How to Make a Bootable USB, CD or DVD to Install Windows Using an ISO File
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Did you ever format a hard drive, only to realize that the computer doesn’t have a DVD or CD drive? And now you need a bootable USB flash drive? Or maybe you thought the computer could be booted from a USB drive, but the version of the BIOS doesn’t allow for that?

Even if you don’t need it right now, go ahead and create your bootable Windows USB or DVD with us now. It’s not something you’ll need often, but that one time you do, you’ll be so glad you already have it!

Frustrated Woman with Steam Coming Out of Her Ears

Whether you’re just stepping into taking ultimate control of your computer, or you happen to be the one friends go to for computer help, or if you are a dedicated computer technician, it is nice to know a few different ways to install Windows. ISO is the simplest file format to build a bootable disc or USB device.

NOTE: If you want to create bootable CDs of Windows, you will only be able to do that with Windows Vista or XP. If that’s the Windows version you’re running, might I suggest switching over your older computer to Linux The Best Linux Distributions For Windows XP Refugees The Best Linux Distributions For Windows XP Refugees Read More ? I’ve spent about two hours looking for legitimate Vista or XP downloads to make bootable CDs for installing them, without any luck. Even searches on different bit torrent sites came up with nothing promising.

What’s an ISO? What Are ISO Files & How You Can Create, Use & Burn Them For Free In Windows 7 What Are ISO Files & How You Can Create, Use & Burn Them For Free In Windows 7 ISO files can be created from any CD or DVD you have lying around. They’re called "disc images" because they’re an exact image of a disc. An ISO file contains an exact representation of the... Read More

That’s a fair question. Any file that ends in .iso is generally referred to as an ISO. An ISO file is a sector for sector copy of all the data from a disc. It’s a virtual copy of a CD or DVD, with the same file structure and the same data. Think of it like a perfect photocopy of a photograph. The copy will have all the colours, shadows, and nuances of the original. Perhaps that’s why ISO copies are referred to as ‘images’ of the original.

The acronym ISO comes from the name of the organization responsible for creating industry standards – International Organization for Standardization. Yes, that should be IOS, but they figured ISO was better.

Having an ISO of a disc is also useful for sending a copy of a disc from one computer to another. With it being a perfect duplicate, nothing gets lost in copying or compression. You’ll often see ISO files of programs and operating systems on bit torrent directories or other file sharing sites. Maybe you’d like to make your program install discs into ISO files No DVD Drive? No Problem! Create And Mount ISO Files For Free With These Tools No DVD Drive? No Problem! Create And Mount ISO Files For Free With These Tools My computer doesn’t have any optical drives anymore. That means CD drives, DVD drives, Floppy drives--they’ve all been cut out and done away with forever. If a particular piece of peripheral gear doesn’t have a... Read More .

What Does Bootable Mean?

Any media, whether it’s a USB flash drive, CD, or DVD is bootable if you can use it to boot your computer from the USB drive or disc, instead of the computer’s hard drive. When installing Windows, the media you use must be bootable.

How Do I Get an ISO of Windows?

Well, that all depends on what Windows license version you need Need a Legal & Cheap Windows License? Here Are Your Options Need a Legal & Cheap Windows License? Here Are Your Options Windows is expensive. Here are some tips and tricks to help you save money on your next Windows license or product key. Read More . Let’s take a look at Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. All are available from Microsoft through downloads that include a tool to create your bootable media.

Windows 7

The official way to create recovery media is through Microsoft’s Software Recovery page. Before you head over there, make sure that you have your Windows 7 Product Key.

Be aware, for this method to work, you can not use an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) key. It has to be from either a Windows installation disc or from a previously downloaded ISO purchased from Microsoft. If your key came from anywhere else, there’s still a way to get a proper and safe ISO, which we’ll look at in a few paragraphs.

You can find your Windows Product Key either with the original installation media, or in an email from Microsoft from when you originally bought it. If you have none of these, you can recover your Windows key from your computer using product key finder software 3 Portable Applications to Help You Find Serial Keys on Your Windows PC 3 Portable Applications to Help You Find Serial Keys on Your Windows PC If you've ever paid a chunk of change for a shareware application or subscription, you know the drill. Serial keys in the form of plain-text strings or files are pretty much the universal standard. The... Read More .

