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I have a new Lenovo ThinkPad T520. I want to install Linux on this and keep Win 7 HP on the side. I haven't used Windows for 10+ years, so this turned out to be more complicated than expected.

The recovery media that can be created is of no use as it's only able to reset the computer into factory state. This would nuke any Linux installation on the hard drive which would be unacceptable.

My question: Does anyone know how to create a working Win 7 disk from a clean retail copy that will work with the OEM license and also activate? Removing /sources/ei.cfg didn't seem to do the trick and as far as I know it would not help with activation as I would need the cert crap etc.

Has anyone done this? I guess the "easy way" could be to just shrink the Win 7 partition install Linux and then use dd to make bit-by-bit copies of the Win 7 installation in case it needs a reinstall sometime later. However, I would prefer not to waste disk space by keeping such copies on my Linux partitions.

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Try one of these iso files (choose he correct version) and use the key on the COA sticker, should activate...mydigitallife.info/… –  Moab Aug 5 '11 at 4:52
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You can use one of the ISO's in Moab's comment, and install your correct version of Windows 7 (Home Premium, Pro, Ultimate). When you get to the key, you can try it there to see if it works, but if not, you will be able to install it without the key. Once installed, you can go to Computer>Properties>Change Product Key.

The new media is not as particular as XP and before.

I am not totally clear where you are in the process, but you should probably install Windows 7 first, as that is usually recommended. You can choose not to use the whole disk, and leave space for Linux right off the bat.

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