Computers & Electronics

How to reset old windows (7) computer?

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  • Jul 31st, 2018 9:17 am
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May 6, 2005
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How to reset old windows (7) computer?

Have an old laptop I am looking to sell, but need to reset windows first. It seems any of the repair options need the recovery media which I certainly don't have. What can I do?

Windows 7 Ultimate is installed
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chrishch wrote: If you have a valid product key, you can download the Windows 7 ISO directly from Microsoft at the following site:

Download Windows 7 Disc Images

You can then use the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool to create a bootable USB and re-install Windows 7 from scratch.
Tried Chrome and Edge, both giving me:
Error
We encountered a problem processing your request. Please try again later.
after I submit the product key :( It's a Lenovo laptop - OEM product key? Maybe that's why?
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May 29, 2008
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You'll have to download Windows 7 Ultimate one way or another. I would do some research and find the hash of the of the one that's available on MSDN. Then, download one that is supposed to have that hash and actually check the hash once it's finished downloading to make sure it is the same. You can burn it to a CD or use Rufus to write it onto a usb drive. I would skip the Windows USB/DVD Download tool altogether.

The OEM key from the sticker of your laptop will work to activate that successfully, assuming that the laptop actually came with Windows 7 Ultimate preinstalled and is licensed to use it. If you obtained your key from a product key finder rather than a sticker on your laptop, then the Windows 7 Ultimate iso you downloaded probably won't activate with your key, as it is likely a key used by Lenovo to mass-activate their laptops.
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If it's a ThinkPad, pressing the ThinkVantage button when powering up should give you an option to do a recovery, assuming you having altered the factory partitions on the HDD.

If not, you can try this little tool to create a Windows download link from a Microsoft-approved server:
https://www.heidoc.net/joomla/technolog ... nload-tool

I'm not sure why it says "COEM" (C?):
Image
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Kaitlyn wrote: Have an old laptop I am looking to sell, but need to reset windows first. It seems any of the repair options need the recovery media which I certainly don't have. What can I do?

Windows 7 Ultimate is installed
I'm starting to speculate this version of windows was installed over your OEM windows version? I've never really seen any computer come with Ultimate. I would recommend check the bottom of the laptop and see if you have a sticker for genuine copy of windows with a license key. If you do, then the version of Windows that shipped with your laptop will be stated on it. If you don't, then you'll have to get a license key extractor and pull out the license key from your hash. Or another option (normally I do this for people who don't have genuine key), create a new user, and delete any other user profiles. Then uninstall any programs you don't need, and check your C:\ drive for any locally created folders or files (in case you accidentally stored it in the C drive). If you were to choose this process, I would also recommend uninstalling any printers, peripherals, devices that were installed, and run a MSConfig to boost startup performance. And ofcourse run Disk Defragment to make sure the HDD is in contiguous order. And remember to clear Cache, browsing history, passwords, and bookmarks/favourites on all browsers!

Hope this helps. GL on selling the laptop!
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Definitely try a Windows licence key extractor, many free ones available and they are pretty small. I think I've used ProduKey by Nirsoft. Write it down amd when you reinstall, type it in. Key is linked to the hardware's BIOS I believe?
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lamboman wrote: I'm starting to speculate this version of windows was installed over your OEM windows version? I've never really seen any computer come with Ultimate. I would recommend check the bottom of the laptop and see if you have a sticker for genuine copy of windows with a license key. If you do, then the version of Windows that shipped with your laptop will be stated on it. If you don't, then you'll have to get a license key extractor and pull out the license key from your hash. Or another option (normally I do this for people who don't have genuine key), create a new user, and delete any other user profiles. Then uninstall any programs you don't need, and check your C:\ drive for any locally created folders or files (in case you accidentally stored it in the C drive). If you were to choose this process, I would also recommend uninstalling any printers, peripherals, devices that were installed, and run a MSConfig to boost startup performance. And ofcourse run Disk Defragment to make sure the HDD is in contiguous order. And remember to clear Cache, browsing history, passwords, and bookmarks/favourites on all browsers!

Hope this helps. GL on selling the laptop!
...and been really prudent / paranoid -- better clean disk with over writing
empty space with zero -- so called zero-fill. For example:
https://www.ccleaner.com/docs/ccleaner/ ... disk-space

This is relevant to cleaning the disk instead of reinstalling.
But does re-installation process does zero-fill?
if not, than partial data recovery is possible after re-installation, right ????

Cheers!
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Jul 30, 2018
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I work at a repair shop and I can say that 95% of all Windows 7 Ultimate are bootleg versions. The one instance that was actually legitimate was from an ex-microsoft employee.
If you have a COA (certificate of authenticity), usually attached to the bottom of your laptop or in the removable battery bay for windows 7 then congrats it's legit. (you may also find find windows 7 home or professional sticker instead of ultimate in which case yay!)
If you do not have any COA and your system says Windows 7 Ultimate then it is a pretty big risk to reinstall....

As to the repair process, if you do not have the 25 character product key, you need to extract it... just google free windows product key extractor... i use magic jelly bean finder without issue.
When you extract it and it says product ID with "OEM" anywhere then you may be limited to finding the install image from the original manufacture.
To get around this limitation, you can simply just download and install windows 10 which if you have the product key or if you laptop's bios already has the original key information will automatically upgrade it free to windows 10
Google windows 10 download, and go to microsoft website to download tool to create install media on an usb or dvd

If you need more details please let me know

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