There are several to choose from, however for this article, let’s use Magical Jellybean’s KeyFinder. The free version will do. Upon finishing the installation, it will immediately show you your product key. It’s the 25 character key labeled CD Key. It’s a good idea to write that down in a safe place, in case you need to refer to it later.

Magic Jellybean KeyFinder

Armed with your product key, head over to the Microsoft Software Recovery page, and follow the instructions there. At the end of the process you’ll have an ISO of your version of Windows and a tool to make a bootable USB drive or DVD.

Where Else Can I Download an ISO of Windows 7?

You can still download Windows 7 from TechRiver, an official e-commerce provider for Microsoft. Here are some direct download links for you.

If you’re looking for Windows 7 in a different language, TechVerse has a series of links to the TechRiver downloads.

Just in case those links go dead, Softpedia is another site from which you can download Windows 7. Although these might not be Microsoft approved downloads, Softpedia has a reasonable reputation for delivering safe software. You can find several versions of Windows 7 there, or just use the handy links provided below:

Downloading is going to take awhile. The x86 (32-bit Windows) versions are about 2.6GB and the x64 (64-bit Windows) versions are about 3.1GB. Depending on your Internet speed, it could take several minutes or hours.

Windows 8.1

Let’s say you need Windows 8.1 ISO. No problem. You can get that. Simply point your browser to the Microsoft Create Installation Media for Windows 8.1 page. Note that if you’re not running Windows 8 or 8.1 on the computer you’re trying to create the media from, you’ll need to provide a product key Four Places to Find Your Windows 8 Product Key Four Places to Find Your Windows 8 Product Key With Windows 8, finding the 25-digit product key got harder. But you still need it to download installation media or install on a machine that didn't come pre-installed with Windows 8. Read More . The instructions there will walk you through the process of creating either a bootable USB flash drive or DVD of any version Windows 8.1.

As you go through the process on Microsoft’s page, you can choose to either create a bootable USB or DVD. If you choose the USB route, you will need a USB flash drive at least 4GB in size and with no files on it. Anything on the drive will be erased by the process. The USB method also requires the USB drive to be plugged in to start the process.

Where Else Can I Download an ISO of Windows 8.1?

For free and completely safely? At the time of writing this, there isn’t any. Of course, you could download it via bit torrent, but that’s just asking for trouble. Sorry.

Windows 10

The latest, and arguably greatest, version of Windows, can be downloaded as the Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO from Microsoft. Take note, this is a Technical Preview – meaning that it isn’t necessarily stable or that it will run well on your computer. If you’re going to do this, make sure you have a backup of your current operating system, or perhaps install Windows in a virtual machine Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine Read More on your computer. As good as it looks, you might not want to use Windows 10 as your main operating system Why The Windows 10 Technical Preview Should Not Be Your Main OS Why The Windows 10 Technical Preview Should Not Be Your Main OS If you think Windows 10 is a keylogger, you know nothing about the purpose of a Technical Preview. That's OK because we're here to explain. Read More , just yet.

Make a Bootable USB Flash Drive

Now that you’ve got your Windows ISO, it’s time to put it either on a DVD or USB flash drive and make it bootable. Let’s start with a USB flash drive.

There are several good utilities to help you make your ISO into a bootable USB. Possibly the simplest one to use is Rufus.

Rufus does require you to have Administrator level access on the computer you’re using it on. Once it is downloaded, right click on it and select Run As Administrator.

Once Rufus opens you’ll see the following window:

Rufus Bootable USB Creator - Step 1

In the Device field, make sure you have selected the specific USB flash drive you want to use. Note that it should be at least 4GB in capacity. If you aren’t sure which flash drive is which, it’s safest to remove all of them from your computer, except the one that you want to use.

Don’t concern yourself with the next four fields. They will automatically sort themselves out when you choose the ISO you want to use. Make sure that the Quick format, Create a bootable disk using, and Create extended label and icon files boxes are checked.

Right next to the label Create a bootable disk using, there is a drop-down box. Click on it and select ISO Image. To the immediate right of that, there is a button that looks like a DVD in front or a hard drive. Click on that and navigate to the location of the ISO file you want to use. Double click on the ISO file to select it for use.

Rufus - Select ISO

Take a look at Rufus now. See how some things have automatically changed? That’s good thing.

