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Windows 7: Reinstall options help after Ransomeware infection...

25 Feb 2017   #1

Windows XP; Windows 7 RC
Reinstall options help after Ransomeware infection...

Hello all,

I know clean installs of Windows 7 from an upgrade disk has been discussed to death (everywhere), but I can't seem to find anything about what is needed to do an install if you have to reinstall it either after an infection of replacing a drive. Does the OLD OS HAVE TO INTACT (installed first)? Or can you do a legitimate CLEAN install with an upgrade disk as long as you have proof of ownership of the old OS? If so, what PROOF is required? Can you do it with just the original OS Product Key?

My brothers pc was infected with the notorious Cryptoware 3.0 ransomware that encrypted all of his personal files-- everything in USERS folders are locked. After researching it, everyone says his personal files aren't recoverable (at least not at an economical cost), so I need to know what options I have for reinstalling Windows 7.

His PC originally had VISTA Home Basic, and he upgraded it at some point with a retail copy of the Windows 7 Home Premium UPGRADE. I have his Windows 7 retail package with the CD and product key, as well as the original Vista product key. BUT WE DON'T HAVE a Vista CD (it never came with one).

I was hoping I could do a CLEAN install of Windows 7 since I had the old product key (rather than using one of the various verification work a rounds). So back to my original question-- can it be done, and is the Vista PRODUCT KEY all I need to confirm the previous Windows version? Or does Vista actually have to be INSTALLED first?

I thought Windows XP was the last OS that actually needed a CD, but I couldn't find anything that said what the revised proof was for a clean upgrade-- even on this forum, I found something about doing the clean install with the upgrade disk, but no mention of what was needed from the old OS (Brink post 10/24/2009).

Or is the lack of information because a CLEAN install isn't allowed at all anymore with an upgrade disk? Seems to reason with situation like this or if the drive failed, since manufacturers don't give you CD's anymore that there should be some method of doing a clean install if you have legitimate Product Keys from both OS's (yea, I know, Microsoft doesn't always do stuff that makes sense).

Alternate option... the drive is still intact (I haven't done anything to it yet), so I though of just trying to do a 2nd install, then deleting the windows.old file. But since the drive was infected, the OS was upgraded, AND the install is so old, I thought a complete reformatting and clean install would be the best way to go.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2017   #2

Windows 7 HP 64

As your disk is infected, during installation, you must delete all partitions. Clean Install Windows 7
With the upgrade disk you have two options to do a clean install:
- If the disk is blank, you must create a windows folder to be recognize as an upgrade. (you can do the installation twice or create a Windows folder by the CMD).
- If the disk has a Windows folder, no matter what is in it, when you begin the installation, Win 7 installation will recognize as an upgrade, even if you delete all partitions.

I also have a upgrade disk. As it wasn't a SP1 I've downloaded a ISO from MS ( and I use the COA key on it. The downloaded iso must match the same kind of your key (home, HP, pro or Ultimate)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2017   #3

Windows XP; Windows 7 RC

Thanks Megahertz07 for taking the time to reply.

I'm aware of workaround install methods, AND the download site (unless there's one for VISTA somewhere). As I explained, the install file isn't the issue-- I HAVE THE CD for Windows 7 AND THE PRODUCT KEYS for BOTH Windows 7 and VISTA. What I don't have is a Vista CD to install that first.

My original question was whether I could do a (legitimate) clean install with Win 7 and activate it properly with the TWO product Keys-- I didn't know if the install would ask for the OLD Product Key or disk (like Office does) or if it just looks for the installed OS?

I don't want to do the workaround and have him come back later saying it was broken by an update. So I was hoping to do it in a way that wouldn't have a change of being "DE-validated" down the road.

If there's a VISA download somewhere, that would do the trick. As I said, I have the Product Key, I just don't have the VISTA disk.

Thanks again for trying to help. JEB
My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Feb 2017   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1

Hi JEB, you can install Windows 7 from a Retail Upgrade disc, you don't need the Vista disc as well. This Forum Tutorial shows you how.

Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2017   #5

Windows 7 HP 64

As I wrote, you don't need a to have Vista installed. You just need to have a Windows folder on your disk (from XP, Vista, Win7 or even empty folder).
I suggested you to download a up to date Win 7 ISO from the link and use your key on it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2017   #6

Windows XP; Windows 7 RC

Hi All,

Thanks for the additional information. I got it installed AND it activated successfully!

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Reinstall options help after Ransomeware infection...

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