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How can I reinstall Windows 7 if I lost my installation DVD?

I need to reformat my computer, but I don't have my OS discs with me (I do have the cd keys, though). Can I burn a pirated copy of the OS, and then install using my legit cd keys?

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marked as duplicate by nhinkle Jun 17 '11 at 21:03

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.

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Pirated software is known to include viruses and SpyWare. Don't ever use or copy pirated software, not only for this reason, but also because it's wrong. –  Randolf Richardson Jun 17 '11 at 17:58
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@Randolf is right in that we don't encourage or condone piracy here. Consensus is that anything that breaks an EULA isn't encouraged, I believe, and I agree wholeheartedly with this. (It would probably open StackExchange up to litigation, anyway.) –  Shinrai Jun 17 '11 at 19:13
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It's a technical question, not an ethical one. The ethics are debatable, of course. But that wasn't really the question. –  DA. Jun 17 '11 at 20:23
    
@DA: The inclusion of the words "using a pirated CD" in the question is of great concern as it shows intent to [at least temporarily] violate Microsoft's copyright. –  Randolf Richardson Jun 17 '11 at 20:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

There's no need to pirate; you can download the ISOs for Windows 7 installation media directly from Microsoft (well, okay, Digital River's hosting the download but whatever), free of charge.

32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium

64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium

32-bit Windows 7 Professional

64-bit Windows 7 Professional

Links taken from here. I can't personally confirm they're live, but I've done this in the past and they look the same as I remember.

EDIT: Removed Ultimate links since they appear to be dead, but they're out there. Somebody feel free to comment and/or edit these in.

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Here is a aggregated list of all of the windows 7 versions from digital river mydigitallife.info/… in case you need a version other than english. –  Scott Chamberlain Jun 17 '11 at 17:37
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@Randolf - Digital River is a reputable digital file distribution source, used by tons of big name companies. (I wouldn't trust anything that directs to an IP address, for sure, which is why I only posted those and added the disclaimer.) These aren't linked directly on microsoft.com to my knowledge because these are the download links you get if you buy a license key from Digital River - they're not EXACTLY intended for public dissemination, but they're legit and perfectly legal. –  Shinrai Jun 17 '11 at 17:42
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@Tory - I don't expect anyone to take my word for it if they've never heard of the company (which frankly surprises me, that's like never having heard of Amazon), but I think a quick Google search should clear up any concerns about Digital River specifically (and the digitalrivercontent.net domain is, of course, registered to their corporate entity). –  Shinrai Jun 17 '11 at 17:47
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@Randolf: When I bought a digital copy of Windows 7 from my school, they linked me to Digital River. So I think it's legit. –  BlueRaja Jun 17 '11 at 19:26
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@RandolfRichardson I can confirm that Digital River is Microsoft's official distributor for installation media purchased online. I have done this before when buying Windows directly from Microsoft. These links are legitimate, and publicly accessible and known. In a similar vein, see is discussion of removing DRM permitted? on meta. –  nhinkle Jun 17 '11 at 20:59

That would work however this is what Microsoft recommends.

This is what Microsoft recommends

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Legally and ethically, this is the best answer for this question. +1 from me. –  Kirk Jun 17 '11 at 18:16
    
+1 from me too for the same reason -- emphasizing the ethical choice is always paramount. –  Randolf Richardson Jun 17 '11 at 20:10

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