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I have a netbook which came with Windows 7 preinstalled and a recovery partition. I would like to put a SSD in the netbook (and reinstall Windows). The idea is to create a bootable USB stick and install Windows 7 from that instead of the recovery partition (since the SSD doesn't have the recovery partition, obviously).

The problem is that I have no Windows 7 ISO to start with (the recovery partition doesn't seem to be a normal Windows 7 installation image). If I were to download a Windows 7 ISO from... somewhere, will I be able to use my original Windows 7 license key to install it (assuming I download the same edition that I have licensed)?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

For legitimate places to download Windows 7 ISO images check Where I can I legally download Windows 7 installation .ISO files? Please don't get them from torrent sites, you really don't know where those files have been or if someone has hidden something nasty in them.

And yes, you should be able to use your original licence key to install Windows 7, so long as you choose the correct version for your system (Home Premium, Ultimate, etc.)

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Although I really like those links, for the record, as long as you are legally licensed, I don't see that getting JUST the media from a torrent site is a problem legally, and provided you are reasonably sure it is not infected, it is not a big deal from that aspect either (check the user reviews of it or if is has a lot of people swapping it.). – KCotreau Jun 13 '11 at 13:24
@KCotreau, I've changed the key word in my answer, while torrent copies are not necessarily illegal they are not sanctioned or legitimised by Microsoft. And as you say they may not be infected, but why take the risk if you don't have to? :) – Mokubai Jun 13 '11 at 13:49

I would advice you to contact your manufacturer first. I know some big brands, I think HP has tools that let you burn your recovery partition to dvds so you can use it even if you're getting a new hdd.

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