NBR Windows 7 Clean Installation Guide

Discussion in 'Windows OS and Software' started by Phoenix, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    Downloading and creating the installation media:

    Download the Windows 7 ISO

    1- Download Windows 7 directly from Microsoft (this never worked for me BTW, every time I enter my genuine Win 7 Pro key, it fails to verify it and tells me to contact the vendor O_0 *eye roll*


    2- Microsoft Windows ISO Download Tool
    =====================================================================
    Creating a USB Flash Disk for Windows 7

    Download RUFUS

    For creating a USB Flash Disk to install in legacy mode with an MBR partition style, run RUFUS as admin and set the options as per the below illustration:

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    For creating a USB Flash Disk to install in UEFI mode or UEFI/CSM Compatibility (aka Legacy OProm) with a GPT partition style, run RUFUS as admin and set the options as per the below illustration:

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    ====================================================================

    Alternatively, you can simply just burn the ISO to a DVD Disc but ensure you boot off the disc in legacy mode for installing in legacy or boot off the disc in UEFI mode if you want to install Windows in UEFI mode.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
    Rick77, Omnomberry and 6730b like this.
  2. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    Boot off the USB/DVD:

    1- Insert your USB Flash Disk which you just created or the Windows 7 DVD if you chose the latter and boot in the appropriate mode in which you want to install Windows in.

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    Note: For installing in UEFI mode, you must enable CMS AKA Legacy ROM. For installing in Legacy mode instead of UEFI, then simply change your boot mode in your motherboard's BIOS to Legacy rather than UEFI with CMS Compatibility

    2- You will now see the Windows 7 Setup loading.

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    3- Select your language and keyboard language then hit Next

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    4- Accept the License Agreement

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    5- Choose the setup mode (Custom)

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    Drive Partitioning:

    1- It is imperative that you only have on drive attached to your computer once you are installing Windows, be it Windows 7, 8, or 10, Windows has a nasty habit of placing the boot files on the 2nd drive and/or 2nd partition if it finds one. Thus, we need to ensure we only have one drive attached to the system when we are installing Windows and we need to create only one partition; so if you plan on partitioning your drive into C:, D:, etc. for now, we only want to create the C: Partition so everything will go into C: including the boot files.

    Having the boot files installed on a 2nd partition or 2nd drive not only slows down your boot time if the second drive was a slow HDD, but also will create headaches when creating an image backup of your system.

    Example: You install Windows, setup everything, then backup your C: partition to another partition. When the time comes and you want to restore that image, it would be missing the boot files since they are on another partition/drive. So if your boot files ever get corrupted or infected by some virus, you would have to format and start from scratch.

    Update: solution to install Windows while multiple drives are present without having the boot files placed on the 2nd or 3rd drive present in the system: How to properly install Windows on a system with multiple drives

    2- Once you get to the partition wizard screen which shows you the connected drive and any partitions if they exist, press SHIFT + F10 to pull up the Command Prompt Window.

    3- Once you are at the command prompt, type: diskpart then hit Enter

    4- Type list disk then hit Enter

    5- You will now see the number next to the disk you are trying to install Windows on, if you followed the guide and only had one drive connected, then it would be Disk # 0 unless the USB Flash Drive was detected as Disk 0 so your HDD/SSD would be Disk 1, keep your eyes open.

    6- Type select disk 0 then hit Enter to make that disk the working disk which diskpart is going to perform its actions on

    7- Type clean then hit Enter

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    8- Now that our disk is wiped and is neither initialized as an MBR Disk nor a GPT Disk, we can go back to the Windows Drive Partition Wizard.

    9- Press refresh on the bottom left of the Window.

    10- Select the empty/unpartitioned space of your drive then click on NEW

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    11- Now we need to enter the size of the disk. If you want to setup the disk as a single partition, then just leave the default size alone. If you want to create 2 or more partitions out of your drive. Then enter the number in MB of the partition size you want to allocate for C: which would be the Windows OS Partition.

