FYI, I bought Windows 7 in the box with an official license key back in 2009.

Every so often I like to do a full reinstall just to get a fresh start on my computer. I was thinking that it would be a good idea to make an installation of Windows 7 only with drivers for my computer and all the latest updates so far on a separate 'clean' partition of my main drive.

The idea is that when I want a fresh installation I could just clone the clean partition and then manually install whatever I need at the time on top. This would save me from installing from the disc, installing drivers and downloading a ton of updates each time I want a fresh start.

I want to know if I have to activate the OS on the clean partition to install updates for it, and that if I activate it, will it cause problems with other Windows 7 installations existing on the same drive?

I ask because if I have my current installation activated, and I then activate the clean installation installed with the same license key, would that somehow deactivate my current installation, or will activation not go as far to know the difference and accept things as they are because both installations are using the same license key on the same computer?


  • Have you looked at Sysprep? support.microsoft.com/kb/302577 – jornane May 23 '14 at 23:22
  • We can't predict something like this. A valid license can always been activated, its a matter of, if you can do it automatically or you have to call Microsoft to activate it. – Ramhound May 24 '14 at 0:24

It is not possible to deactivate Windows once it has been activated, except when the hardware changes.

Cloning a partition on the same machine should not result in any activation issues. Activation is linked to hardware, and since you're still running on the same machine, the activation is still valid.

What you are planning on doing here, is really not so different from making an image backup of Windows. If the imaged Windows was activated and restored to the same machine, it will still be activated. I have no reason to believe it is different here.

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  • All done successfully with no issues. Tools used: Microsoft Disk Management, EaseUS Partition Master and EasyBCD (to update the boot menu). If anyone else is going to do this, please be aware of how primary and logical partitions work because it could cause some slight headache when creating, resizing, copying and reordering partitions, especially if you have 2-3 primary partitions already. – user1092719 May 25 '14 at 22:16
  • P.S. @Yørn I cannot currently upvote you as I need 15 reputation, but I have marked your answer as correct. Cheers! :) – user1092719 May 25 '14 at 22:17
  • Good to hear it works :) Primary and logical partitions won't be a problem with a GPT partition table. These are required on disks over 2TB and will thus become common quite soon. Don't worry about the reputation, it will come when you're active on this site :-) – jornane May 25 '14 at 23:17

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