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Missing Windows DVD? How to Download and Reinstall

Discussion in 'Windows - Software discussion' started by ireland, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    Missing Windows DVD? How to Download and Reinstall
    Infopackets Reader 'Bob T.' writes:

    " Dear Dennis,

    I am trying to reinstall Windows on my computer but I can't seem to find my Windows DVD anywhere. In fact, I'm not even sure if my computer came with an install disc. Should I download Windows from a torrent website? Can I use a DVD or USB drive to reinstall Windows? What do you suggest? "

    My Response:

    You can download a copy of MS Windows and install it from DVD or USB, though the steps for installing from USB are a little more involved for Windows 7. I do not recommend you download a copy of Windows from a torrent website (or any website other than Microsoft, for that matter), as there is a very good chance it will be laced with malware. Besides that, downloading it from another website other than Microsoft would be considered piracy, which is illegal.

    If you own Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can download a legitimate, legal copy of the operating system directly from Microsoft's store (for free) and I've provided the links for that further down. At the time of writing this article, I was unable to locate Windows Vista download links, and I don't believe there are any downloads available for Windows XP from Microsoft because it's no longer supported.

    UPDATE: I found the Vista links hosted at windows.net and digitalriver (which is legitimate via Microsoft), but they are not in .ISO format. Most likely these files will create an ISO when launched, though I haven't tried it.

    In general, the reinstall procedure goes something like this:

    1. Find out what edition of Windows you are running

    2. Extract your Windows CD key from Windows and set it aside

    3. Download the appropriate version of Windows from Microsoft's store (free)

    4. Burn the downloaded Windows .ISO file to DVD or extract it to a USB drive

    5. Export and Backup your Data before reinstalling Windows

    6. Modify the computer's boot sequence (if necessary)

    7. Boot from USB or DVD and begin the reinstall

    8. Additional Support from Dennis

    Step 1: Find which edition of Windows you're using
    Before you can download Windows, you need to know which edition you're currently using. Two of the best ways to figure that out are done through the command prompt, with option #2 being my recommended method as it provides the most accurate detail. To launch a command prompt, click Start -> then type in "cmd" (no quotes) and press Enter on the keyboard. Once the black command prompt window appears, type in (or copy and paste) one of the following commands and press Enter:

    winver

    systeminfo | findstr /B /C:"OS Name" /C:"OS Version"

    Step 2: Extract your Windows CD key
    Before you reinstall Windows, you will need to extract your existing license key from within your current Windows installation. To get the license key, download Magic Jelly Bean finder (free), run it, then print out your CD key from within the program (or very carefully write it down).

    Please note that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have different license keys. That said, Microsoft's officially supported method to reinstall Windows 8.1 from an original Windows 8 machine is to install Windows 8, and then upgrade to Windows 8.1 via Windows Update. Please keep this in mind if you are going to do a fresh reinstall of Windows 8. That said, you can also do a 'refresh' or 'reset' instead of reinstalling Windows entirely, which is also described further down in Step #4.

    Step 3: Download Windows .ISO from Microsoft
    Only download the edition of Windows that you have already installed on your system (previously identified in Step #1), or you will have to purchase another Windows license from Microsoft. If you own a 32 bit version of Windows 7 or 8 and you want to upgrade to 64 bit, you won't need an additional license as the existing license will work.

    Here are the links to the downloads:

    Step 4: Burn Windows to DVD or extract it to a USB drive
    Once you download the .ISO image, you will need to burn the file to DVD disc or write it to USB drive. To do so, go to your download folder, right click the .ISO file that you download, and select 'Burn disc image'. If the option isn't there, you can also use ImgBurn (free) to burn to disc. The steps on writing to USB are below.

    Write Windows 7 .ISO to USB
    To write it to USB for Windows 7, you need the Windows 7 USB / DVD Download Tool, though the steps to get it to work are somewhat obfuscated. If you own a DVD writer then I suggest doing that instead of writing to USB.

    Write Windows 8 .ISO to USB or DVD
    To write to USB or DVD on Windows 8, there are no extra steps or downloads as the installation media program will perform the operation when writing to USB or DVD.

    Optional: Windows 8 Refresh or Reset
    If you have Windows 8 already installed, you can also choose to do a 'refresh' or 'reset', which is similar to reinstalling Windows and does not require that you download and use install media. A refresh will keep your user data in tact (downloads, pictures, etc) but you will have to reinstall all your programs. On the other hand, a reset will nuke the entire drive, and you will lose everything (including user data). Only for systems that are severely messed up will you need to download the Windows 8 install media.

    In either case you will most likely want to back up your system before proceeding as all of your installed programs will be lost. If you are unsure what to backup or don't have a backup program, you can send me an email through the contact form if you need assistance.

    To refresh Windows 8, go to Settings (charm) -> Update and Recovery -> Recovery. Look for the heading 'Refresh your PC without affecting your files', and click on the the 'Get started' button. Optionally you can do a full PC Reset, which would effectively nuke the entire system and remove all your data. To do that, click the 'Get Started' button under the option to 'Remove everything and reinstall Windows.' Follow the on-screen instructions to continue.

    Note that you do not need to follow any other instructions in this guide (above or below this section) to complete a Windows 8 'refresh' or 'reset'.

    Step 5: Export or Backup your Data
    It is highly recommended that you backup your data before reinstalling Windows. Most people will want to reinstall some of their data after a fresh reinstall. If you are unsure what to backup or don't have a backup program, you can send me an email through the contact form if you need assistance.

