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Windows 7: How to reinstall Windows 7 after failed hard drive, no back up etc

20 May 2016   #1

Windows 7
How to reinstall Windows 7 after failed hard drive, no back up etc

Hello there

I am asking for a friend who has no net access so any further details required may take some time to get (we are in different time zones).

My friends has a PC that was already installed with Windows 7 and has a sticker on the side with the activation code. Unfortunately there is no recovery or boot disc. His hard drive has failed and he has a new one being delivered, however due to the sudden failure he only had time to make copies of pictures and other important documents and will not be able to clone drive or get any of the software of it.

There is another PC in his house which runs on Windows 8, will he be able to use this PC to download Windows 7 to a CD or usb stick and then install on his PC and new hard drive with the activation key? This would seem to be the simplest solution, but if not possible or there is another way (without waiting for a disc to be delivered) then any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2016   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Yeah, he can download the correct Win 7 iso on any PC. Then use an application such as Rufus to make a bootable USB stick from the iso. Then use that stick to install and activate with a known good Product Key.

Or you could burn the ISO to a DVD.

Finding the ISO isn't as easy as it once was.

But it's doable. Maybe you already have a source?

If not, someone else will likely come along and post a link to a source. I haven't been paying attention to where that might be lately.

Rufus - Create bootable USB drives the easy way

Rufus at above link.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2016   #3

Windows 7

Thank you, that's exactly what we needed I can probably find an iso so I will mark as solved. I really appreciate the quick response!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 May 2016   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Be sure to pay attention to the "partition scheme and target system type" setting in Rufus.

If it's an older machine, you'd probably use an MBR scheme. If it's newer, maybe use a GPT scheme.

If one setting fails to result in a good install, go back to Rufus and make a new stick with some other setting and retry the install.

I've recently had some weirdness on doing a clean install on new current generation Z170 chipset hardware---a Rufus stick made with a known good official Windows iso failed to install. I thought it was going OK, but then I got an error midway through the Windows "expanding files" section.

I had to make a new Rufus stick, using an ISO I made from a previously burned DVD. This burned DVD was itself made from the known good official Windows iso. I have no explanation why one Rufus stick worked and the other did not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2016   #5

Windows 7

Will do, thanks. I 'think' it's an older machine but will have to check with my friend, good to know we can retry with different settings if needed
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2016   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Oh.............important: Be sure to disconnect any other drives this machine may have other than the one to which you want to install Windows.

If there is more than 1 drive connected, Windows might take a notion to put some boot files on the second drive and you don't want that.

All you need is keyboard, mouse, monitor, and luck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2016   #7

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2016   #8
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709

I personally prefer to install Windows 7 using a DVD with a SATA connected optical player.
No USB connection of any kind other than the mouse and keyboard.

So what I end up with:

1. USB connected mouse and keyboard.
2. SATA connected optical DVD player.
3. SATA connected Drive I want Windows 7 installed.

Then I just let Windows 7 installation do it's thing. After the proper install, updates and activation then I take care of partitions later if I desire.
Then I check for drivers that might need to be updated. I also install USB 3.0 driver because they do not come with Windows 7.

I do few Clean Install because I have no need to, so I try to keep it simple for my 3 brain cells to be able to handle.

Here is a no frills straight to the point tutorial for a Clean Install by Brink that I always refer to.

Clean Install Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to reinstall Windows 7 after failed hard drive, no back up etc

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