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Windows 7: Salvaging An HP Windows 7 Computer

26 Mar 2013   #1

Windows 7 Professional 32 bit
Salvaging An HP Windows 7 Computer

The office of a coworker's wife was getting rid of their old computers and I picked up an HP dual core desktop running Windows 7 for $25. I would like to salvage this PC for my own use.

What I would like to do is to somehow create a Windows & CD/DVD, do a clean install of Linux MINT 14 to the hard disk, install a virtual machine and then install Windows 7 in the virtual machine.

The PC did not come with a Windows 7 CD. My coworker bought one of the cast off PCs himself and he said he couldn't "activate" that copy of Windows, he even called a number. I'm guessing "activation" is Windows-speak for "registration"?

In this thread I learned about this this tutorial

I'm not sure I understood all of the many steps of the tutorial. Am I correct in thinking that I can download a free Windows 7 LiveDVD and use it to install a running copy of Windows 7 as long as I have the product key ( I copied it from a sticker on the back )?

Is the product key needed to install Windows 7, to get it to run, or only to register it?

Is there anyway to test the product key, to make sure I will be able to use Windows before going to the trouble of figuring that long tutorial out?

Is what I am thinking of doing doable and if not are there better solutions?

Here are the specs of the computer:

OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Version 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601

System Manufacturer Hewlett-Packard
System Model HP Compaq dc5800 Small Form Factor
System Type x64-based PC
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E7400 @ 2.80GHz, 2800 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Hewlett-Packard 786F2 v01.53, 8/27/2008
SMBIOS Version 2.5

Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1

Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.1.7601.17514"

Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 2.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 1.97 GB
Available Physical Memory 812 MB
Total Virtual Memory 3.95 GB
Available Virtual Memory 2.63 GB
Page File Space 1.97 GB
Page File C:\pagefile.sys

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP


As long as the Product Key is readable then you'll be okay reinstalling the same licensed version. With only 2gb of RAM I would use 32 bit.

After following the steps to get a perfect install in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7, I'd also Optimize Windows 7 - Windows 7 Forums particularly editing Visual effects of fading, sliding, animation, dragging intact and selection rectangle. This will turn off the especially RAM- and CPU-hogging visual effects.

Make sure you follow the steps for handling drivers which are different in Win7. If you end up after all Updates are done with Standard VGA Display driver I'd import the latest driver from the HP Support Downloads webpage for your model, along with any other drivers still missing in Device Manager.

Read the Special Notes for HP users at the end of the Reinstall tutorial so you can decide better which partitions to keep. If HP System Recovery will run, it may have a Minimal Recovery option which is similar to the Clean Reinstall. If not then I'd delete it and all other partitions during booted install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2013   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

My System SpecsSystem Spec

29 Mar 2013   #4

Windows 7 HP 64Bit

I am not sure about the UNIX bit but what matters is the license key, whether its readable and what version of Windows 7 it belongs to: Home premium or professional.
Your installation media needs to match the Windows version of the license sticker on the computer. You can install without license and use it for a couple of days. Then it needs activation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Salvaging An HP Windows 7 Computer

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