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I just want to do a clean install.

Using the number printed on the sticker.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium x64 OEM

I just want one physical copy of Windows 7, to finish projects already started.

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p.s. - I have been using this machine for a year, so system image need not apply. Unless I can get back to factory settings without paying more money to Microsoft... massive fail. –  harpo Mar 5 '11 at 6:11

3 Answers 3

If your Windows install key/license is legit you can use any compatible media to reinstall however you'd like.

You may want to contact your laptop manufacturer to get one with the drivers preloaded. They'll probably charge you $30-50 for it.

You can also contact Microsoft, and they'll probably be willing to help you figure out your options, since you're a legit customer and their install/activation support is free.

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Unless you have deleted the system image, it WILL get you back to factory default settings. If your school is under MSDNAA, you can download an image from the MSDNAA website. Otherwise, contacting the manufacturer to get a windows disk is always an option.

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If you are willing to go into a grey area, windows images have always been readily available on the internet through less than legal means. If you are using a legit key, i dont see the problem with this. Try googling for "Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit x64" –  aCuria Mar 5 '11 at 8:23
    
this appears to be my best option at the moment, and what I was hoping to avoid. –  harpo Mar 5 '11 at 17:04

Computer manufacturers have done a horrible job (in most cases) because they completely fail to provide you an obvious way to restore your computer. In theory, you should be creating a backup immediately upon startup. Windows 7 backups are full images and can restore your computer to the state you had it when you created the backup. Some system vendors MAY provide a utility to create recovery media (more popular with XP, haven't noticed it much if at all on Win7).

As stated in a previous answer, contact the manufacturer. As this is an OEM installation, it is up to the Original Equipment Manufacturer to provide you with a recovery option - media or some other option. Microsoft as a general rule will not provide you with replacement media for OEM licenses and will simply refer you to the manufacturer anyway.

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