Rufus - Self-adjusted

To start the process, click on the Start button.

The process will take a while. Rufus is not only making the flash drive bootable, it’s writing several gigabytes of data to your USB flash drive as well. Depending on different hardware factors, expect this to take around 10 minutes.

Rufus - Copying ISO Files to USB

Once the process is complete, you have a Windows Bootable USB Flash Drive. Use wisely.

Make a Bootable DVD or CD

For this section, we’ll be using the term DVD, instead of DVD and CD. If you wanted to install Windows Vista or XP, and were fortunate enough to find an ISO of either, the process is nearly identical for both mediums.

Before you start, make sure that your computer can write to to a DVD or CD. Many new laptops no longer have a DVD/CD player in them, and older computers may only have a CD reader. Be certain that is a new, blank, writable DVD to use and that it’s in your computer.

Find yourself a software utility that can help you create a bootable DVD. There are many different bootable DVD creation utilities out there. For our purposes, we’ll be using CDBurnerXP CDBurnerXP - A Great Burning Tool For CDs DVDs, Blu-Rays & ISOs [Windows] CDBurnerXP - A Great Burning Tool For CDs DVDs, Blu-Rays & ISOs [Windows] Optical discs are not forever, but although they are losing significance, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are still a great medium for long term backups, given you store them right and don't use them as your... Read More to create a bootable DVD.

If you’d like to try something different, ImgBurn is a good DVD burning app ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App Read More , also.

Let’s assume that you’ve already downloaded and installed CDBurnerXP. If you haven’t, get on it! Note that when installing CDBurnerXP, it gives you the option to install another piece of software called Wajam.

CDBurnerXP - Wajam Opt Out

Now, let’s get to the business of burning our Windows Bootable DVD.

Open CDBurnerXP. In the first window, you’ll notice several options. Each option functions like a configuration wizard. Choose the job you want to do, and the program will walk you through it. Let’s choose Burn ISO Image, then click on the OK button. Now is a good time to make sure you have a DVD in your computer.

CDBurnerXP - Burn ISO Image

CDBurnerXP would like you to choose to which DVD burner the ISO file will be burned. Chances are you’ve only got one, so it will be pre-selected. If you’ve got more than one CD/DVD burner in your computer, use the drop-down menu labelled Target device: to select which one you would like to use. CDBurnerXP may make some small adjustments to its settings, depending on the CD/DVD burner that you’ve chosen. That’s okay.

CDBurnerXP - Browse to ISO

Now click on the Browse button and navigate to your ISO file. Once you find it, double click on it to select it.

CDBurnerXP - Select ISO

To start the burning process, click on the Burn disc button. You’ll see a progress window like the one below.

CDBurnerXP - Burning Progress

When it’s done, you’ll see a completion window showing you how long the burn took and the average bit rate that it burned at. Kind of interesting.

CDBurnerXP - Success

The burning process for this example only took 7 minutes and 1 second. That’s pretty fast.

Now What?

Label your DVD or USB drive and put it in a safe place where you’ll find it when you next need it. Maybe put a note on your smartphone about where you’ve put it, just in case that safe place is so safe you forget its location.

You may want to brush up on how to change what device the computer boots from How to Change the Boot Order on Your PC (So You Can Boot From USB) How to Change the Boot Order on Your PC (So You Can Boot From USB) Learn how to change the boot order of your computer. It's important for troubleshooting issues and tweaking settings, and it's a lot easier than you think. Read More , so it will boot from either.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. It may not seem like a lot, yet we’ve covered everything from getting the ISO for your version of Windows, getting software to create a bootable USB flash drive 5 Uses for a USB Stick You Didn't Know About 5 Uses for a USB Stick You Didn't Know About We’ve all used USB sticks to transport files between computers and back up our files, but there are other cool things you can do with a USB stick. Read More and how to use it, and how to use one specific utility to create a bootable DVD from your Windows ISO.

If you’ve gotten something from this article, or know someone who might benefit from it, please feel free to share it with them. We have several ways to do that. Look on the left-hand side or at the bottom for easy-to-use Twitter, Google+, and Facebook links.

We’re big on learning, so if you’ve got a question or something to add, you’re welcome to do so in the comments down below. We’re all in this together.

Image Credits: Pointing at Computer Screen and Angry Woman with Ears Blowing Steam via Shutterstock.

