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Chris HoffmanEditor-in-Chief

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He"s written about công nghệ for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a giải pháp công nghệ expert on TV stations like Miami"s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the Đài truyền hình BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times---& that"s just here at How-To Geek. Read more...

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About How-To Geek
chrisbhoffman& Walter Glenn
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Walter GlennFormer Editorial DirectorWalter Glenn is a former Editorial Director for How-To Geek & its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry & over đôi mươi years as a technical writer và editor. He"s written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and edited thousands. He"s authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers like Microsoft Press, O"Reilly, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He"s also written hundreds of trắng papers, articles, user manuals, & courseware over the years. Read more...

About How-To Geek
UpdatedDec 9, 2019, 1:37 pm EST| 7 min read

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You can reinstall Windows from scratch using the hàng hóa key that came with your PC, but you’ll have to lớn find installation truyền thông media yourself. Microsoft offers free ISO files for downloading; you just have sầu lớn know where khổng lồ look.


There are a few ways to bởi this, but they’re all on the straight và narrow–you won’t have to lớn visit a shady BitTorrent site khổng lồ download ISOs that may be filled with malware. Instead, you get official installation truyền thông straight from Microsoft.

NOTE: Depending on the OEM version of Windows that you are running, you might run into an issue using the OEM key with a retail version of Windows. If it won’t activate, you can always install và then Điện thoại tư vấn Microsoft to get them to straighten it out and allow your copy lớn activate. The most important thing is that you have a valid license key.

Download the Windows 10 or 8.1 ISO Using the Media Creation Tool

If you’ve got access lớn a Windows machine, the official method for downloading ISOs for Windows 8.1 and 10 is the Media Creation Tool. The process for using the tool is largely the same for both versions of Windows, so we’ll be using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool for our example. We’ll just note where anything differs.

RELATED: How to Find Your Lost Windows or Office Product Keys

One caveat you should be aware of up front is that you can no longer tải về an ISO for Windows 8–just 8.1. And the hàng hóa keys are different for Windows 8 và 8.1, so if you have a Windows 8 product key, you can’t just use it to lớn install Windows 8.1. Instead, you’ll have sầu to lớn install Windows 8, then do a free upgrade khổng lồ 8.1. After you bởi the nâng cấp, Windows will assign the new product key khổng lồ the installation. You can find that product key in a number of different ways and save sầu it for the future. After that, you should be able lớn bởi a clean installation of Windows 8.1 using the new hàng hóa key và won’t have sầu khổng lồ worry about installing Windows 8 first and going the tăng cấp route.


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Start by downloading either the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool or the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool. Once the tệp tin has downloaded, just double-click it to start the tool and then cliông chồng “Yes” to give sầu it permission khổng lồ make changes to your PC. When the tool starts, clichồng “Accept” to lớn accept the license terms. Note that the Windows 8.1 version of the tool does not ask you lớn accept license terms.

(If you don’t want to use the Media Creation Tool và just want to lớn tải về an ISO file directly, just change your browser’s user agent to a non-Windows browser like Apple Safari on Máy tính bảng iPad while you’re viewing the tải về page. Microsoft will offer you a direct download of the Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 ISO file instead of the standard Media Creation Tool, which only runs on Windows.)

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When the tool asks what you want khổng lồ do, select “Create installation truyền thông media for another PC” và then clichồng “Next.” The Windows 8.1 version of the tool also does not provide this option; it just defaults to creating installation media for another PC (which is what we want).

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The tool will suggest a language, edition, and architecture for Windows based on information about the PC on which the tool is running. If you’re going to lớn use the installation media on that PC, go ahead & just cliông chồng “Next.” If you’re planning lớn install it on a different PC, clear the “Use recommended options for this PC” check box, select options that are more appropriate for the license you have sầu, and then cliông chồng “Next.” lưu ý that if you’re using the 8.1 version of the tool, you actually start with this screen. The tool also won’t recommkết thúc options; you have sầu khổng lồ select them yourself.

Remember, your license will only work with the correct version of Windows–if your license is for 64-bit Windows 10 Pro, you can’t install 32-bit Windows 10 trang chủ with it, so ensure your selections here match what’s listed on your sản phẩm key.

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Next, select whether you want the tool to create a bootable USB flash drive with the installation media, or just create an ISO tệp tin that you can use or burn lớn a DVD later. We’re going with the ISO tệp tin in this example, but the process is much the same either way. If you go with the USB option, you’ll need to provide a USB drive with at least 3 GB of space. Also, the USB drive will be formatted during the process, so make sure there’s nothing on it you need. Select the option you want & then clichồng “Next.”

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Choose a place khổng lồ save the finished ISO file (or point the tool toward the right USB drive if that’s the option you chose).

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At this point, the Media Creation Tool will begin downloading the files & assembling your ISO, which can take a fair bit of time depending on your mạng internet connection. When it’s finished, you can cliông xã “xuất hiện DVD Burner” if you want khổng lồ go ahead và create a disc or just cliông xã Finish if you don’t want khổng lồ make a disc right now.

