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My stepson has a Dell Inspiron N5030 that did have a recovery partition on it. Early in the year we upgraded to Windows 8 but he is no longer happy with it and wants to go back.

We've tried a few things but don't seem to be able to find how to get back to Windows 7. We managed to get into the advanced boot options but the Dell system restore tool doesn't seem to be available.

Can anybody help, or have we lost our factory image?

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If you have a product key for Windows 7 that came with the laptop I think you should be able to download an ISO for an install disc (see…) and use the key. – James Aug 4 '13 at 18:45
Would this work with OEM? – Mat Richardson Aug 4 '13 at 18:58
There is another similar question at… which seems to indicate yes but you may need to call Microsoft to activate it. – James Aug 4 '13 at 19:04
Did you have any luck in the end? There are loads of forums posts all over the internet where people have reported success using a Windows 7 retail disc/image and an OEM licence - the important thing seems to be that you choose to activate over the phone. – James Aug 7 '13 at 13:02
Yeah we were able to download the file and just pop in the licence key. No phone activation needed, oddly! Many thanks! – Mat Richardson Aug 7 '13 at 13:55
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you have a product key for Windows 7 that came with the laptop then you should be able to use a retail CD or download an appropriate ISO (see Where do I download Windows 7 (legally from Microsoft)?) and use that key to activate it with an OEM license. There are many forum posts on the internet where people have reported success doing this, although some claim that you need to choose to activate by phone.

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