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Windows 7: Obtaining and activating a Win7 installation disk

31 Mar 2019   #1
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 
Obtaining and activating a Win7 installation disk

While pursuing an entirely different issue (BCD editing) in this forum, I happened to see and browse a couple of other quite lengthy threads which are still actively running. One was about updating Win7 installation media, here. The other was about helping someone with a clean install - here. I was particularly interested in Paul Black's detailed post in which he said



Now I know that Win7 reaches EOL in 2020. But motivated partly by the boot problems I suffered recently, I thought it would be wise to have an installation disk, just in case. I don't have a retail version. Nor do I have a recovery disk which might have accompanied this particular (Lenovo) laptop. But I do have a sticker in the battery compartment of my Lenovo laptop which has the activation code for the OEM Win7 Professional OS currently installed.

So I went to the Microsoft website where - I thought - you could download a (replacement) .iso of your Win7 OS if you put in the appropriate key code. When I did that, I got a message saying the code was for an OEM version of Win7 and so I should ask the computer manufacturer - Lenovo - for a copy. So far I haven't found a way of getting a reinstall/recovery disk from Lenovo (and I have a suspicion that if they do supply one at all, it would be costly....).

After reading the threads on this forum, I thought it might be possible, and sensible, to download an .iso of Win7 from one of the tech-support sites mentioned. Apparently it is now possible only to get the Win7 Ultimate version (but it contains all the other versions!).

By using a nifty little program it is possible to remove the ei.cfg file from the .iso, and this then enables you to burn a disk or USB stick from which you can boot and reinstall whichever version of Win7 you want.

Fine, I thought. So I ended up downloading two versions of the Win7 Ultimate .iso. They are the same size. One has "COEM" in the title.

Here's my question: if I remove the ei.cfg file, can I use either or both if I ever need to reinstall Win7 on my Lenovo laptop? And if I do, will the Lenovo OEM activation key on the label on my laptop work to 'validate' such a reinstall?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Mar 2019   #2
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote:
if I remove the ei.cfg file, can I use either or both if I ever need to reinstall Win7
Yes

Quote:
And if I do, will the Lenovo OEM activation key on the label on my laptop work to 'validate' such a reinstall?
Yes, that is what the key is for.

Sometimes, people aren't able to read the key on the sticker:
OEM-activation
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2019   #3
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 

Ah, SIW2 , you're there again - and very welcome!

Thanks for that precise and encouraging answer, and the link to an interesting site. I'm making my contingency plans, but hope I won't have to use them....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Mar 2019   #4
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

1. it is always sensible to have installation media and activation key/backup. You never know when you might want it.

2. Enthusiasts will periodically update their installation media. It takes a while to update ,and it is not essential, but it saves a lot of time and hassle when doing a clean/repair install.
Update your Win 7 installation media.


3. Many people will also make a backup image of their current system every now and again. If they have a serious problem, then restoring the backup image puts you in the same position as when you created the image - your data, emails, activation, updates, programs, etc are all included in an image.

Win7 has a method to do that built in, but third party programs are more flexible, and make smaller images which are easier to store.

Aomei are doing offers for world backup day.
Aomei Backupper Pro - now on giveaway, This is very simple to use.

https://www2.aomeisoftware.com/downl...ofessional.zip

The license key must be registered between 25th March 2019 and 1st April 2019

Also O&O Diskimage12 Pro - now on giveaway. This has more features than Aomei. There is no time limit for activating it.

Register: (the registration page is in German - don't worry about that)

Registrieren Sie sich hier fur Ihre kostenlose Vollversion von O&O DiskImage 12

They send an email. Click the link in the email they sent you and you will receive another email with your license key

Download English version of the program:
Download Archive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2019   #5
torchwood

W7 home premium 32bit/W7HP 64bit/w10 tp insider ring
 
 

And Dont forget IE11 and MSE will not be updated after Jan next year


Roy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2019   #6
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 
Win7 reinstallation disk - and ways to backup systems

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
1. it is always sensible to have installation media and activation key/backup. You never know when you might want it.

2. Enthusiasts will periodically update their installation media. It takes a while to update ,and it is not essential, but it saves a lot of time and hassle when doing a clean/repair install.
Update your Win 7 installation media.

3. Many people will also make a backup image of their current system every now and again. If they have a serious problem, then restoring the backup image puts you in the same position as when you created the image - your data, emails, activation, updates, programs, etc are all included in an image.

Win7 has a method to do that built in, but third party programs are more flexible, and make smaller images which are easier to store.
Wise words as always from SIW2.... and the free offers/download links are very useful too.

I have experimented with some of the [free] imaging and backup tools - including Aomei Backupper Standard (their free version). I haven't yet needed to do a full recovery/restore, so can't really assess the reliability of any of the programs; and I'm not bothered about any marginal differnces in the time taken to create or restore an image or backup. Here's my very amateur and limited take on those I have tried....

