I need to reinstall my operating system, but it never came with fresh installation media -- only recovery disks, which do not work on an empty partition. I know that in many versions of Linux, it is possible to create an installation USB key from within the OS itself. Is this same thing possible in Windows?

Alternatively, is there a program by which I can download an .iso from Microsoft after providing my product key, etc?

  • No. (Well, that is the correct answer) Nov 15, 2010 at 22:58
  • Do you know the answer to my second question? (Can I download the iso from Microsoft after verifying my product key?) Nov 15, 2010 at 23:10
  • Not as far as I am aware. Nov 15, 2010 at 23:16
  • 1
    Microsoft does not provide an official way to download a Windows 7 ISO from them; however, it is possible to download an ISO from Microsoft's official distributor (digitalriver), which distributed ISOs for academic, MSDN and TechNet downloads. The download links are not documented anywhere publicly by Microsoft or digitalriver, but are accessible without logging in; you just need to find them. Google is your friend.
    – nhinkle
    Nov 15, 2010 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


It is not possible to create installation media from Windows itself. The installed operating system lacks the files required to actually do the installation, and they don't store things like the CDRom (El Torito) boot loader or anything of that sort.

(Linux boxes have the same problem -- you can use the files on the system to make the installable CD, but you still have to download things like the El Torito bootloader from the 'net before installation)

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