Post by slate_leeper Post by Heirloom Post by slate_leeper Post by Ed Cryer
I'm fed up with Windows 10 on a machine I bought.
I want Win7! I want Win7!
My Win-7 was purchased as an OEM installation CD from Amazon. I bought
it legally, and have the CD. I installed it on my new (then) ASUS and
it works just fine.
Win-10 on my new Dell is a disaster. I would love to install my
much-customized Win-7 on it via restoring a disk image from the ASUS.
However I am sure that will result in an "unlicensed" installation.
Is there any way I can license it? I would be happy to pay MS for
another license for the Dell.
I have no idea what I'm doin', so wait for one of the experts to
weigh in on this before you do anything.
There are two issues here.
What can you do?
What is legal/ethical?
I'll address only the first.
What I'd do is install win7 from the digital river
win7 generic install disk. That's by far the least
stressful. I haven't looked for one lately, but
they are likely available somewhere, but malware
is always a risk.
If you don't have access to a working win7 install disk...
Here's what I'd try.
If you have hundreds of gigabytes of stuff
(movies/music/databases/etc) on C:, this will
take a lot of offline storage. You can temporarily
move that stuff to offline storage, but you risk
screwing up anything you touch...stuff happens.
Backup your win10 system with macrium.
I use the menu option to "create an image of the partitions
required to backup and restore windows.
If you have other partitions, don't include them.
Just create the partitions and copy the data when everything else is done.
Save all your win10 drivers with DoubleDriver.
Save all this elsewhere.
On the win10 system, go into device manager
and write down all the vendor and device numbers
for your display and lan drivers. Wouldn't hurt
to do the same for other non-standard stuff like
card readers and bluetooth and and and.
Search the web for those vendor/device numbers
to see what win7 drivers are available and download them.
The most critical is the lan driver. You can't easily
install stuff if the lan ain't workin'.
I assume that the display will work in degraded mode.
If not, you're screwed.
DISCONNECT ALL YOUR NETWORK CABLES BOTH COMPUTERS!!!
Backup/image your win7 system with macrium.
Put a new drive in your win7 system.
Put the original win7 drive somewhere where you can't
accidentally grab it.
Macrium restore the win7 image you just made to the
Boot the system and
sysprep the win7 system.
Backup the sysprepped win7 using the macrium rescue media.
Save the backup elsewhere.
Do not allow it to reboot.
Remove the hard drive from your win10 system and save
it somewhere you can't accidentally grab it.
Take the drive out of the win7 system and put it into the
At this point, you'll have the two original drives from
win7 and win10 in a safe place so you can't mess them up.
Boot the original win10 system with the sysprepped win7 hard drive.
It will go through the install menus and hopefully boot.
That should give you a working win7 system with some
activation grace period. Mine usually says 3 days,
but it also seems to depend on the number of times
you reboot it. I've had it lock up/expire in less than a day
if I rebooted a lot.
You have the grace period to look for drivers and decide if
it will work for you.
First place I'd look for missing drivers is the set you downloaded earlier
when you searched for drivers by ven/dev numbers. Then try the
you made from win10. Try vendor sites. Try win7 update.
I'd avoid any web site that
wants to install a program to assist you in keeping your drivers
up to date. Stated another way, never trust any site that
insists you install anything before you get the driver.
...AKA almost all of them. Watch the links that push buttons call.
Just cuz the box says "download" doesn't mean that it's downloading
an actual driver. There are far more
shady driver sites than trustworthy ones.
Note that any application that required a license key will not work.
Sometimes, you can re-enter the license key. Sometimes
you'd have to reinstall the app.
The app may or may not reinstall depending on whether they
kept records of your original install. In extreme cases,
your original win7 machine might have software invalidated
if you move it.
Use DoubleDriver to backup all your drivers at regular intervals.
You never know when the grace period will expire and you lose
everything. Keep a meticulous log of all the experiments.
ARCHIVE THE SYSPREPPED WIN7 BACKUP. YOU NEVER KNOW
WHEN IT MIGHT COME IN HANDY. If you make your macrium recovery
disk on a flash drive, you can even archive the sysprep to
At some point, you're gonna have to decide if win7 works for
you on that computer.
If not, you're done.
DO NOT TRY TO ACTIVATE THE NEW SYSTEM WITH YOUR OLD KEY.
It may or may not work. It may or may not invalidate your
If you want to keep it, you move into legal territory.
There are easy/reliable ways to activate your win7 system. Some have
been mentioned already in this thread. That's your call.
If you purchase a win7 key, there's no way to tell whether
it will activate your particular installation. No way to tell if
it will activate any version installed from media obtained elsewhere.
No way to tell if
it's a legal/compliant key that MS won't invalidate in the future.
I've tried to accurately describe what I've done in the past.
My memory ain't what it used to be. I may have made a mistake.
There are a lot of moving parts. I've tried to describe a
sequence that has low risk of wrecking either or both systems.
You still have both the original hard drives.
If you try to skip steps, or do it without a third hard drive,
you risk bricking everything.
Again, wait for the experts to comment before you mess things up.
Are we having fun yet?
Post by slate_leeper
Post by Heirloom
Have you tried contacting Dell?
Dell support has been no help on this. Their SupportAssist system
won't run because it is in the Program Files directory AND they asked
me to update it (which of course didn't work except to make it no
longer work at all.)
Besides, their support is on the Win-10 that came with it, not the
Win-7 I want to put on it.