I currently have a dual-boot system setup, with Linux Mint 17 on one partition and Windows 7 (not a genuine version) on the other.

I have since acquired a genuine version of Windows 7, and would like to know what is the best way to overwrite the existing one?

Do I need to wipe the whole hard drive and reinstall both OSs or can I simply swap one Windows for the other?


  • In my opionion, I would never use any activation method that is used by most non-legitmant installations of Windows 7, due to the malware included in them. If you decide to wipe your Windows partition due to those same fears that is entirely up to you. – Ramhound Aug 22 '16 at 18:38
  • That's not really what she asked. – Xavierjazz Aug 22 '16 at 18:44
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    The reason I on purpose avoided the author's question is because, the author doesn't have to wipe the Windows installation, in order to make their current installation legitmant. – Ramhound Aug 22 '16 at 19:02
  • You should be able to format the current windows 7 partition, and be able to install the legitimate version on that partition. – var firstName Aug 22 '16 at 19:22
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    That's not the question she asked, Ramhound. She's asking if she can over-write the current W7 partition without harming the Mint 17 partition. You shouldn't assume what she wants without reading the question fully. She's not suggesting any illegality or illegitimacy in her method of activation. – var firstName Aug 22 '16 at 19:25

If you really want to overwrite the existing install and not just convert it to genuine, follow as below:

1) Using the Windows DVD, do a custom install of Windows to your old drive. This will wipe out all other boot entries.

2) Boot from a live Linux disc and install grub.

3) This should probably autodetect your entries.

4) In case it doesn't, manually add them. Just to be sure, keep your older grub entries safely on another drive, so that you at least know what they were.


Since you have required a geniune copy of Windows, you could use the new activiation key. But you may lose some or all of your Custom settings, ditto with any non approved Microsoft sourced apps.

Personally I would advise a clean and fresh start for both OS'es. If you are able to install using the UEFI mode and GPT partition tables, do so, with MS installed first, then install Linuxmint.

  • Doesn't answer the question. The asker has specifically asked if she needs to overwrite both OS's to get a clean Windows, clearly meaning she is considering not doing so. – pulsejet Aug 22 '16 at 19:48
  • It why I suggested the use of the new activation key. Though this may be a problematic method as the asker states they have a non-genuine copy of Windows. But in the third paragraph they recognise they may have to do a total reinstall of both OS'es. – user627912 Aug 22 '16 at 19:54
  • SuperUser is a site to primarily give answers, not opinions. Since the asker asks whether she can install Windows again only, your answer must address this concern primarily. When you have sufficient reputation, you could comment, which would be more appropriate for this. – pulsejet Aug 22 '16 at 20:00

You can activate Windows 7 without leaving the OS if you have an activation key. In order to activate Windows, go to Control Panel, click System, scroll down, and click 'Activate Windows'. Hope my solution helps!

If you would prefer to over-write Windows, instead, put the installation media into your computer, and when it asks you for an installation target, choose the W7 partition.

  • To those who downvoted my answer, please do leave a comment with a reason why. – var firstName Aug 22 '16 at 19:51

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