He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. Updated November 14, people found this article helpful There are many reasons you might want to download Windows 7.
For example, if you need to install Windows 7 but you've lost your original setup disc, or it's damaged, downloading Windows 7 would get you out of that bind. Computer makers also often don't include a Windows 7 DVD with new computers, complicating the process of a Windows 7 clean install and even some advanced troubleshooting that typically requires a Windows 7 disc.
You might also want a Windows 7 download just to try out the operating system or to put it on a second computer at home. Windows can be expensive, so finding a place to download Windows 7 for free is an enticing thought. Pretty much everything is available on the internet for free, right? Where Can I Download Windows 7? There are several places to download Windows 7 online but most of them are somewhere between "maybe okay" and "completely illegal.
It's important to realize that in many ways, what you actually pay for when you legally purchase a copy of Windows 7 is the product key , sometimes referred to as a CD key or key code, or incorrectly as the serial number. This unique number is required to be able to fully use Windows 7. So, even if you did download Windows 7 without paying for it, you would still need a valid Windows 7 product key in order to use it fully.
This is the official way to get your Windows 7 ISO image. Here's how to do it: This will probably be the case if you bought Windows 7 yourself, or a smaller computer company installed it for you as part of your custom PC purchase.
Enter your valid Windows 7 product key and verify it with Microsoft. Don't have your product key anymore? So long as Windows 7 is still installed somewhere, you may be able to extract it. Choose your language. Not sure which one to choose? Download the Windows 7 ISO image to your computer. The download link is valid for 24 hours only, so if you don't download Windows 7 within that amount of time, you'll have to repeat the above steps.
You should now have a fully working legal Windows 7 ISO file. Install From USB: Now, you can install Windows 7, use this flash drive or disc for diagnostics, or whatever you were after the Windows 7 download for in the first place. If this Microsoft resource doesn't work out for you, you may need to request a replacement in a different way.
Keep reading for that and several more ideas. Don't Have a Windows 7 Key? Here's Your Other Option There's one way to download Windows 7 legally, without ever having to have purchased a copy or have a valid product key, but it has a caveat that you're probably not going to like. This professional subscription by Microsoft grants you access to Windows 7 downloads and product keys, as well as downloads and keys for most of the software Microsoft produces.
Unless you're a software programmer or IT professional, this very expensive subscription program is almost certainly not worth the money. Prior to late , Windows 7 was available for individuals to purchase and download directly from the Microsoft Store. Of course, if downloading Windows 7 isn't necessary for your situation, your other option is to purchase a copy of Window 7 on DVD. If you have a Windows 7 disc, and are only trying to download Windows 7 because you need to install it on your computer which does not have an optical drive , there is a way to get the installation files from your DVD onto a flash drive.
For a very long time, those Windows 7 ISO files were on a public, unsecured server and could be downloaded without showing any proof of purchase. This might have been a long-running mistake on the part of Digital River, or perhaps Microsoft simply didn't mind considering the fact that you need a valid product key to use Windows 7 for more than 30 days anyway. Regardless of how or why they existed so long, they've all been removed as of February If you have a valid Windows 7 product key, visit the link in Step 1 above.
If you don't, you'll need to purchase an MSDN subscription, or, most likely, just purchase Windows 7 outright. A popular Digital River alternative is to use the HeiDoc. This method, of course, doesn't come with a free product key, so Windows 7 won't run normally until you purchase one. Beware of Other Windows 7 Downloads Any other "free" Windows 7 download you come across online is most certainly illegal, including Windows 7 ISO files obtained via torrents or directly from other websites or servers.
Aside from legal issues, these Windows 7 downloads, unlike the official replacement ISO image from Microsoft, run the risk of being something other than advertised. For example, many Windows 7 images available on torrent sites and from other unofficial sources are "cracked" versions of Windows 7, meaning they've been modified for various reasons You'd be wise to avoid a situation like that. Another Windows 7 download to avoid is software related to cracking Windows 7.
You might have a legitimate copy of Windows 7 but not a real product key, in which case you might try a key generator tool to get yourself one without having to pay for it. While a Windows 7 product key generator might sound like a good idea, it is very much illegal and probably won't even work to activate Windows. Don't Want to Download Windows 7? Replace the Disc A final option for those of you with broken or lost Windows 7 discs that don't want to download an official ISO image is to try to get a replacement Windows 7 disc instead.
If Windows 7 came preinstalled on your computer i. Depending on your computer maker's policy, the replacement Windows 7 media may be free or you may be charged a small fee. If you're in a similar situation with a Windows 7 disc but you purchased a retail copy of Windows 7 on DVD, you can contact the Microsoft Supplemental Parts team and request a replacement. Finally, while not a replacement for Windows 7, you should know that it's possible to create a system repair disc for Windows 7 from any other Windows 7 computer, including a friend's, for just the cost of a blank CD.