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    Note: The way I do it, and because I don't like seeing my disk size as 100.2 GB for example or 99.9 GB, I will show you how to get the exact size to create the partition.

    Example: Let's say you want to create a 200GB Partition for C:

    Using a calculator, enter 200.1 x 1024 which would give you a value of 204,902.4 MB

    Now add 228 MB to that value because Windows needs to create a few other partitions before C: like system and MSR

    So your end result would be 204,902 + 228 = 205,130 MB

    So now you can enter 205,130 in the size of the new disk and create it, you will notice that you will get a C: partition of exactly 200.1 GB

    Why did I add the 0.1 GB? because if the partition was exactly 200.0 GB then Windows will display it in Computer as a 199.9 GB partition. So that 0.1 GB we added is to get an exact 200GB Partition. If you have OCD like me, this will not allow you to sleep at night :D

    12- Now select the partition where you want to install Windows then hit Next as shown below:

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    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
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  3. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    Initial Setup Wizard:

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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
  4. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    Tweaks and Privacy Concerns:

    =================================================================
    Disable NTFS Compression:

    As soon as you get to the desktop, we need to disable NTFS File Compression. If you don't do that as soon as you see the desktop. Windows has a nasty habit of compressing some files to save disk space even though you have a lot of free space; which will lead to degraded performance because when these files need to be accessed by Windows, they will first need to be uncompressed. If you don't do this now, all these files/folders will have a blue color indicating they are compressed especially in the C:\Windows\System32 and C:\Windows\System32\Drivers folder. Uncompressing them later on is almost impossible since you would have to right click on each file individually, take ownership of it, before you are allowed to uncompress it. Thus, we will disable this feature from the beginning to avoid such headaches.

    1) Press the Windows + X Button on your keyboard to pull up the Win X Menu then choose Command Prompt (Admin)

    2) In the command prompt window, type the following:

    fsutil behavior set disablecompression 1 then hit Enter and reboot immediately

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    =================================================================
    Taskbar and Start Menu Options:

    Right click on your taskbar then choose Properties. Now set the options are per the below illustrations but please note that this is a personal preference. Feel free to edit what you like but this is how I do it on my system:

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    =================================================================
    Disable Disk Defragmenter:

    1) Click on the Start Menu Button > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > then right click on Disk Defragmenter and choose Run as Administrator

    2) Follow the below illustration to disable it:

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    =================================================================
    Personalization:

    1) Right click on your desktop then choose Personalize

    2) Follow the below illustrations to show the Computer on the desktop and disable the annoying Windows Startup, Logon, and Logoff sounds:

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    =================================================================
    C:> Partition Name:

    Go to Computer, then right click on your C: Partition, then let's give it a meaningful name rather than Local Disk:

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    =================================================================
    =================================================================
    Task Scheduler Items to disable:

    Disable the following items in Task Scheduler by going to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler:

    Note: If you don't want to do all this manually, you can download the following file and it will disable all the bad tasks for you in a second, you have to right click on the file and choose Run as Admin for it work: Disable Task Scheduler Privacy Related tasks-W7.bat

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    =================================================================
    Folder Options:

    Go to Control Panel > Folder Options and set the options as illustrated below:

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    =================================================================
    Disable Windows Backup Notification in Action Center:

    Go to Control Panel > Action Center then disable the notification about Windows Backup:

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    =================================================================
    Network and Sharing Center Settings:

    I hate this managed Windows HomeGroup feature and choose to manually share folders that I want to share myself giving each the appropriate sharing permissions, here is how I setup my Network and Sharing center:

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    =================================================================
    Disable Windows Defender:

    Go to Control Panel > Windows Defender

    Disable Windows Defender by following the below illustrations:

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    Additionally, what I like to do is to run the Windows Defender Uninstaller to completely get rid of Windows Defender, its registry entries, files, tasks, etc. (This is only for Windows 7! Do not try it on Windows 8 or 10 as Windows Defender is heavily integrated into the OS on them)

    I have been doing this for ages and it doesn't cause any issues. You won't even see Windows Defender in the Control Panel anymore, who needs that useless AV wannabe?!

