Thanks in advance for leaving any donations Philip.
This guide focuses mainly on the two mainstream Versions of Windows; Windows 10 and Windows 7. The Latest Build – Windows 10 Version 1803 is recommended.
Windows 10 Version 1803
Despite Microsoft’s Initially Marketing of a “1 Year Free Upgrade”. All activation mechanisms for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 keys work irregardless if Windows 10 has previously been installed on your system:
- Windows 10 Version 1803 installation media will automatically input all Windows 8 OEM, Windows 8.1 OEM and Windows 10 OEM keys which are embedded in the UEFI BIOS during installation installing the correct edition of Windows 10.
- Windows 10 Version 1803 installation media will all accept Windows 7 OEM keys from COAs (often found under the battery compartments in laptops). Once these are manually input the correct edition of Windows 10 will be installed. If your COA is faded you can reinstall Windows 10 without a Product Key. If you have never installed Windows 10 on your system and your COA is faded see the special case below.
Download a Windows 10 .iso and Clean Install
The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool is recommended for the Creation of Windows 10 Installation Media within Windows i.e. the Guides marked A are recommended for the vast majority of users. Direct Download Links are recommended for the Creation of Windows 10 Installation Media within other OS such as Linux Ubuntu. The Windows 10 .isos Created via Direct Downloads contain more Editions.
- [1A. Written Guide] Download a Windows 10 Version 1803 .iso from Microsoft Using the Media Creation Tool
- [1B. Written Guide] Download a Windows 10 Version 1803 .iso from Microsoft Using Direct Download Links
- [2A. Written Guide] Creating a Windows 10 Bootable USB within Windows
- [2B. Written Guide] Creating a Windows 10 Bootable USB within Linux Ubuntu
- [3. Written Guide] Clean Installation of Windows 10 Version 1803
Notes on a Faded COA
If the COA is faded a GenuineTicket.XML may be used for activation.
- [Written Guide] The Initial Clean Install of Windows 10 Using a Faded Windows 7 OEM COA
OEM Activation Mechanism
Windows 7 OEM is activated using OEM System Locked Preinstallation. The BIOS/UEFI BIOS contains a SLIC version of 2.1 and associated installation media inputs a generic OEM System Locked Preinstallation Key. The OEM SLP key will activate automatically offline when used with a system which has a SLIC version of 2.1. If the SLIC version of 2.1 is absent from the hardware Windows will not activate using this method.
Dell system’s that are older than or equal to 6th generation hardware shipped with a Pro Edition of Windows are eligible for downgrade rights to Windows 7 Pro. i.e. systems with the following stickers contain a SLIC 2.1. System’s shipped with a non-Pro Edition of Windows 10 will not have the SLIC 2.1.
Even older system’s shipped directly with a Windows 7 OEM License have a COA (often found under the battery compartments in laptops). The key on this COA is not needed for Product Activation i.e. systems with the following stickers contain a SLIC 2.1.
Clean Install – Dell OEM
- Download Windows 7 64 Bit OEM Reinstallation .iso (January 2016) from Dell
Clean Install – Microsoft Retail
- Download Windows 7 SP1 (November 2011) Commercial OEM and Retail .iso from Microsoft
- Slipstreaming the Convenience Rollup, IE11, NVMe, Intel Storage Controller and USB 3.0 Drivers
- Activating Windows 7 using OEM System Locked Preinstallation
End of Life Windows Operating Systems
Windows 8.0 Reached End of Life in January 2016. There is a Free Upgrade to Windows 10 (recommended) or Windows 8.1 see Download a Windows 8.1 OEM or Retail .iso.
Windows Vista Reached End of Life in April 2017. Late Windows Vista systems are eligible for a Free Upgrade to Windows 7 OEM which is in turn eligible for a Free Upgrade to Windows 10 OEM. Windows Vista OEM to Windows 7 OEM to Windows 10 OEM.
Windows XP Reached End of Life in April 2014. There is no Free Upgrade to Windows 10 and your hardware is probably over a Decade old in need of replacement. Unofficial Windows XP .iso Downloads are available here.
Virtualisation of Windows and Connectivity to Legacy Specialist Hardware
I have wrote detailed guides which instruct on the setup of Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows 7 using a Virtual Machine as well as the connection of Legacy hardware via USB or Serial Ports. See Virtualisation of Windows using VMware.
About These Guides
All these guides are made by myself Dr Philip Yip. These guides are not official Dell documentation and they should be classified as unofficial self-help Installation Guides. I do not work for Dell but I am recognised by Dell as an expert in Windows Installation on Dell systems. I have volunteered on the Dell Community Forums since 2007. These guides and my posts are not a channel of official support although i do try to help where possible.
Dr Philip Yip (PhD in Biophysics)