That disc can be used to perform all the diagnostic and repair functions that a full Windows 7 setup DVD can. Continue Reading.
Buy Windows 7 Pro Product Key OEM & Retail Key at cheap price, Windows 7 with other PCs running Windows 7 and devices compliant with the Digital Living. Jump to Method 2: Buy Windows 7 Ultimate Product Key from Best Buy - Best Buy is a fascinating store for Windows 7 Ultimate product key. video, games, educational software, antivirus, digital image editing, operating. Jump to Packrat's loophole: Try a Windows 7 or 8 key - If you have an old Windows 7 or Windows 8 7 or 8 key works for activation, a digital.
But note that a key can only be used on one PC at a time, so if you use that key for a new PC build , any other PC running that key is out of luck. Downsides of Using an Old Key When using an older Windows key to activate Windows 10, you may run into complications if Microsoft isn't sure whether you're eligible to update or not.
But that seems to be happening less in recent months and years. Don't Activate Windows: I have colleagues who have used non-activated versions of Windows for years without Microsoft ever shutting it down. Microsoft brands PCs running an unactivated version of Windows 10 with a watermark in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
A Microsoft spokesperson told me that activating Windows 10 ensures you have a legitimate copy of Windows 10, and the watermark is an attempt to alert consumers that their version could be false. However, if you downloaded your ISO directly from Microsoft, there's no way your copy can be a fake.
That means you can't choose personal desktop wallpapers, slideshow backgrounds, Start, taskbar, Action Center or title bar colors, light or dark color schemes, font choices or lock screen options. The lack of custom aesthetics can be a downer, especially if you like to liven things up by changing colors and images.
However, we checked, and you can still change your wallpaper if you right-click an image from the web or a personal photo and set it as your wallpaper. And if you have a wallpaper tied to your Microsoft account, it will appear if you sign into Windows with that account.
You can't access personalization options if you don't activate Windows Use the Microsoft Student Discount: Free Microsoft offers students attending certain universities and high schools the ability to activate Windows 10 Education for free. You can see if your school is eligible and download your free key here.
The key is yours even after you graduate. But is Windows 10 Education any different from Windows 10 Home? Windows 10 Education is the same as Windows 10 Enterprise, which Microsoft calls the most robust version of Windows The OS has features targeting security, device control and management and deployment that Windows 10 Home lacks.
In addition to ethical concerns, if you get caught, Microsoft can make you pay up anyway. And while some turn to Microsoft for this purchase, there are third-party websites selling keys for much cheaper than Microsoft. Now, let's address the elephant in the room. While we can't vouch for all of them, websites selling lower-priced Windows keys are likely selling legitimate codes.
One popular site, Kinguin, has 37 merchants worldwide selling Windows keys. It's just another marketplace. A hint will be if that key is too cheap -- i. And, as with anything else, if you haven't heard of a seller, check their ratings or go elsewhere.
No matter where you get your product key, you shouldn't download Windows 10 from anyone besides Microsoft. At the moment there are a limited number of sites where you can legally purchase digital downloads of Microsoft software.
Downsides of Cheap Keys These non-Microsoft websites have varying return policies for software key purchases. Meanwhile, Amazon and Newegg both have no-refund policies for software keys. Amazon claims all keys sold on its site are genuine, and any gripes you have with your key must be handled by the individual vendors. This final downside is only applicable if you want to equip your PC with Windows 10 Pro for Workstations.
Buy a Windows Key From Microsoft: Do you enjoy the thrills of a watermark-free screen and the comfort of knowing you can call Microsoft support if you have any problems? Then you need a key, which, as discussed, you can get from various retailers. In addition to selling keys for Windows 10 Home and Pro, Microsoft is the only place you can get a key for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. This plan is valid for a year after activating Windows One caveat: What's the Best Way to Get Windows 10?
If you have an old Windows key you can carry over from a previous build, that's your best option. If you don't have a key on hand, you need to decide whether you're comfortable using an unactivated version of Windows 10, which limits your customization options, has an ugly watermark and leaves you ineligible for Microsoft support. Many would argue that downloading Windows without paying for or already owning a product key is ethically wrong. That said, Microsoft has made this process easier over various Windows iterations and lessened the limitations and nagging that happens when you don't activate.
I've even seen well-known vendors and Microsoft partners do press presentations with watermarks on their desktop. If you must buy a Windows 10 key, it's hard to argue against purchasing one from a low-cost seller such as Kinguin or PCDestination.
Microsoft's price is astronomically high and doesn't offer any significant benefits.