    Don't forget to right click on it and choose Run as Administrator

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    =================================================================
    Disable unnecessary services:

    1) Press the Windows + R to pull up the Run Dialogue Box

    2) Type services.msc then hit Enter

    3) Disable the below services:

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    =================================================================
    Disable AutoPlay:

    Go to Control Panel > AutoPlay then disable everything related to it:

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    =================================================================
    Create 2nd partition (if applicable):

    If you wanted to have 2 or more partitions for your drive that you connected when installing Windows, now is the time to go and create the additional partition(s).

    Before creating the 2nd partition, make sure to change the driver letter of your DVD/BD-ROM Drive to something else other than the default D: that it was given

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    Example of how my 1st drive looks like:

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    =================================================================
    Programs and Features:

    I like to uninstall these components as I never use them. This is a personal choice and is up to you whether you want to disable them or not.

    Go to Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows Features On or Off (from the left pane)

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    =================================================================
    Regional Settings:

    Again, this is a personal preference, but this is how I set my regional settings as I like military timing and I like the day of the week to always be shown on my taskbar:

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    This is how the day of the week appears on the taskbar:

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    =================================================================
    Performance Monitor:

    In order to stop the Event ID - 3 Session Circular Kernel Context Logger stopped due to the following error 0xC0000188 from showing up

    We need to change the following setting in Performance Monitor:

    1- Go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Performance Monitor

    2- Expand Data Collector Sets

    3- Click on Startup Events Trace Sessions

    4- Right click on ReadyBoot then select Properties

    5- Go to the Stop Condition tab

    6- Change the maximum size to 192MB

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    =================================================================
    System Properties:

    Below you will see all the settings for the system properties that I do.

    Please, for the love of God, do not disable your pagefile unless you are looking for trouble. Through many years of using Windows, disabling the pagefile never really increased performance but only created problems for me.

    Example: If I set the pagefile to something small like a fixed 1024MB for Min/Max Size, if I am trying to initiate a lot of downloads of multiple files (8 and above) my Internet Download Manager would freeze. Bump the page file up in size and this doesn't happen.

    If you want more proof, try disabling your pagefile and run 10 or more songs 1 after another and watch the low memory errors start showing up.

    Either leave the Page file alone or it to a fixed size. I set mine to 9172 MB as I have 64GB of RAM and that's how Windows 10 sets my pagefile so I know that's a safe value but at least I'm not using the default page file size that Windows chose for me which is an insane 64GB to match my RAM size.

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    =================================================================
    Disable Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool:

    Let's get rid of this annoying and useless Windows Updates that keeps showing up every month.

    Download the Disable Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool Reg File then double click on it to merge it with your registry.

    =================================================================
    Microsoft Fix it 50688 for Event ID 10 WMI Error:

    In order to stop this annoying Event ID 10 from appearing everytime you restart in the Event Viewer Log, download the Microsoft Fix it 50688 for Event ID 10 WMI Error and run it then reboot immediately.

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    =================================================================
    Matrix Leader Hosts File:

    This is my HOSTS file which blocks OpenCandy, SourceForce, a few other malicious sites and Micro$h4ft Telemetry

    Download the Matrix Leader HOSTS file then copy it to:

    Code:
    C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc
    overwrite the existing file

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    =================================================================
    Internet Explorer 10/11 Blocker:

    let's install the Disable IE 10 and IE 11 toolkit in order for them to not show up in Windows Updates because if one installs them, he would get KB2670838 installed automatically as they come bundled with them which will break the AERO functionality on many systems and/or display blurry fonts in your browser on some sites.

    IE10 BlockerToolkit

    IE11 BlockerToolkit

    Once you run any of the above downloaded EXEs, it will ask you to extract the contents to a folder. Select the folder you want then go through the Read Me File for instructions.

    Here is how I blocked IE 10/11 on my system. Note that my computer name is PREDATOR hence you need to replace PREDATOR with your computer name.