Explore more about: CD-DVD Tool, USB Drive, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1.

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  1. Subodh
    November 24, 2017 at 10:58 am

    What you guys tell here is just 'burning a dvd' and for that to work one doesn't even need to install a third party app starting from Windows 7. For 'making a bootable disk' to work as per this article the ISO file is also needs to be imaged bootable in itself. If the image 'ISO' file is not bootable in it's existence burned DVD won't work for booting purpose except I guess in the case of Rufus. Explanation of the burning process is great though.

  2. Vatsana Inthanongsack
    August 10, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Thank you very much for your valuable information.

  3. Aatif
    July 22, 2017 at 1:24 am

    You guys explain really nice ...what i like is screenshot of every document & link given for various article within the article...great job :)

  4. michael sheppard
    May 18, 2017 at 8:14 am

    i read your instruction but the ISO file was not working(allsoftwaredownload)

  5. Calum
    May 5, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Followed the instructions. The DvD I made is not bootable.

  6. Patty TT
    December 6, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    How do I use RUFUS to change a Windows 7 DVD (not ISO) into a bootable USB thumb drive?

    • Jake Silverman
      December 20, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      I did this. You can insert the installation CD into a optical disk drive, open Rufus, click Add, browse to the CD, click it, select all the folders and files, then click OK. Rufus will copy them. Then, click save, and Rufus will save them in an iso file.

  7. T.A.M Imran
    November 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Hi. Friends. This is really works. Trust me. Thanks lot

  8. Hiro
    September 17, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Hi guy,

    as I've already reseted my PC and is in need of a bootable USB state, I currently cannot make a bootable USB, will this work If I do it on another computer? and will it work if this computer was once windows 10 but changed to something that is not windows? If it doesn't does it even work on a windows 10?

  9. ShenHAX
    July 28, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Hi Guys so i would like to burn the windows 10 free iso so it would work? and i can boot from it? and i can install without any problems right?
    ThX in Advance

  10. Roig
    July 19, 2016 at 4:06 am

    Hi, The dvd burning process did not create a Bootable disk for me.

  11. Sam
    June 8, 2016 at 3:07 am

    actually you're not correct about the OEM keys not being applicable for upgrade, I downloaded the appropriate version of windows 10 (home in my case) installed it on my laptop and used the OEM key that came with it and within seconds the copy was verified by Microsoft and activated

    • Guy McDowell
      June 15, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      Hi Sam. I'm glad that worked for you.

      But that's not what the article said.

      At the time of writing this, if you wanted to create Windows 7 recovery media through Microsoft’s Software Recovery page, you needed to make sure that you have your Windows 7 Product Key.

      That method would not work with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) key. It had to be from either a Windows installation disc or from a previously downloaded ISO purchased from Microsoft.

  12. Holi
    March 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Actually, ISO means International Standards Organization

    • emmanuel
      March 8, 2016 at 6:29 am

      hello holi, the writer is not referring to ISO you are referring to which is related to various companies rendering different services based on ISO standard.

      please re-read that portion so you will understand.

    • Guy McDowell
      March 14, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      Hey Holi,

      Mostly correct. It's the International Organization for Standardization, but they use the initialization of ISO for some reason.

      Still, glad you liked the article.

  13. Özgür
    February 22, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks For All.. :)

  14. Asif
    January 14, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Hello Guy,

    Your article has helped me a lot. I bought a used HP Probook 6450b. I can't change the boot order in order to re-install win7. I'm missing the administrator's password. Is there any software like Rufus that you can recommend me to get the password. Thanks in advance!! Cheers!!!

    • Guy McDowell
      January 18, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      Do you mean the BIOS password?

      That's a tricky one, and may not be possible on your own. Take a look at BIOS Password Backdoors in Laptops. That may help. If it doesn't, you may need to call HP for further assistance.

      • Asif R.
        January 24, 2016 at 6:11 am

        Hi again Guy,
        Thanx for your reply. I tried the link that you provided but didn't work for me. Thanx for your time. Cheers........

        • Guy McDowell
          January 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm

          So we couldn't help. BIOS passwords are a tricky area.

  15. Omg
    December 3, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I'd better put a smartphone on the dvd, so that if I need to find it I just call the number, I would add the number to the other smartphone's quick address list

    • Guy McDowell
      December 6, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're saying.

