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Windows 7: Laptop with bootleg Windows - Wanting to restore to legit key

10 Feb 2012   #1

Windows 7
Laptop with bootleg Windows - Wanting to restore to legit key

2 years ago, I bought an Acer laptop that came with Window 7 Home Premium 64-bit. But my boyfriend at the time decided that Home Premium wasn't good enough, so he pirated a copy of Ultimate 64-bit and installed it on my laptop despite me asking him not to. He also "lost" the restore disk.

Fairly recently, the laptop failed to pass genuine advantage, and I'd like to try to go back to using the legit key that I can still read on the bottom of the laptop.

If I buy an OEM version of Windows 7 Home Premium, could I use the disk to install the OS on my laptop and use the product key that is printed on the bottom of the laptop? I plan on building a new desktop, and would like to use the new product key that comes with the disk for that.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Feb 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64

Hi MsFunk,

Since this site has avery strict policy in regard to software piracy, I've decided to check with one of the forum administrators first if we are allowed to help you with this.

Zero10 has agreed that we can help you, so lets get cracking:

Since many bootleg/pirated software is known to carry malware, the best course of action is to perform a clean install (with a full disk format). This guarantees that any malware that may have been present will be completed removed. So, you need to to ensure that all your data (Photo's, music etc. etc.) are backed-up to an external device.

Once you have done that, downlaod a legitimate Windows 7 Home Premium ISO from this link:

It does NOT have to be an OEM version. be sure to select the correct bit : x86 (32 bit) or x64 (64 bit).

Next download and install the Microsoft USB Installer tool from this site:

Use this installer to create a bootable USB thumb drive (must be a minimum of 4GB) using the Windows 7 ISO you downloaded:

You are going to install Windows 7 to your laptop from this USB (ensure it can boot from the USB device by checking in the BIOS), and activate it with your OEM key at the bottom of the laptop.

Post back if you need more help with this.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Feb 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)/Win10

You need to use the Recovery Media appropriate for your laptop - if the recovery partition still exists use that.
If the Recovery Partition no longer exists, you will need to order a set of recovery disks from teh manufacturer, and thene reinstall using that (this will be cheaper than purchasing a new license!)

Either way, you will need to back up all data to external media as it will wipe your hard drive in the process.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Feb 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

If you get the OEM Reinstall Disk for your Laptop from ACER, you can clean install. It will require no activation - it will auto activate off-line.. ( I got the OEM Reinstall Disk for my DELL laptop and did a clean install. Dell sends it free but ACER may charge a small fee.) Get in touch with ACER Technical Support. Just tell them your HDD got ruined by a virus and you need to reinstall. Good luck.

EDIT: 1. You can also download the official Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit from the digitalriver server and do a clean install. You wiill be required to activate by phone using the COA key.

2. Alternatively if one of your friends has the same ACER laptop with the same Windows version, you can backup the OEM activation in that laptop using Advanced Tokens Manager and restore the OEM activation on your ACER laptop, when you clean install the official version downloaded above. The only difference is you will not be using the COA key and you will not be calling Microsoft.

There is absolutely no piracy involved here since you are only restoring the original OEM activation for which you have paid for - but lost doing some mischief :) - more conveniently and comfortably.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Feb 2012   #5

Windows 7

Thanks for the responses, guys. I probably won't be downloading it, since I'm going to be buying the OEM disk anyway for building a new desktop. Also, my BIOS is password protected and not set to boot from USB (THANKS ACER!! This is why I build my own computers!).

Having the other options is a bit of a relief.

And about the pirated copy... I'll reiterate that I didn't want the pirated copy on the laptop in the first place. It's caused nothing but headaches trying to avoid downloading the wrong updates and removing the genuine advantage checks. I wouldn't recommend pirating Windows 7 to ANYONE. I use my computer for freelance work, and I've lost a lot more than $100 in work because of the pirated OS activation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Feb 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

OK, for your ACER Laptop, get the OEM Reinstall Disk from ACER and get done with it. (This OEM disk will not install on any other system/motherboard)

If you are thinking of building your own computer, I would recommend that you buy the retail version of Windows 7.

The OEM edition, though cheaper, will again tie it up to your motherboard. In case it needs to be replaced anytime in future, you will have to get the same motherboard to preserve the activation. If it is not available then and you are forced to use a different motherboard, you may have to do a bit of explaining to Microsoft to get it activated.

The retail version does not restrain being shifted to a new system when such a need arises.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Laptop with bootleg Windows - Wanting to restore to legit key

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