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: Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key

Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key

Clean Install Windows 7 to Remove Factory Bloatware
Published by Bare Foot Kid
13 Jul 2011
Published by

How to Clean Install Windows 7 without the Factory Added Bloatware
Most all factory built PCs today come with many programs and applications added by the PC manufacturer that have little or no use in everyday life, they tend to take up space and in some instances cause performance issues and using Windows to uninstall these progs/apps may result in startup and / or shutdown issues; here is a way to get a fresh, clean installation of Windows without all the factory added software; this method also works for Windows Vista.
warning   Warning

Some of the methods outlined below will completely over-write any and all data on the entire Hard Disk Drive / Solid State Drive depending on the method you use. Doing a clean install of Windows will over-write the "old" factory installed Windows and may void any factory warranty the PC came with.

You will have to reinstall all the programs/apps that you use as they integrate themselves into the Windows registry and are not moveable from one Windows installation to another so be sure to save the program installers and the product activation keys where applicable.
Note   Note

It would be a good idea to copy out or make backups of any data you need to save to the external media of your choice before you start this; also be sure to create the set of Factory Restore disks if you haven't already so you have a path back if need be.

You may also choose to create and store externally an image of the entire HDD / SSD so the PC can be restored to factory condition if the need ever arises, have a look at this tutorial.

Imaging with Free Macrium
More than likely your factory built PC didn't come with a Windows 7 installation DVD so you will need to borrow or download installation media of the exact same Windows 7 version the PC shipped with so you can do a clean install using the Windows activation key on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) sticker attached to the PC though it may require a robo-call to MS to sort the OEM batch-key; the factory COA sticker MS Windows activation key will be similar to this one below, 5 groups of 5 letters / numbers.
How to Activate Windows 7 by Phone
Windows 7 / Vista is version specific and not bit-rate specific, i.e. a Home Premium COA Windows activation key will activate either the 32-bit or the 64-bit Windows Home Premium Operating System.
Microsoft: Windows 7 Direct Download Links
Vista users, click here to view important information concerning the Vista process.
Windows 7 Universal Installation Disc - Create

ISO - Disk Image File : Extract to the Desktop
After you have made backups of everything you care to save to external media, the best method forward is to do a complete wipe secure erase of the entire HDD / SSD first, it over-writes everything, all the old Windows code including all the old hardware drivers and installed programs and any and all old personal data, giving you the best possible space to do a clean installation of Windows 7 to.
SSD / HDD : Optimize for Windows Reinstallation

Additional Secure Erase / Wipe Information
For those with netbooks and no CD/DVD drive, have a look at this tutorial.
USB Windows 7 Installation Key Drive - Create
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post to this same tutorial using the orange "Post Reply" button and someone will be glad to help.

Enjoy! :)

13 Jul 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

Thanks a lot for this - bookmarked already!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2011   #2
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Thank you Andrew, I hope it proves useful. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Another good tutorial My Brother! :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Jul 2011   #4
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Thank you Beau!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2011   #5
Microsoft MVP

Windows 10 Pro x64 ; Xubuntu x64

Brilliant mate - this will be very helpful when I get my daughter a laptop towards the end of the year.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2011   #6
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Thanks my friend, I'm pleased you find it useful. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2011   #7
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

The Windows Vista "all versions" aspect of the Vista installation media is not locked as it is in Windows 7 and does not need to be 'unlocked' as it does in Windows 7 and is very easy to access during the Vista clean installation process; though the ei.cfg file doesn't have to be dealt with to access "all versions" in Vista the information in this tutorial can be used to combine the 32-bit and 64-bit installers into a single installer, see #3.3 below.

How to Create a Windows 7 Universal Installation Disc

After the Vista installation process completes you will need to activate Windows Vista using the "phone" method outlined at Step Two in the tutorial at this link below.