  16. Jules
    November 24, 2015 at 7:29 am


    Hi Guy,

    I have tried to download Windows 7 Professional Edition 64 bits ISO File from the Microsoft Software Recovery site.

    My Product Key was verified successfully and ask to choose the language from dropdown menu.. Surprisingly, there was no English language on offer..

    I am download from Brunei and although English is not our first language but everything in this country is in English.

    Note: I bought my Windows 7 DVD in box while I was on business trip to New York few years back.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  17. Jules
    November 24, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Hi Guy,

    I have tried to download Windows 7 Professional Edition 64 bits from the Microsoft Software Recovery site.

    My Product Key was verified successfully and ask to choose the language from dropdown menu.. Surprisingly, there was no English language on offer..

    I am download from Brunei and although English is not our first language but everything in this country is in English.

    Note: I bought my Windows 7 DVD in box while I was on business trip to New York few years back.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  18. Anonymous
    November 11, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Hi Guy,

    I want to reinstall windows 8.1, however I can't seem to find an .iso file to select in Rufus... There is however a MS-DOS file? What should I do?



    • Guy McDowell
      November 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      You will have to have a Windows 8.1 .iso file on your computer first.

      Then click on the icon that looks like a DVD and drive at the end of the line that reads, "Create a bootable disk using". Ignore the drop down box.

      Navigate to the .iso file and select it. Then carry on with the process.

  19. Anonymous
    October 8, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    do you want it?how can i get it to you,p.s dont know a lot alot about computers tbh,

    • Guy McDowell
      October 9, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      No thanks. Appreciate the offer, but I've got more old computers than I can shake a stick at.

      I was just thanking you for your compliment on the article.

  20. Anonymous
    September 10, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    good info mate,are you looking for windows vista,am throwing away a old laptop,if you want it,i could give it to you,cheers

    • Guy McDowell
      September 11, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      Thank you!

  21. fredrick lobo
    June 2, 2015 at 6:43 am

    Guy, You guys (no pun(s) intended) do a wonderful service to pip the big guns and it shows when they take down that which was available in the public domain soon after you pointed out how to make use of it. Fred

    • Guy McDowell
      July 3, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you, Fredrick. That's a nice compliment.

      It is a shame that they took it down. After all, it wasn't anymore unsecured than the original install disks.

      Now, people will have to use pirated files just to recover an authentic install. So those systems could be wide open and the end result will be more MS-Bashing.

  22. Just a guy looking for help
    April 24, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    This article is way too long for the title.
    Also, the list of Windows ISO file links do not work.

    • Guy
      April 28, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Microsoft took down those links just days after this article was published. At this time, there is no other official way to get the ISOs than the Microsoft Software Recovery site. As long as you have a valid, non-OEM key.

  23. Jesus
    March 29, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Will an sd card work the same way.?

    • Guy
      March 29, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      If you can set your computer's BIOS to boot from an SD card, then yes, you can.

  24. Stu
    March 1, 2015 at 8:21 am

    A good coverage of a question I have been searching for a few weeks...1 problem; I downloaded and install Magic Jellybean from the link...full of malware, luckily I had created a restore point before installing, but had to spend a few hours scanning after restoring! Kind of put a damper on a fine article!

    • Guy
      March 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Thank you Stu, good point, yet it's not exactly malware.

      It might best be described as crapware - stuff you don't want but gets loaded because Magical Jellybean gets paid to include it, which keeps the software free.

      By reading careful through the installation process, you can easily prevent the crapware from being installed.

      How to Bypass Installing Roll Around - Select 'Custom Install (Advanced) and then de-select 'Install Roll Around...", then click Next. Keyfinder will install and Roll Around won't.

      You can also uninstall RollAround from the Programs and Settings control panel, just like you would any other program.

      I hope that helps, Stu. And I hope that helps future readers of this article.

  25. m-p{3}
    February 20, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Looks like the ISOs aren't available anymore to the public.

    "NOTE: Microsoft has stopped providing Windows 7 ISO images directly to the public. At this time your only option is to borrow a installation DVD from a friend or obtain a replacement media."

    • Guy
      February 20, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      Drat. Maybe we can take this as a sign that this article was popular?

      Well, if you have a valid Product Key, you can still get your ISO from the Microsoft Software Recovery site.

