Possible Duplicate:
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?

  • 2
    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
  • 1
    @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
  • 1
    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

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.

  • 1
    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
  • 5
    @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
  • 3
    @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
  • 2
    @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 - Danny Pflughoeft Jun 17 '11 at 19:26
  • 3
    @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

  • 3
    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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.