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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Dec 2009
    Cape Town , Western Cape, South Africa
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    Question Nondestructive reinstall - Windows .iso download vs OEM recovery disc, product key

    I want to do a Win7 no-reformat, non-destructive reinstall as per Fred Langa's article:

    I have a Dell laptop which came with Windows 7 SP1 preinstalled so I only have a Dell OEM Windows 7 SP1 reinstallation DVD, which is apparently not usable for a non-destructive reinstall. I therefore plan to use a downloaded .iso file: to do the reinstall.

    Three questions:
    1. Will the downloaded.iso file work for this purpose?
    2. According to the Nirsoft Produkey utility, the currently installed original Windows 7 Pro product key is 32KD2-etc .. The utility shows this product key is linked to a 00371-OEM-etc. ... product id for both Windows 7 Professional and Internet Explorer.
    However the product key on the sticker on the bottom of my laptop is 6B7RJ-etc. ... I presume the former is the OEM product key, and the latter is a valid personal (?) product key. Which product key could / should I use when doing the reinstall?
    3. Control Panel>System shows Windows as activated with product id as 00371-OEM-etc. ... but there is no option to change the product key. Where and how can I change the product key to my personal product key 6B7RJ-etc. ... if required?
    Last edited by paulderdash; 2014-03-13 at 01:28.

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Hi and welcome as a new poster.

    Answering your questions, here is what I think.

    1. Using a ISO file that matches your Windows version usually works, but you won't know until you try.
    2. I would probably start with the key on the sticker and try the other one if the first one fails. The key is asked at the beginning of the process, so there is no harm in trying either, actually and sticking with the one that works.
    3. You don't need to do that. Windows validation gets you an ID that is not your product key.


  3. #3
    Super Moderator
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    Aug 2012
    Durham UK
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    OEM builds tend to have a generic product key and while I'm not familiar with the key finder program that you have used, Belarc Advisor gives the same product key for both my Toshiba Win 7 laptops.

    The key on the sticker may not work with the ISO as that relates to the OEM install and you should first try the one that the utility has found which is the same for Internet Explorer.

    It's also advisable to back up your drivers folders from Windows\System32 onto something like an USB as the ISO doesn't contain any drivers and you may not be able to connect to the Internet to download WUs (which will drop in the odd driver, then you can just drop them back into System32 when the install has completed.

    I had the non-connectivity problem when I tried this procedure once just to see how it worked.
    Last edited by Sudo; 2014-03-13 at 08:10.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    If you plan to pursue this ensure that you have an image of the drive made so that you can recover it
    should the need to do so arises.
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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