Windows 7 Re-install


In Runtime

I have a laptop running a original copy of windows 7 with a valid product key. I need to format the PC and re-install the OS. Can you tell me the procedure to be used to keep the product key and use it when I re-install the OS?


Site Team
Staff member
Depends on what kind of key you have and how you got to this point.

For 99% of people they have they key on a sticker on their computer so they can just pop in a windows 7 DVD and boot off of that or boot off of the recovery partition on their laptop (assuming any wanted data is backed up first). From there the drive is formatted, key re-entered and the install does its thing.

If the key was obtained as part of an upgrade then it could get a little tricky. You'd need to start with a clean install of the original OS (same process as above) then do the upgrade using the key you received when you purchased the upgrade.


Baseband Member
United States
It depends on if you have a recovery drive, set of recovery discs, or OS disc.
(All this assuming you have backed up the data you want backed up)
If you have the OS disc, boot it in and boot to it. Just say you want to do a clean install (wipe everything) and eventually it will prompt for a key.
With a Recovery Drive (usb) or a set of Recovery Discs, boot to which ever and follow the prompts, with a usb it will go through on its own, with discs it will ask to put in disc 1 2 3 etc.
If you do not have any of these fear not. If you have some extra dvds or a 32GB flash drive or higher you can make a recovery drive. Just plug whatever you want in, and search for "Recovery" or "Create Recovery"
You should see something like create a recovery drive/partition. Just go through that for whichever device you are using and then follow the previous directions

-Certified Computer Technician


Baseband Member
United States
There is a program called Macrium Reflect which is available as a free edition then you can find doing a Google search. A member on another forum I belong to uses that but If you have a virus or other malware you can't get rid of I suggest you do a wipe of the drive too and not just a format of the drive.

You can also get a copy of windows 7 from Digital River through PCWorlds website here How to Install Windows 7 Without the Disc | PCWorld . I suggest using ISO recorder to make a DVD disk and you can get that free here ISO Recorder