I recently bought a Dell Studio XPS 16, with Windows 7 Home Premium. It came with all sorts of bloatware, so I decided to install a fresh copy of Windows. However, I can't seem to find a way to download a copy of Windows 7 from Microsoft's website. Is there a way that I can do this (as long as I provide a product key)?
For the Dell Studio series there is usually a hidden partition on the disk to allow for a reinstall or recovery. This would include the Windows install files (actually its usually just an image of the hard drive in factory state). I would start with consulting the documentation. More often than not I just go to Dell's site and enter the service tag vs. rooting through paper.
The problem of course is that these install partitions usually reset to the factory state, which includes the bloatware that is so annoying. Often if discs are provided with the documentation, there will be the Windows disc and then the Dell disc with their programs/bloatware. If you want discs and didn't receive, OEMs sometimes will ship discs for a small charge, but it varies by manufacturer, I know Lenovo has offered me this in the past, but I am not sure about Dell.
Keep in mind you have a license for the software, you are trying to find the media. Contacting Microsoft will almost assuredly result in them pushing you to Dell. Also, now might be a good time to write down your Windows key, whether its on the bottom of the laptop or if you run a key extract utility.
Finally, you could always borrow a disc from a friend, provided you have a key, and install completely clean. I would recommend downloading Dell drivers first, since the reinstall/recovery partition usually has these preloaded, but a clean install via a different Windows disc will not.
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It happens that for companies, bundle a $.2 disc with a $1000 computer it's too expensive. So, they go the cheap way, and put the installation files on an hidden partition.
Also, they take agreements to bloat the standard distribution: they take money for include that, I mean.