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RELATED: How to lớn vì chưng a Clean Install of Windows 10 the Easy Way

Now that you have your new ISO saved, you’re ready lớn make use of it however you see fit. You could go ahead and perform a clean installation of Windows (which technically you don’t even need a product key to lớn do), use the ISO to lớn create a virtual machine, or just save it for when you need it down the road.

Download the Windows 7 SP1 ISO Directly From Microsoft’s Website

Microsoft makes the Windows 7 SP1 ISO available for direct download through their site. The only catch is that you’ll need a valid sản phẩm key in order khổng lồ tải về the file–và OEM keys (like the one that came on a sticker under your laptop) won’t work. If that’s you, proceed lớn the next section.

If you vày have a valid retail key, head lớn the Windows 7 tải về page, enter your hàng hóa key, and click “Verify” to start the download process.

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After your product key is verified, select the sản phẩm language you want to lớn tải về và then clichồng “Confirm.”

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Next, choose whether you want the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 7. When you cliông xã whichever version you want, the tải về will begin. cảnh báo that download links generated by the site are only valid for 24 hours. Of course, you could always come back và walk through the verification & selection process again to lớn generate new links.

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After downloading the ISO tệp tin, you can burn it to a DVD by right-clicking it in Windows Explorer & selecting “Burn disc image” khổng lồ burn it to lớn a disc. If you want to install Windows 7 from a USB drive sầu, the best way is to use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to lớn put that ISO tệp tin onkhổng lồ a USB drive sầu.

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RELATED: How to Update Windows 7 All at Once with Microsoft"s Convenience Rollup

The downloaded ISO you’ll get from Microsoft includes Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. When you install Windows 7, you can avoid the hassle of downloading and installing the hundreds of updates that came out after SP1 by installing the Windows 7 SP1 Convenience Rollup. Even better, why not take a little extra time and slipstream the Convenience Rollup right into lớn your Windows 7 ISO? That way, whenever you install Windows 7 in the future, you’ll have sầu one ISO with all the updates (at least up through May 2016) already included.

Download Any Windows or Office ISO Using a Free Third-Party Tool

Microsoft used khổng lồ make all these ISOs available through a site called Digital River, but it doesn’t anymore. Instead, they’re stored on its TechBench site. The ISOs can be hard lớn find, though, và for versions of Windows other than the most current, the site tries really hard to lớn push you into lớn using the Media Creation Tool instead. Enter the Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool. This không tính tiền utility provides a simple interface that lets you select the version of Windows you want, then downloads an ISO for that version straight from Microsoft’s download servers. This includes various builds of the Windows 10 Insider Preview. You can also use the tool to lớn download ISOs for certain versions of Microsoft Office.

First, head over to HeiDoc.net & grab the Microsoft Windows & Office ISO Download Tool. It’s miễn phí và it’s a portable tool, so there’s no installation. Just launch the executable tệp tin. In the main window, choose the version of Windows or Office you’d lượt thích to lớn tải về.

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Clichồng the “Select Edition” drop-down thực đơn & then choose the edition you want. lưu ý that in addition lớn the regular editions of the product (such as trang chủ or Professional), you can also download regions specific editions such as Windows N (which is sold lớn the European market và does not include multimedia apps like Media Player and DVD Maker) & Windows K (which is sold khổng lồ the Korean market).

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After you select the edition you want to lớn tải về, click “Confirm.”

Next, use the drop-down thực đơn that appears khổng lồ choose the product language you want to tải về và then click the “Confirm” button under the language drop-down menu.

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Finally, choose whether khổng lồ download the 32-bit or 64-bit version of the product. Clicking either tải về button will initiate the download using the ISO tải về tool, so you’ll need to keep it open until the download finishes. Alternatively, you can use the “Copy Link” buttons khổng lồ the right khổng lồ copy the direct download links khổng lồ your clipboard và then download the tệp tin using your browser. Either way, note that most liên kết generated by the tool are only valid for 24 hours, though you can always come back & generate new links.

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And that’s all there is lớn using the Microsoft Windows & Office ISO Download Tool. Yes, you could accomplish some of this by digging around the TechBench site, but using this clever little utility is quicker and saves a lot of hassle. Plus, for some products, lượt thích Windows 8.1, finding the direct tải về on the site is next khổng lồ impossible.

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Microsoft also provides other software via the TechNet Evaluation Center. For example, you could download a trial version of Windows Server 2012 R2 & enter a legitimate sản phẩm key to get the full version. Just cliông xã the “Evaluate Now” header on the site to lớn see what trial versions of software are on offer. You will need to sign in with a Microsoft tài khoản before downloading.

Image Credit: bfishadow on Flickr


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Chris HoffmanChris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He"s written about công nghệ for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The Thủ đô New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations lượt thích Miami"s NBC 6, và had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times---và that"s just here at How-To Geek. Read Full Bio »
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Walter GlennWalter Glenn is a former Editorial Director for How-To Geek và its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry and over đôi mươi years as a technical writer & editor. He"s written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and edited thousands. He"s authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers lượt thích Microsoft Press, O"Reilly, và Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He"s also written hundreds of Trắng papers, articles, user manuals, & courseware over the years. Read Full Bio »