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We will be restoring machines here in our office to fresh copies of Windows and would prefer to used non OEM windows so we don't end up with all the Dell or HP or whatever software on there. Also that will allow them all to be the same to simplify the install/uninstall of whatever software.

Where can I go to get free copies of Windows and then put in my licence key to "unlock" it?

My boss wants me to find an official source if possible. Something under I imagine.

I am looking for Vista, but Windows 7 would be nice too.

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1… for Windows 7. – Kez May 15 '11 at 17:42
PC Decrapifier for removal of OEM bloat... – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 10 '11 at 14:22
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Even if you download OS copies from Microsoft your OEM key is not going to work! You do not have choice other than reinstalling OS from original CD/DVD. There is hack but you need to check if you are not breaking the legal laws. Option is download a OS copy from Microsoft then replace the i386 equivalent folder from DELL/HP original disk in the ISO file and reburn the iso. This way you will get a fresh OS copy without DELL/HP crapwares. However do check if you are not break MS legal laws.

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Uninstalling the Dell bloatware isn't hard, there is not usually much of it – Simon Sheehan May 15 '11 at 17:42
It is strange you say the OEM key did not work. A coworker was installing a new copy of Vista at a customer location. He had a DVD with all versions of Vista on it and made sure before he left that they had the product key on the machine that he could use. This makes me seriously doubt that the OEM disk is required. – George Bailey May 15 '11 at 18:45
@George Bailey: I could be wrong! However my experience and knowledge tells me that MS usually ships different OS packs for HP(OEM)/DELL(OEM)/RETAIL and they make sure that each others serial keys wont work with each other... other than the one it is suppose to work and you will not get a OEM pack on Microsoft site directly to download. – TusharG May 15 '11 at 19:26
@George: I could be wrong! but my experience and knowledge tells me that MS usually ships different Licensed OS that only works with given key for OEM and completely different range of serial number for retail versions. Usually OEM version is not directly available to download from MS web site. – TusharG May 15 '11 at 19:29
Yes to both. There is ONE OEM version (not a different one for each build), to be used with OEM codes. You need a technet subscription to download it. But there are ways to trick the win7 trial download into taking your OEM key. – Kara Marfia May 16 '11 at 5:33

You need to speak to MS or whoever supplied you with your licence agreement to find out. You can get the trial copies of some Windows packages from MS themselves. However, your OEM key won't work in these verisons. You specifically need an OEM copy.

Be also aware, that the OEM keys on the cases may not active and may require a phone call to MS's automated activation. This is because MS turned off the option to activate most OEM keys from their site because people were nicking them. However, I think if the OS is installed on the exact same machine with the same original CD/DVD then I think it does activate.

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