How to Activate Vista by Phone Activation

1) Starting at step #5 in this tutorial do not add an activation key and remove the check (tick) from the "Automatically activate ... " box when presented with this installation dialog box and click Next.
click an image to enlarge
Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key-addkey.jpg
2) Then click No when presented with this "Do you want ... " dialog box.
Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key-no.jpg
3) Then put a check mark (tick) at the "I have selected ... " box and click to highlight / select the Vista version that corresponds to the Windows activation key on the COA sticker attached to the PC, you will not be able to activate any other version except the Vista version that matches the COA key, the version the PC came with.

That's all; now continue the Vista installation process as usual.
1. This is the 32-bit
Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key-32-bit.jpg

2. This is the 64-bit
Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key-64-bit.jpg

3. Created All Versions
Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key-all_versions.jpg

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2012   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64

How does one tell helpful and great people like yourself, 'Ah dude, hold on! Do u realize what you're saying'? I find it interesting that many links here on sevenforums (and elsewhere) often require one to actually link somewhere else, which in turn asks you to link somewhere else etc. and is so doing a few things happen: -1- confusion -2- a feeling of being overwhelmed with both information overload and 'What should I do?" and realizing that the info given as a whole, (link A + link B) suddenly may not be do-able. Would it not (in some cases at least), instead of providing links just cut and paste the info directly related to whatever it is your advising on? Consider this post "How to Clean Install Windows 7...Bloatware" (which in my case is a link from How to Clean Reinstall a Factory OEM Windows 7) which says, "After you have made backups of everything you care to save to external media, the best method forward is to do a complete wipe secure erase of the entire HDD" OK so one links there, since this is suggested and it makes sense. And once on the link to another link or vice versa bla bla bla and end up on "to look at method 2" on "Secure Erase/Wipe-and the Basic Methods". And here one is told, "Warning--This method will completely overwrite any Partition or entire Hard Disk Drive...that it's pointed at, it's known as a secure erase ....." Does anyone get the picture yet? My intention is to do a clean install of Windows where, following the root of links, what I am now being told is to "completely overwrite a partition" which can't be done since the partition that was suggested for me to wipe clean is the one where my OS is currently sitting on. This is not what it says in the 1st post of course but link A which connected me to link B which connected me to link C etc. did exactly that. What is happening is the same thing as happens, as you did in elementary school or high school when you were given a sentence and asked to whisper it to a 2nd person who in turn whispered it to 1 3d person etc. until at the very end what came out was nothing close to the initial sentence. So wonderful people, who are indeed so with a love of helping, may I suggest this: Do take this in mind: When and if you can, do avoid links. In its place just quote (cut and paste) the info that is directly related to what your are advising on, and should this part you are borrowing, this quote, have a link as well then in turn go to that link and quote from there. Once done do consider re-reading your own post if it now makes sense. Having said this I can never thank you guys enough in this forum I would not know where I would be without you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2015   #9

Windows 10, 7 Home Premium
Used the MGA software and copy and pasted info on new thread

Awaiting any help I can get since I cant read this COA sticker.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Win 7 activation - original product key does not match factory install
Yesterday, I tried to help my father to activate some used laptops. 3 of 4 proceeded without difficulties. The last one has only 2 days left for activation. I tried entering the product code key that is stored in the battery compartment. it is registered as a windows 7 Pro. Upon...
Installation & Setup
clean install windows 7 over factory
Sorry another question is there much of a boost in speed with a clean install? Is there a list of what windows comes with? I don't use anything that came with my toshiba so I doubt any program be missed just curious still debating if this is worth it., The computer seems to know :P now its acting...
Installation & Setup
Clean install or factory restore?
So my mom recently bought a HP laptop kinda used, so I'm in charge of setting it up now what would you guys recommend to do a clean install of windows 7 or a factory restore? The restore doesn't take very long unlike the clean install option.
Performance & Maintenance
clean install or factory reinstall?
The only bonus of factory install I can see beside fixing windows issues (update issues) is it comes with Norton... which I hear isn't even as good as basic Microsoft essentiall? Will I be seeing a huge speed boost with clean install? I mean is it possible extra running procces could be bogging...
Windows Updates & Activation
Clean Install using Factory COA Activation Key
I have created this as an actual tutorial so more people can find the information. ;) Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key .
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 09:12.
Twitter Facebook