1. Win7's own built-in System Image. Seems fairly straightforward to use. I've made images of a couple of my laptop systems. But I recently ran into difficulty when I tried to create an image of one of my computers and save it on to an external HDD. Although there was plenty of space on the HDD, the Win7 program said it couldn't complete because there was insufficient space, which seemed bizarre. The popup message said something about the space required for a 'shadow copy'. I didn't pursue the matter - but maybe the issue was to do with the space on the Win7 drive rather than on the external HDD?

2. Aomei Backupper Standard (Free). Slick, user-friendly, not too many complicated settings or options, and seems to do the job of creating a system image very well. I have made images of most of my systems with Aomei.

3. Clonezilla. Does one job (creating an image/clone of a sytem drive) very well. But the interface, and the need to choose and use command-prompt instructions makes it a bit intimidating.

4. ReDo Backup and Recovery. My favourite by a country mile. Runs from a USB or CD/DVD. Clean, uncluttered interface, simple and clear options, seems to be reliable. Works with both Windows and Linux, and as a user of both - sometimes dual-boot on the same machine - I find that a real plus.

Obviously there are more complex and subtle variations in what imaging and backup programes can do, like whether or not you can explore/browse the backup itself or do selective restoration of specific partitions or files. My need is simply to have the reassurance of a complete image of each of my systems saved and stored 'on the shelf' in case disaster strikes. I have other methods for backing up personal data/files/photos/music etc - mainly by saving copies directly on to more than one drive.

It would be interesting to learn of others' experiences with imaging and backups - but maybe that's a topic for a separate thread?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2019   #7
bendipa

Windows 7 Pro 64 Bit, Linux Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
 
 

I use Macrium Reflect which for years has made me reliable system images of W7, and which also works for Linux, and is all done from a bootable UFD. Redo Backup, which I've never heard of sounds like a similar thing. The main point of imaging is that it obviates the need to reinstall and activate W7, so I'm 100% reliant on these images should a disaster occur. I'd say W7's own imaging facility isn't great, eg you can't use it to back up your system to a UFD which is its biggest shortcoming, although an external HDD is fine. Having used it previously it also failed on 2 occasions to restore an image, something that has never occurred with Macrium.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2019   #8
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Your Lenovo probably has a Factory recover partition where you have a disk image to reinstall win 7 as it came from factory.
You can create a boot able disk (DVDs or Flash disk). You can probably create the disk from windows (link) or from BIOS.
The advantage is that it comes with all the drivers. The disadvantage is that it comes with a lot of Lenovo useless software.

I would download a win 7 SP1 from MS and remove the ei.cfg file to have all editions, all drivers from Lenovo and Simplix for the updates.

Win7 SP1 32 Ultimate

Win7 SP1 64 Ultimate

The links are valid for 24 hours. Download them NOW.
It's a Win 7 ultimate, the only available for download from M$ site.
All versions of Win 7 installation disk has the 4 versions (Home, HP, Pro and Ultimate)
To make it a all version install you must remove ei.cfg file on \sources.
ei.cfg Removal Utility is a small application that does it automatically.
ei.cfg Removal Utility download

Download and extract it and apply to the win 7 iso file you've downloaded.


Instead of running WU and install more than 200 updates, run Simplix.
Simplix pack allows you to update Windows 7 SP1 (x86 x64) and Server 2008 R2 SP1 live operating systems. It can be installed in any language. Includes all critical, recommended, and security updates and updates for all versions of Internet Explorer.
Download Simplix UpdatePack 7 - MajorGeeks

Edit: Framework 4.7.2
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2019   #9
br1anstorm

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1 dual boot with Linux Mint 18.2
 
 

Thanks, Megahertz07, for that helpful advice. I do have a Lenovo Recovery partition still intact on the laptop. Don't know what it contains but you may be right that it would have all the Lenovo extra stuff on it, and would not have the Win7 updates.

So I had already spotted (from another thread in this forum) the opportunity to download a Win7 Ultimate .iso, and have actually now got two - not the 32 and 64 bit, but a 64-bit 'standard' one, and a 64-bit "COEM" one.

Have also done the ei.cfg removal trick, so I hope that - if or when I need to - I can reinstall the version (Win7 Professional) which will work with the activation sticker/key that is still on my Lenovo machine.

[by the way - for anyone else who may follow the same route - it's important to do the MD5/SHA1 integrity check on the downloaded Win7 .iso BEFORE removing the ei.cfg file. Stupidly I did the check afterwards, and only then realised that the removal of that file would result in the checksums not matching. Silly elementary mistake, but that kind of thing is what amateurs do!].

I'll aim to do the updating via Simplix when the time comes. I presume that update pack will not suddenly cease to be available from the MajorGeeks site? No point in downloading now if I'm not doing a reinstall/update until maybe next year, if ever....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2019   #10
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

I'm not sure but I think Simplix is regularly updated.
Don't forget to go to Lenovo web site and download the Win 7 drivers for your model.
Also is a good idea to have Framework 4.7.2
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Obtaining and activating a Win7 installation disk




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