    Step 6: Modify the Computer's Boot Sequence
    Your computer may already be set to boot from CD / DVD / USB before the hard drive. If it is not, you will need to adjust the boot sequence in order to boot from CD / DVD or USB if you are doing a fresh install of Windows.

    The boot sequence can be adjusted in the BIOS by pressing DEL, F2, F12, etc when you first turn the computer on or reboot the system. You need to do it very quickly and I suggest you keep tapping the key repeatedly until you get in. Each BIOS menu is different, but you will need to look for "Boot Sequence" or "Boot Options" menu and adjust the boot order so that CD / DVD or USB options is listed first before the hard drive.

    If you installed Windows 8 using UEFI, you will need to modify the boot sequence through the Settings or through manufacturers options.

    Step 7: Boot from USB or DVD and begin the Reinstall
    Once you have the boot sequence set up properly, you can boot from CD / DVD or USB by resetting the system or powering it on. When you see the option to "Press any key to boot from DVD..." or similar, press the spacebar to initiate the install, then follow the onscreen instructions.

    Good luck!

    Step 8: Additional Support From Dennis
    If any or all of this is above your head and you need help, you can contact me for remote desktop support assistance. I offer 15 minutes of free consultation and you can ask me anything you want during our 1-on-1 meeting.

    --

    If anyone reading this article found this information useful, please consider donating to the site.

    Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!
    I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

    About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

    http://www.infopackets.com/news/9459/missing-windows-dvd-how-download-and-reinstall
     
  2. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    Another M$ shill warns about "malware laced" windoze from torrents.. my experiences from these sources are they are generally more stable and don't come with all the trial (scam) ware garbage and are what they say on the tin.. CLEAN IMAGES .. which you may have to research a little to install reliably. The added advantage is you can muck about with them to your hearts content once obtained.. adding correct drivers and other "essentials" like codecs which are specific to your machine and usage. I make disks for people with laptops, to order.. with ALL the right drivers and a basic suite of codecs and freeware applications.. A lot of local "repair" shops have my custom built disks.. funny that as I'm a publican and not a computer engineer these days XD
     
  3. aldan

    aldan Active member

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    ah,well,you may be able to take the publican out of the computer geek,but you cant take the computer geek out of the publican.lol
     
  4. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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    agree on not "malware laced" & bloatware.
     
  5. xbkrypt0n

    xbkrypt0n Active member

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    Some torrent Windows versions can be pre-patched, usually unsuccesfully as the method used is outdated, and can be a real pita to activate. Just check the MD5/SHA-1 before installing. If you don't know how to do that, then you can always check the filename. So far nobody has messed with images that have the MSDN image filename (eg. en_windows_8.1_with_update_x64_dvd_4065090.iso).

    Just say no to DVD. Probably one of the easiest to use image to USB tools:
    https://rufus.akeo.ie/

    That makes no sense. Unless you meant missing some drivers. A clean/retail image of Vista/7/8/8.1 will install on any modern PC with no issues... unless you count Vista/7 not having USB3.0 drivers and refusing to install if you use a USB3.0/SuperSpeed port and a bootable USB stick (E: tutorial for that).
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  6. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    CLEAN IMAGE = no crapware .. exactly as intended by microsux.. before the OEM's get their hands on it.. Just because YOUR hardware has no problems with the stock drivers included doesn't mean EVERYBODY has the same luck.. Try putting Fista on a damn Packard Bell.!!!!!..........
     
  7. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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    xbkrypt0n, how modern is modern as I've loaded win7 without sp1 as I install that later & it doesn't always find the drivers for sound, videocard & netcard which I have to download on another computer?
     
  8. ps355528

    ps355528 Regular member

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    probably made FOR Fista.. y'know.. has the little sticker and all that jazz.. My old dual core (first series) made in 2004 will install and run win7 .. but it's bad caps era and unreliable.. just a testbed when it wants to POST.. and that's a complete nightmare for drivers..

    I mentioned Packard Bell because they are notorious for the sound hardware.. they messed around with the eeprom on the mobo.. only their driver will work, others which say they are right just screech !!
     
  9. ddp

    ddp Moderator Staff Member

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    just finished replacing 5 domed caps on a 22" lcd screen for a customer. it was the power board caps needed fixing not the video board. had driver issues with some dell towers with their own drivers.
     
  10. WilliamM.Barton

    WilliamM.Barton Newbie

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    This is really a good and helpful post for re-installing windows. Using a legal copy of windows OS is a good decision.
     
  11. xbkrypt0n

    xbkrypt0n Active member

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    Well, I have a Pentium-M Celeron laptop from 2004 which doesn't have PAE support and nothing past Windows XP will even install on it no matter what you do. Wikipedia claims it has internal support for PAE, but that's just bullmanure. Forcing PAE to be used or trying to use fake-pae will not work on that laptop.

    Just install the missing drivers and you're done. You're not supposed to use the OS without installing all the missing drivers. You can usually find all the drivers for OEM/etc. stuff by just looking at the device IDs in device manager and searching drivers with that info.

    That eeprom stuff sounds a little fishy to me (fishy, as in made up).

    E: Back to topic:
    Windows image SHA-1 checksums can be found from here:
    https://technet.microsoft.com/subscriptions/securedownloads/default.aspx
    You can use eg. QuickHash to calculate the checksum of your image
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/quickhash/
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015

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