Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Windows 7 Product Key after Reformating

14 Mar 2012   #1

Windows 7 Product Key after Reformating

So I am planning to reformat my hard drive because its performance has been reduced to trash lately. My biggest concern is that I purchased Windows 7 upgrade as a student offer from Digital River and I still have the product key but Digital River seems to have discontinued having the file on their servers.

Anyways I managed to find the now provided ISOs but now I am worried about my product key. From what I understand, the offer was an upgrade so there are a few questions raise:
  • Can I use the product key to validate a clean install?
  • Do I have to install Vista first, via recovery, then install Windows 7?
  • Most importantly, can I use the product key more than once? Provided I format the hard drive of the original machine.

Google has lead me to mixed results of yes-no's and I would appreciate clarity.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

I think this should answer your question Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP


No you don't have to reinstall Vista as when you boot the Win7 installer to reinstall, it will see an OS which is all that's needed to allow use of Upgrade version key during install. Otherwise to install to a wiped or blank HD you'd have to do the workaround given in the tutorial linked in post above.

You bought a retail copy which you own for the life of the OS to reinstall as often and wherever you want.

You can adapt these steps to Clean Reinstall Windows 7 Factory OEM to get a perfect clean reinstall of your retail version, too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Windows 7 Product Key after Reformating

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Reformating Win 7 HD
It's been a while but I need to reformat a Laptop running Win 7 to factory settings. Currently my PC is running Win 8.1 so my HD has a "recovery image" partition. Is this what I should see on the Laptop as well or was Win 7 configured another way? In other words, do I need a Win 7 CD or...
Installation & Setup
Reformating/installing Windows 7 ENTERPRISE (Full, Not trial!)
Hi, I am trying to completely wipe my system and reinstall windows, only I don't have the CD. I've looked it up, and it seems relatively straight forward, I just need to save the iso file for the version of windows I'm using to a flash drive and run that to reinstall. The problem is I am running...
Installation & Setup
Reformating Windows 7
OS; Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit A couple weeks ago, my computer crashed and tried to automatically reboot itself, after a few moments of rebooting a new screen came up with just a load bar in the lower portion of the screen trying to load windows files. To my surprise, once windows loaded, a...
Windows Updates & Activation
Product Key Does Not Match Current Windows SKU (Foreign product key?)
So short story, I work at a college tech site that fixes student and faculty computers. A foreign exchange student from Japan with a Sony Vaio (most likely from Japan as well) managed to get a virus on his computer and he was blocked off our network. Our policy is that we wipe and reinstall the OS...
Reformating Windows 7 on Hard Drive
Hi, I want Just windows 7 on my Hard Drive. Originally it was windows vista on it and the space is increasing now. I want to delete everything on my HD, but just now have windows 7 on it. What do I do? Thanks I want to clear everything on HD? How do I do it Thanks.
Installation & Setup

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:00.
Twitter Facebook Google+