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Where do I download Windows 7 (legally from Microsoft)?

Disclaimer: I'm primarily a Linux/Unix person, so all this Windows licensing stuff is new to me.

Where I can I legally download Windows 7 installation .ISO files? (And will it work with my OEM manufacturer provided license?)

Let's say I have friend or family member that comes to me with a laptop that they need help with. This laptop was purchased from ${BigBox Store} and did not come either Installation CDs, or a manufacturer's Recovery CDs and not knowing any better they didn't opt to create a Recovery CD. Additionally, we are out of warranty so there is no (free) way to get the Recovery CDs from the manufacturer (plus they are loaded with a bunch of crapware anyway). And to top things off the installation is completely hosed...as in fresh install is the only way to go.

Luckily we still have that little license sticker on the bottom of the laptop, so he does own a license (or does the manufacturer own the license?), but we just don't have access to any installation media.

It looks like can obtain ESD installation files (whatever those are) here or I can get an .ISOs from a legal torrent. The former doesn't work me as I'm on Linux and the latter seems kind of sketchy.

  • Will his OEM license that was provided with laptop work?
  • Is it possible to legally obtain the Windows 7 installation media that matches the appropriate license?
  • Where can I do this?
  • How can I assure that I have a legitimate, untampered and trustworthy .ISO file?
  • Can I get it in a .ISO format (all my machines run Linux, a .exe doesn't help me very much)?
  • Who owns the license? My friend who bought the laptop or the manufacturer?
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marked as duplicate by ChrisF, sblair, studiohack May 9 '11 at 21:55

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Have you looked at Is there a legal way to obtain Windows 7 DVD? There are links to directly download ISOs from Microsoft's official distributor, DigitalRiver. I believe the provided link also has MD5 sums so you can verify the files you download. –  nhinkle May 7 '11 at 22:09
@ChrisF he specifically mentioned that question and said that ESD files won't work for him because he's on Linux. –  nhinkle May 7 '11 at 22:20
@nhinkle - sorry - I didn't realise that it was a link to that question. –  ChrisF May 7 '11 at 22:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Microsoft Windows 7 Download links answered here

  1. The OEM license should be accepted when installing, but if you do not use OEM media then you will need to call Microsoft's activation hotline to complete the activation process.

  2. Purchaser owns the license, but OEM licenses are not transferable between computers - they must stay on the computer they were sold with.

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This page seems to have links for .iso files that from what I can tell are on an official Microsoft page and are in .iso format.

From http://techpp.com/2009/11/11/download-windows-7-iso-official-direct-download-links/

32-bit Windows 7 Ultimate x86 ISO:


64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate x64 ISO:


32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium x86 ISO:

Digital River: http://msft-dnl.digitalrivercontent.net/msvista/pub/X15-65732/X15-65732.iso

64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium x64 ISO:

Digital River: http://msft-dnl.digitalrivercontent.net/msvista/pub/X15-65733/X15-65733.iso

32-bit Windows 7 Professional x86 ISO:

Digital River: http://msft-dnl.digitalrivercontent.net/msvista/pub/X15-65804/X15-65804.iso

64-bit Windows 7 Professional x64 ISO:

Digital River: http://msft-dnl.digitalrivercontent.net/msvista/pub/X15-65805/X15-65805.iso

Sadly I do not know if you can install an OEM copy from them.

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The first two links don't work. But nice answer, though! :) –  Shade May 7 '11 at 22:21
You can download any version of the Windows 7 and use that to install the version you want. You just need to remove the ei.cfg file from the root of the drive or use an answer file. Just make sure to get the correct bit 32/64. –  Arctor May 7 '11 at 22:26
All of these links appear to be broken. As of 2015, it appears the correct place to start for downloading Windows installation media is: microsoft.com/en-us/software-recovery –  Dan7119 Feb 28 at 15:24

There is a Microsoft KB article which explains the process for obtaining replacement OEM media:

Replacement of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Software Media

To replace software which was supplied with your computer, you must contact the OEM where you acquired the hardware and software. For a list of OEMs along with their contact information, please see the following page... http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?id=fh;en-gb;oemphone

Note: If your OEM is no longer in business, you can contact please call our Contact Centre for more information about alternatives for acquiring genuine software.

If you have OEM software, the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) has the PC Manufacturer's name listed under the software version name. For more information about COA, visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/resources/howtotell/ww/faq.mspx#1

Your best bet is to go back to ${BigBox Store} and ask for installation media. From experience, installation media is an optional extra at an additional cost. For this reason, chances are you will need to pay for it.

Downloading a copy of Windows 7 from a website or via file sharing is obviously both illegal and unsafe. I would advise against it. However, if you do happen to find yourself in possession of a copy of the ISO, you can use MD5 checksums posted on various websites to check if it is legitimate.

When the laptop was purchased, it was purchased with an OEM licence for Windows 7. If you buy the licence, you own the licence.

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