  26. intouch01
    February 18, 2015 at 6:00 am

    Hey Guy
    Thanks for sharing it,actually i was looking for something like this for booting my laptop,it's really useful for me.keep posting!!! :)

    • Guy
      February 18, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you, glad you liked it. :) I'm here to help.

  27. DonGateley
    February 18, 2015 at 2:47 am

    So, really, an ISO from one of the above download sources is of no real use to an OEM system, right?

    I didn't know one could create a bootable ISO of a running system. How is that done?

    And for the enfeebled, what is the system repair procedure?

    Thanks for the great info.

    • Guy
      February 18, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Don,

      You could use one of the generic ISOs, but it may not have the device specific drivers and programs that the OEM version would. So, yes, it would work, but would probably take further tweaking.

      As far as a bootable ISO of a running system, its not quite exactly that. What I'm talking about there is making an image of your operating system, or clone, that could then be installed on another computer or, if you had to format the drive on this one, you could put on it. This article explains in more detail how to do that - How To Clone Your Hard Drive.

      Cloning your hard drive is an excellent way to create an absolutely complete backup of your hard drive.

      About system repair - this article explains much better about that process - How To Restore, Refresh, or Reset Your Windows 8 Installation

    • Bruce E
      February 19, 2015 at 7:31 am

      I have yet to encounter a case where a mismatch between OEM, Refurb, or Retail installs and media works for a recovery although I have only had two of them.

      The first was Windows XP Pro on a refurbished machine. I already had both OEM and Retail discs with which to try to recover the machine and neither would even let me try to run the startup repair saying that the media didn't match the installation I was trying to fix.

      I had similar result attempting to fix a Windows 7 HP Retail installation with an OEM disc.

      Instead of messing around for a few hours trying to get it to work, I just borrowed a neighbor's disc to deal with the XP issue and found the appropriate download from Digital River for the second.

      Another quick note: You can modify the Vista Ultimate and Win 7 Ultimate ISO images so you can install Home Basic, Home Premium, Pro, or Ultimate editions from the same disc. The determining factor is the Product Code used which must match the edition you want to install.

    • Guy
      February 19, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      Same experiences for me too, Bruce.

      But I've been able to do a clean install on Toshibas with a standard Windows XP Pro or 7 Pro installation disc.Toshiba's Windows install is heavily customized. Then I had to download all the special Toshiba drivers and such and install them afterward.

      It can be done, but it is a pain. I'd rather have the OEM image any day.

  28. DonGateley
    February 17, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    What can you do with a bootable Windows 7 USB stick if your system has an OEM version? Must you buy another copy to get a legit Product ID to make it useful?

    Can you over-install it to an existing system to get a cleaned up OS while retaining settings and apps?

    • Guy
      February 18, 2015 at 12:57 am

      Hi Don,

      Excellent question.

      Although Microsoft's tool won't work with OEM versions, you could create an ISO of your system prior to doing anything with it, to create a clean bootable version. Or an ISO of the recovery partition.

      If I understand correctly, the MS tool doesn't work with OEM versions partly because the OEM versions can be highly customized. Toshiba is well-known for doing this. The other part of it is that actual OEMs have a whole different licensing structure than just you and I.

      If you want to retain your settings and apps, the best bet would be to do a system repair. I hope that helps!

  29. Fred
    February 17, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Sorry guys. Not your classiest headline photo.

    • Guy
      February 18, 2015 at 12:51 am

      Hey Fred,

      Yeah, I was on the fence about it too.

      When I made it, it was funny to me, I actually laughed out loud. But I also knew it might not be appreciated by some. The editor and I talked about it, and figured it was worth a whirl. Some will like it, some won't.

      If it's any consolation, I'll refrain from going down that road again. :)

    • Guy
      February 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Looks like the editorial staff changed it. All good! :)

    • Fred
      February 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      Trust me, I did not want to be 'that guy'. I often suggest this site to kids in my youth group, etc. for ideas. They know I am "the IT guy", so I get asked about good sites for learning, and this is always at the top of my list. You guys do a great job...keep it up!

    • Guy
      February 18, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      It's all good Fred, you're definitely not 'that guy'. :)

      That was a valid opinion with good reasoning. I always welcome that sort of constructive criticism. Plus, hey, new featured image!