Microsoft Windows OEM FAQs and Downloads

Download Windows and Clean Install

Windows XP-Windows 8.1 have Reached End of Life and will receive no more Security Updates from Microsoft. Download links to these Operating Systems and their Updates may be removed from Microsoft's Servers.

Install Windows as a Virtual Machine


Creating an Image of your Windows Installation and Recovering from it

32 thoughts on “Microsoft Windows OEM FAQs and Downloads

  1. I just upgraded Dell Latitude E4200 running Windows XP to Windows 10 Pro 64 bit. First I used an original genuine Dell Windows 7 Pro 64 bit DVD to install Windows 7. Activation of Windows 7 was automatic.
    I then used the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to install Windows 10 Pro 64 bit as an upgrade to Windows 7. Again activation of Windows 10 was automatic.

    1. Thanks for letting me know you had a successful fresh activation. That system has a Windows 7 Pro License (it would of had downgrade rights to Windows XP Pro) and now you have upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.

      1. Hi Philip,

        The COA on the laptop is Windows Vista Business. The laptop was built on 13/10/2009 about the same time Windows 7 became available. There was a free upgrade to Windows 7 offered at the time. I remember having to submit service tag details to Dell and they sent out Windows 7 disks. However I bought this particular laptop second hand December 2012, well after the Windows 7 free upgrade offer expired.

        I have also upgraded an old Dell Precision M90 using the same method. I bought that second hand in 2009 and probably installed Windows XP on it. I then probably upgraded it to Windows 7 using a DELL OEM disk and when the free Windows 10 upgrade was announced I thought I'd give it a go and sure enough it worked. I even got a video driver installed to ensure 1920×1080 resolution. I think that laptop is the oldest I've installed Windows 10 on – built in August 2007!

        I've got a busted up Latitude X1, maybe I'll give that a go.


      2. Its one of the models sold with either Windows Vista or Windows 7 (Dell were selling it when Windows 7 was launched and the ones they sold with Vista were eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7). That free upgrade was advertised as time-limited however Dell released a BIO Update which would have changed the SLIC from 2.5 to 2.6 (meaning a Dell Windows 7 Reinstallation DVD would work on it). Likewise with the Dell Precision M90. The Latitude X1 was released in 2005… it will not have a upgraded SLIC and Windows 7 should not automatically activate on it.

  2. I was given a Dell Precision M6600 Win 7 Pro 64 bit with 2 300 GB HDD. It is dinged up on the outside but it seems like most everything is functional. Here is the issue – BitLocker is active and I don't have the PIN. My plan is to upgrade to Win 10 Pro. My understanding is BitLocker only encrypts the files not the OS. I have not been able to find a way around BitLocker and allow Win 7 to boot-up. I was able to boot the system from a CD with GHOST. I have reached the point where I am thinking of just formatting the HDDs and starting from there with a fresh install of Win 7 Pro and then upgrading to Win 10 Pro. The system has a valid MS Win 7 key code. What is the least technically challenging method with the least cost to get this laptop into usable condition?
    Disk 1 is C:
    Disk 2 is D: & E:
    Both are non-RAID disks

    1. No need to bother with Win 7 Pro, if you have the 25 digit Product Key use it directly to clean install Windows 10 Pro (input the product key during installation, the Windows 10 Installation Media will accept it, install Windows 10 Pro and activate automatically when online).

      That system doesn't have Dell Data Wipe but you can use something like Parted Magic to perform a secure wipe of the hard drive(s) before installation although personally I would just change the drives out for a relatively inexpensive 250 GB SSD which will lead to a huge boost in performance and clean install directly on that.

  3. Hi philipyip,
    Thank you so much for responding to my questions. I wish I had checked back the same day. I went off, did some Googling and reading, downloaded a MS tool, and created a bootable USB with a Win 7 Pro 64 bit ISO file. By tapping F2 during the laptop boot-up, I accessed the BIOS boot sequence and changed it to USB. Now the laptop loaded Win 7 from the USB. I was then able to access the Command Prompt window. I used Diskpart to clean, partition, and format (NTFS) the HDD. BitLocker be gone! Now I have a fresh install of Win 7 Pro. There were a lot more steps and they all did not go as smoothly as my explanation. LOL! I took the scenic route and learned a few things along the way. My goal is still to upgrade to Win 10.
    Now I have a few new questions . My MS Product Key is actually for Win 7 Pro OA, which I understand is the OEM version I should have downloaded from the Dell website. I'm concerned that without the OEM version some of the laptop features may not work or work poorly. Also the laptop has two 298 GB HDDs and I've become convinced I should partition (for many reasons) but I could use some expert advice on how many and how big and for what benefit. I like fast computers, easy to use & maintain (backup) that work for me not me working for the computer. Then there is this RAID option. Why does the laptop have it, what is it good for, is it anything I need to consider?

    1. You can use the Microsoft version. The Dell ISOs only have slightly more updates and basic system drivers, product activation and Dell branding in system properties. You still need to install the drivers to get full functionality. Windows 10 will include or automatically update drivers in most cases. HDDs are slow, you should consider replacing them with SSDs.

