reverting to Windows 7 back to its "original factory state" from a different OS

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by simon726, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. simon726

    simon726 MDL Novice

    Nov 25, 2013
    Hey folks,

    I have a few questions that I wanted to ask (and I'm not sure if this violates the board's rules). A while back, I was doing some IT work down at a small office and the majority of machines were running Windows XP (although the "expiry date" for extended support will end in the matter of months - April 2014), although some were running Windows 7. Whenever they need me for some IT-related matters, they give me a call or e-mail me.

    The small firm that I did my IT work at - didn't do any "bulk orders" of new computers. They often call in to order a computer online or by phone and have it shipped to their business. I set up the computer using the steps as defined on the "pre-loaded" software on the new system.

    From there (and depending on the client's requirements), I was responsible on setting up machines that were "pre-loaded" with Windows 7, however (and if I had remembered correctly), there were some times that they told me to install Windows XP on those computers because they were some applications that were designed to run on Windows XP (notably that they use a supply chain management software at the workplace).

    I did this in the following way:
    1) Place the Windows XP installation disc on the computer
    2) Remove the partitions off the drive (leaving the recovery partition intact)
    3) Installed Windows XP as I would normally
    4) Search for drivers that run on Windows XP (by identifying the hardware IDs located in the System properties - I know that it's often hard but sometimes - I search for drivers that run on the XP OS and so on).
    5) Installed necessary software.

    As Windows XP is heading towards "extinction" soon, I'm planning to put back Windows 7 on the computer that was
    pre-loaded with Windows 7 on it. However, the COA (Certificate of Authenticity) for Windows 7 remained intact. I'm
    considering installing Windows 7 that has a COA on that computer built directly by the manufaturer (or something like that).

    If I were to install Windows 7 using an "untouched" disc (I definitely apologize for telling you this, but), do I:

    1) Enter the product key that was affixed to the back of the computer?
    2) Need to activate it?
    3) If there's a need to activate, do I need to telephone or activate online?
    4) What are some of the other steps that are not covered in this scenario?

    If I remembered correctly, the computers that they have were Acer, HP, Compaq, Lenovos and some Dells (some of them were pre-loaded with Windows XP - both for the Lenovo and Dell).

    What's your suggestion in this particular situation? I know that my questions is a bit complex, but I needed
    some second opinions.
  2. f33nix

    f33nix MDL Member

    Apr 4, 2012
    If the machines are OEM branded and came with Windows 7 pre-loaded then you could make a Windows 7 OEM activation disk with all the tools available on this site.
    You can also pre-load the Windows updates before you "master" your disk so that you literally load the disk and apply a few updates that are not integrated.

    There is no need to use the COA to do this, just having the certficate for each branded machine would be of great help.

    I am sure your next question is that you would like links and a full guide :eek:
  3. InHawks

    InHawks MDL Novice

    Oct 26, 2013
    You can just install windows 7 and use the key affixed to the back of the computer. The only thing is you have to install the correct version of windows (like Home premium, Basic, Professional etc) for which your computer has the OEM license. It is better off if you can make a Universal windows 7 disc by deleting ei.cfg so that you can choose the version you want while installing. The procedure for creating this disc is available in this forum. Then during the install just enter the key affixed and untick "activate when I am online". After installation completes, activate using telephone activation method. It's very easy. Hope this helps.
  4. simon726

    simon726 MDL Novice

    Nov 25, 2013
    #4 simon726, Nov 29, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
    Thanks for your solution. Out of curiosity, when I activate using the telephone method - do they need to collect any personal information about myself? I'm just feeling a bit curious, that's all.

    The next time I visit the client's site, I'll have to telephone the activation hotline from there.

    What are some of the examples of the tools used in the making of an OEM activation disk? I was a bit confused though.
  5. urie

    urie Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 21, 2007
    Forget using OEM:COA key that only ever needed as a last resort, look at Windows-7-DVD-(Multi-Brand-Multi-Edition)-Activation and another option is you can use Daz loader to install key and certificate loader will not be installed because you have SLIC 2.1 in bios.
  6. oldsh_t

    oldsh_t MDL Expert

    Dec 23, 2009
    Food for thought here:
    Leaving the recovery partition was a good thing. But you should have made up recovery disk's of each machine before deleteing anything. With the recovery disk's you could have reinstalled everything back to original OEM and you would not have to go through all this stuff.
  7. f33nix

    f33nix MDL Member

    Apr 4, 2012
    One of the first things I do when I get a new machine.
    If you later decide you wish to sell the machine then you can reload all the bloatware :)
  8. PhaseDoubt

    PhaseDoubt MDL Expert

    Dec 24, 2011
    For all my laptops, notebooks, tablets and such with pre-installed Windows 7 I just make a System Image of the as-bought system and keep it in a safe place. If I ever need to revert to the original installation (once so far) i just restore the image and the machine is just like it was when it came from the box (post startup) pretty much ... bloatware and all.