1 downloaded by the method described here, does no finish the installation (it said that cannot copy some files). I tried with retail and MSDN images and they worked OK. Conclusion, there is an issue with the 'Upgrade image' of Windows 8.1.
That's an interesting question.
It's the RTM Version of 8 Pro which MS let one download for $15 bucks to kick off introduction a couple of years ago.
I made an ISO USB Stick so I could Clean Install and found I had to use the trick above on every installation.
My ISO will clean install and activate automatically on multiple machines using the Same PID when I use the trick.
Free Upgrades to Version 8.1 and Refresh are done through the MS Store which always works and are no problems as they always appear.
I had a small mess up with 8.1 Refresh and WMI this past week but that was my fault as I didn't prepare Hyper-V for the update which I subsequently fixed.
I think its in systems in the control panel
Every time I attempt to download the ISO I get the message "WE CANNOT CONNECT NOW TRY AGAIN LATER." I have tried more than 10 times. What gives?
The exact same thing happens to me for Win 8.1. Same message over and over.
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