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Restoring a Computer with Windows 7 back to original state

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Happy New Year to all y'all.

Assistance, if you please. I have just "inherited" a desktop computer from my brother-in-law which came with Windows 7 installed since he just upgraded to an 8.1 laptop..

It has a 300 Gig+ HDD partitioned into a 200 Gig and 100 Gig partitions. I am assuming that the 100 Gig one is the backup.While he has wiped the HDD of personal material, many non-microsoft programs remain which I would prefer to remove and also some of uncertain origin.

My question: How can i easily restore this computer back to its original "out of the box" state with only the Windows 7 Operating system? I do not have a Windows 7 install disk, but can use Migic Jellybean to obtain the install code?

Thank you for any suggestions.

tlcmd (aka Dick)

Thanks for any assistance.

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It would be nice if you could tell us -

1 - What Make/Model PC

2 - What you can "see" on the 100GB partition

3 - Check on Disk Manager to see if that's ALL of the partitions on the HDD

Rationale - It very well COULD have some kind of "Recovery Partition" on it, depending on whether this is an OEM Installation or not.

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Pardon the delay, but the Windows 7 computer was installing 78 updates which has delayed my response.

This computer is 4 - 5 years old and was built by a small computer repair and building shop in Eula, N.C. I'll try to answer your questions as best i can. The Motherboard is an MSI - V, the chip is an AMD Athlon 64 dual core processor 4800+ 2.50 GHz The OS is Windows 7 Ultimate. It has 2GHz of RAM. It does have the Windows sticker on it identifying it as a legal Windows 7 OS. It has a 32 bit OS.

The HDD is probably 320 GHz, but is partitioned into a 200 Gig one and a 100 Gig one. Here's a list of folders on the 100 Gig HDD and takes up about 22 Gigs of space there, but I do not know if this is a recovery partition. The files are: $AVG, Comfrog Video Chat 6.1, Config.Msi, Documents and Settings, Downloads, found .000, found.001, found .003, found.004, Program Files, spoolerlogs, Spybot Portable, Temp, updates, WINDOWS. The WINDOWS contains some 250+ many of which are uninstall files, but has additional files but I do not see a specific Windows 7 among them. What other info can I provide to help you advise me?

I am able to run the "repair" tool on Windows 7 and it seems OK, but thre are a lot of programs here with which I'm not famillar.

You can quite reading now unless you are curious aboput me and my needs and plans as outlined below.

More about me: I'm a 73 year old retired Medical Doctor and have been running Windows XP SP3 and am quite familiar with it since I've made so many mistakes and fixed them. I'm in the process of switching over to Linux Mint Debian Edition from Windows XP as support from Microsoft ceases in April 2014. SO, within the past couple of weeks, 2 computers which have been replaced by ones repaced with new ones running Windows 8.1 have appeared in my home. Both work. One is this one, the other is running Vista Premium. My wife just replaced her desktop (12 years old) with a laptop running 8.1. My chief uses for computers is music and I have approximately 11,000 songs sorted by genre on my Media Jukebox, email, some research, and surfing. I am not a gamer. I expect to partition the 320 Gig HDD's on both of my "new" computers with a Windows Vista and 7 on each respectively and Linux Mint Debian Edition since LMDE is quite Windows User friendly and has not the upkeep, mantenance, and other problems I've helped my wife fix on her XP and 8.1. And working with Windows Vista and 7 is going to be a learning experience. I would prefer a pristine install of both Vista and 7 to what I now have with all sorts of programs on the computer and icons reflecting the same. I plan to use only Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus, Malware bytes (the free one), and CCleaner since many sources have said that is all I really need to keep my Windows OS's functional and clean. I use Bleachbit, ClamAV, and Grub Controller 3 as the only real tools on my LMDE partitions.

Thank you for reading the above epistle, and any help you can offer to aid me in "cleaning up" myVista and Windows 7 will be appreciated.

Harmoniously (I'm a barbershop singer),

tlcmd (aka Dick)

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Kind of looking like either a Windows 7 "Upgrade" or a "Forced Single Partition" install, since both Vista and Windows 7 by default install a single 100MB (that's MEGA, not GIGA) System Partition on the "front" and the Remainder is the User (or OS, if you will) Partition. What's on the 200GB partition? Also, note in Disk Manager that indeed Partition#1/#2 are in that "order".

I'm basically trying to ascertain if these are OEM Installs. The Windows 7 one seems like NO and the Vista one seems like YES. You can ascertain this by looking in System Properties. OEM Installs of either Vista/7 usually have the INTERNAL OEM key -AND- an external COA Sticker. In either OEM Pre-Install case, there will be:

1 - In the Internals of the BIOS a SLIC string/module http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS

2 - In the OS, an OEM Certificate

3 - A Vendor-specific (OEM) Key that matches the Certificate (for mass-production)

4 - Generally (unless scratched off/removed) a COA Sticker with your PC-Specific Key

If the above is NOT true, then the Installation is NOT an OEM Pre-Install, as it appears to be the case of the Win7, but true of the Vista one.

In ANY case, you'll need the Internal Key (either OEM or Retail, whichever). Use the KeyFinder and SAVE anything it finds to a TEXT file NOT stored on the PC's, e.g. USB Stick or just PRINT it/them. The Certificates can be obtained by seraching the "WINDOWS" folder for "*.xrm-ms" and the one that is exactly 2731bytes should be it. Save that as well on a USB Stick. Additional, for "insurance" save the "tokens.dat" (search also for them) since the Certificate is also store inside it (ref - http://reboot.pro/topic/16578-oem-product-activation-clearing-the-crapware/). DO NOT mix up the Vista and Windows 7 files+keys - keep them separated (common sense).

BE AWARE that any OEM Pre-Installs will more than likely have a Recover Partition (should be able see the partitions listed in Disk Manager) and RE-Installing from ANY Full DVD of the OS will WIPE the "Press F(whateverkey) to Recover Your System To Factory" as this is usually in the MasterBootRecord (first sector of the HDD). At that point you will NOT be able to do it again!

There ARE legal downloads of the Windows7 ISO's (w/SP1u "Refresh") and VISTA w/SP1 (afaik) that you can use for a "clean no bloatware" install. The Vista one can be slipped with SP2 using vLite (found here on MSFN).

Beyond that, we'll need more info on what you REALLY have (see above ref. to System Information). Your info is still a little "generic".

Follow-up info -

CLAIMS that more than one Cert may be in TOKENS.DAT (and a referenec to "Activation Backup And Restore" aka "ABR", a "utility" to preserve you cirrent Activation - I have NOT used it, so...) http://forum.notebookreview.com/hp-compaq/120228-clean-vista-install-no-activation-170-print.html

This will show you some screens to help you identify whether an OEM key or not - http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/is-retaining-oem-activation-on-clean-install-using/77c6b27d-671d-4ca5-926f-707f5917f53d?msgId=985a353c-b12b-46b3-9d38-30c099c0530f

Note that the Activation also applies to Office 2010 if installed (note - this is ANOTHER "tool") -


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