  4. Hello Philip, I have an old Inspiron 15and the HDD is broken. Where can I find out the original Win 8 key?

    1. It is embedded in the hardware, Windows 10 installation media should automatically input it during installation.

      1. Great, so I can download Win 10 ISO and install it without any issues. Thanks!

      2. Yes, you can download Windows 10 Version 2004 Insider Preview Slow Track ISO or the Windows 10 Version 1909 Media Creation Tool to get the slightly older ISO.

  5. Hi

    I had purchase Dell inspiron-15-3521, with Original windows 10. Issue is that my I reinstall my windows and now activation key is missing.

    what can i do now. as System continuously asking Product key

    1. The product key is embedded in the ACPI Tables of the UEFI BIOS… Windows 10 Installation Media should automatically input it during installation. When using Windows 10 Installation Media from Microsoft, you are asked for a Product Key (during installation)? If you install RWEverything and go to Access and then ACPI tables do you have a MSDM tab and a SLIC tab?

  6. My laptop model is Dell XPS M1530. it was purchased in the year 2009.
    Operating system: Windows vista (home pack (genuine), copyright @2007, service pack 1.
    Processor: Intel (R) Core (TM) 2 Duo CPU T9300 @2.50 GHz, RAM 4 GB. 32-bit

    I would like to install window 10 in this laptop. I tried to download win 10, but unable to installed because of (ISO) file. I also tried to upgrade through Original Window-vista CD with help of key, but it shows upgrade is disabled, it can be done through window only.

    So please help and suggest how to installed window 10, in this laptop.

    1. You can't perform an upgrade install of Windows Vista to Windows 10. You need to clean install. Create a Bootable USB (MBR partition scheme and NTFS formatted for such an old model). Rufus 3.x is incompatible with Windows Vista so you will need to use 2.x. You won't have a Windows 10 compatible product key but you can install Windows 10 Home without a Product Key to run it unlicensed. Some minor customisation settings will greyed out and there will be a small watermark on your desktop but otherwise it should be fully functional. There is no point spending £ on a new key on such an old model (better to save it towards a newer model or newer second hand model).

  7. Hello, I have a Dell Latitude E5430 (June, 2013) which came with Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-Bit installed, and also with the Reinstallation DVD. I took advantage of the free installation download of Windows 10 when it was offered, and it has been running without issue until two days ago. At that time, on startup I received a "No Bootable Device Found" message, and have not been able to boot the machine. I have run the thorough diagnostics tests accessed via F12 and have found that all hardware passed the tests except that Battery Health is at 55%. I normally use the machine with the AC adapter. I have accessed BIOS using F2, and have tried every possible combination of Legacy and UEFI options, Advanced Boot Options, and with and without Secure Boot enabled. All to no avail. Is there a preferred BIOS setup? If I cannot configure BIOS for a successful boot, I do not have a Windows 10 DVD since it was installed via download from Microsoft…do I need to purchase Windows 10, or is there a way to obtain either a DVD or thumb drive from, which to boot? Thanks for any help you might offer.

    1. You can download Windows 10 and install Pro without a Product Key. It will reactivate when online automatically (the system motherboard is registered with a Microsoft Product Activation server during the free upgrade, this activation server remembers your system after a reinstallation and reactivates it):
      Use a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot. If you have not encrypted your drive with bitlocker or another program and don't have your data backed up. Use a Linux Live USB to attempt back your data to a USB external drive:

      1. Hi Philip, And thanks for your reply. In BIOS, I tried UEFI/Secure Boot/Legacy ROMs disabled with the same result…no bootable device found. I am communicating to you via my partners MacBook Air, so, not a Windows machine. I went to your link to install Windows 10 and found it overwhelming…I could not find a direct path to anything that would help me get a reinstall of Windows 10 on my Dell Latitude E5430…it seems that I need a reinstall via either a DVD or a flash or USB device. I could find neither of those at the link you provided…am I missing something? Best, Robert

      2. The top section instructs on downloading Windows 10 using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and Making a UEFI Bootable USB. It gives options for systems with a UEFI BIOS and a Legacy BIOS. It instructs on making the media on Windows and on Linux. I have not tried making the Bootable USB on a MAC system however the instructions on Linux Ubuntu should be similar.

  8. Hi Philip
    Do you have any recommendations for installing Win10 on 32gb eMMC ? I have a Lenovo Ideapad and had to reinstall with Win10 Pro from scratch to update it but now there's no disk space left for anything else. Is there a lite version that would require less diskspace?

    1. There is no light version of Windows 10. I would personally put the minimum system requirements to run Windows 10 at 250 GB. 120 GB is manageable (if nothing else is on the system).

      The 32 GB drive will more or less be full when Windows 10 is installed and there isn't really the free space for it to update properly particularly from build to build.

      You could try Ubuntu 20.04 LTS or the lighter version LUbuntu.

