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I bought a laptop that comes with a German Windows 7 professional pre-installed.

Is it possible to reinstall the OS in English using the same license key? I do not want to have a half-translated version, so I thought reinstalling it before I install anything else on the computer might be the easiest way.

Is the license key language-specific or not?

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No it is not language specific and it is possible to choose a language during install

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You can choose your language, that's not a problem. But the key is aimed to work with a localized installation disc. I mean, your serial is for a specific version (Pro/Home/etc.) and a "country".

My french "Windows XP édition familiale" key can't work with the english "Windows XP Home edition" CD, although I can use the english language.

edit : as @omnibrain mentioned, it might be possible to install Win7 with an "english" DVD and a "german" key (he did). Consider my contribution as a warning and enlightenment :)

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Nice bit of extra info +1 – Joe Taylor Oct 11 '10 at 9:06
1  
He asked for Windows 7. Things changed. I successfully installed english Win 7 pro with "german" key. Or otherwise. – omnibrain Oct 11 '10 at 9:29
    
It’s because XP was on a CD, so the CDs were single-language, but 7 is on a DVD, so there is enough room to put all the language files. – Synetech Jul 20 '12 at 20:57

You should be able to download the English language pack via Windows Updates.

Edit: No you can't in Professional edition. Only in Windows Enterprise and Ultimate editions.

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it's an old question, but anyway, for future readers. There is Vistalizator:

Vistalizator overrides the limit of one MUI language on non-Ultimate Windows editions.

Features

  • Works in 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Vista/Windows 7 Change
  • Windows display language in less than 5 minutes! (Express installation mode)
  • Uses official Microsoft Windows language packs
  • You can install all 36 MUI languages and switch between them easily
  • You can install 55 Windows Vista LIP languages on top of specific MUI languages You can install 59 Windows 7 LIP languages on top of specific MUI languages
  • Compatible with Vista Service Pack 1/2 and Windows 7 Service Pack 1
  • User Account Control (UAC) compliant - prompts for administrative privileges
  • Windows Speech Recognition works with all supported languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish
  • Languages can be installed either in Internal or in Express mode, see details
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