  9. Hi Dr Yip,

    I tried to download the Dell Windows 10 Pro ISO (& to create bootable recovery USB media) using Dell OS Recovery Tool 2.3.6096.0_A00 but failed multiple times (4x) due to suspect reasons (no internet connection)(but I have no problem with Microsoft ISO download). Now I encountered issue in that it does not seem to delete the partial or failed or work-in-progress ISO files, thus causing my C: drive to ultimately run out of disk space for further attempt of download?

    I exited the Tool and reboot my Dell notebook multiple times, but I could not recovered my disk space (approx 19 GB lost whilst using this Tool).

    Appreciated if you could answer these questions:
    1. Where are those temporary ISO files located? So that I can delete them!! (I suspect they are hidden)
    2. In the worst case scenario where I failed to download the ISO, do you have an article where I can merge all the necessary Dell drivers into stock standard Microsoft Windows 10 Pro ISO.

    Thanking you in anticipation.


    1. You can use the standard Microsoft ISO (I usually do). Dell (Command) Update can be used to install all the Windows drivers post installation. For a business model such as an OptiPlex, Latitude, Precision or XPS you can download the Dell Driver CAB file and slipstream it into the install.wim. Driver packs for slipstream are not available for the Home sector mdoels e.g. Inspiron. The Windows 10 guide covers these scenarios.

  10. Hi Philip,
    I have a Dell Vostro 3400 and had Windows 7 Home Prem OEM installed in it. My hard drive crashed and do not have any backup. I downloaded the Windows 7 Home Prem ISO file from a 3rd party website and installed it but Windows is not getting Activated. As per your post, I checked the ACPI tables and I do see the SLIC tab showing v2.1. I was hoping it will automatically activate windows, but it did not. I even tried entering the Key provided on the sticker on the machine but I keep getting the error 0x80072F8F.
    Do I need an OEM ISO file for it to work?
    I tried to get one from Dell OS recovery tool but it does not support my Service Tag. I tried from the Windows ISO downloader that you have shared but I only see Windows 7 Home Basic or Pro version not the Windows 7 Home Prem there. Please guide me how to proceed.

    Thanks a ton,

  11. Hi, I have Dell Inspiron N5110 with Windown7 home edition ……With OEM Licence….When few yers before i got option to free install windows10 i tried and downloded with window but at the time of installtion it refuse to upgrade from windows 7 home to windows 10…….Now i am planning to upggrade from OEM licence window7 home edition to windows 10 home……(I did not do any change in hardware after purchsing laptp from Dell)…..I am new in this process to upgrade please guide simple method to upgrade from Win7 to wind 10 and ….how will I get windows 10 licemce ………..on google some confusion has been created that OEM windows 7 not able to upgrade…….and i have to change my HDD with SSD to sppedupmy system booting may be after upgrade windows10 or before?…..Kindly share simplist method to which can be understandable to a layman…..or inexperience person.

    1. The activation mechanism for Windows 10 (regarding the free Windows 10 upgrade from Windows 7 never changed). It is outlined in my Windows 10 installation guide (the section on gatherosstate.exe at the end explains what to do if the COA is faded):

      Note however that Windows 10 system requirements got substantially elevated past Windows 10 Version 1709.

      That model is about 10 years old and does not have a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot (it has a Legacy only BIOS). The system is below the minimum recommended requirements Microsoft have for a modern Windows 10 Build.

      If it still has a HDD in it, you will likely have dreadful performance with 100 % Disk Usage continuously locking the system up.

      On older Windows 10 builds (Version 1709) you could replace the HDD with a SSD and have acceptable performance… Unfortunately this was one of the worst models Dell designed at the time… It requires essentially an entire disassembly including removal of the motherboard in order to get to the HDD to replace it. You can check the Dell Service Manual out for your system to see how comfortable you are with this before trying.

      I have included some instructions here on downloading a Windows 10 version 1709 ISO and creating a Legacy Bootable USB:
      However most my guides have been simplified to only outline UEFI as it has been the standard for the last 10 years.

      1. Thanks you philipyip for your response…………..
        Yes i still have 500GB HDD in it, and no modification has been done till now in my system………………………….and i can see the windows 7 is activated and its OEM key under (My computer —-properties …section) …..can this OEM windows7 home premium key is utilized for windows 10 activation??…………. and till now i understand that i simply use media creation tool and upgrade this windows7 to windows 10 home edition and during upgrade i enter this windows7 OEM key to activate windows 10…………………………..after complete installation activate windows10 by going on security section of windows10 and will get Digital Licence key there……………………….. and then Link one email account with microsoft to get a link with activated windows10 ……………………………………in 2nd phase i replace my HDD with SSD drive and used windows ISO image 1709 ……..on that new SSD and use same email account to get windows 10 activated………………

      2. You can use gatherostate.exe from the Windows 10 installation media to generate a genuine ticket or you can activate Windows 10 Home using the Windows 7 Home Premium Key (if it hasn't faded).

        As I mentioned you will likely have terrible performance on the latest Windows 10 builds if you attempt to run them on that hardware, especially with a mechanical HDD.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.