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    PS: Credit to @octiceps for letting me know these tools exist.
    =================================================================
    Autoruns:

    Let's disable a few startup entries using Autoruns

    1) Download Autoruns

    2) Extract the ZIP file to a folder

    3) Right click on Autoruns.exe and choose Run as Administrator

    4) Disable the below items

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    =================================================================
    Disable Hibernation [Optional]:

    Click on Start > All Programs > Accessories > then right click on Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator

    Now type: powercfg -h off to disable hibernation

    Reboot

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    Note: To re-enable hibernation, type powercfg -h on
    =================================================================
    Registry Tweaks:

    1- Decrease Wait To Kill Service Timeout (this will speed up the Windows Shutdown time)

    Navigate to the following key:

    Code:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
    Double click on WaitToKillServiceTimeout then change the value to 5000

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    2-Disable NTFS Encryption

    Unless you need this, disable it by doing the following:

    Navigate to the following key:
    Code:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
    Now double click on NtfsDisableEncryption and change the value to 1

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    3- Set the Registered Owner/Organization

    Navigate to the following key:
    Code:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion
    Then double click on the Registered Owner and Registered Organization and change them to your liking as shown below:

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    4- Disable "- Shortcut" Affix

    Whenever you create a shortcut for a file or folder, the newly created shortcut will have a "– Shortcut" suffix at the end of the original file or folder name.

    That can be annoying for some as we already know it's a shortcut since it has the shortcut arrow on the icon and it will make the file name very long which may probably lead to the text of the icon being trunscated.

    If you prefer the created shortcut to have the exact same name with the original object, without the "– Shortcut" suffix, you can use the following registry trick to disable the "– Shortcut" completely.
    1. Run Registry Editor (RegEdit).
    2. Navigate to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
    3. In the right pane, double click on link registry value.
    4. Change the “link” binary value data to 00 00 00 00.
    5. Log off or reboot immediately otherwise any change to any other parameter in the registry without logging off will cause this value to revert back to default.

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    =================================================================
    Group Policy Editor (only for Windows 7 Pro and Ultimate):

    If you have Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate, then you have access to the Microsoft Group Policy Editor, use it to disable the following items:

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    Note: the last item only appears once you have installed the Windows Updates to enable you to prevent upgrading to Windows 10 (although I'm not sure how effective this is) so remember to go back to GPEDIT once we are done with the next phase (Windows Updates)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  5. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    Getting Online and Running Windows Updates:

    Now let's configure Windows updates after we have done all the above tweaks and configuration

    Head over to Control Panel > Windows Updates and configure it as below then run the initial update for Windows Updates itself


    I recommend you create a sticky note and keep it handy for you to easily spot the bad updates which are:

    KB2505438
    KB2670838
    KB2882822
    KB2952664
    KB2977759
    KB2990214
    KB3021917
    KB3022345
    KB3035583
    KB3044374
    KB3065987
    KB3068708
    KB3074677
    KB3075249
    KB3075851
    KB3078667
    KB3080149
    KB3081437
    KB3081451
    KB3081454
    KB3083324
    KB3083710
    KB3086255



    NOTE 1: Never install mixed updates together unless you want them to fail or for your OS to be fux0red. Example, I once installed all the security and windows updates together, a few of them failed, after I rebooted, GPEDIT.MSC would not launch and Event Log Viewer wouldn't run as well. Let's do this one stage at a time.

    NOTE 2: The images below which guide you which updates to avoid and how they would appear in which stages of the updates process have been created at the date of compiling this guide. In the spolier above, I have added a few more updates that just got released so please do keep that list in a sticky note infront of you while performing the updates as Microsoft is being very persistent with pushing these updates that force you to upgrade to Windows 10.

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    =================================================
    Now that we are done with all the Windows Updates, run the Disk Clean up, then run Disk Clean Up again but choose to clean system files and select all components, then reboot and proceed with creating your first system image using your favorite imaging software:

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    Note: After the disk cleanup is done and you reboot, you may get the same updates that we hid before show up in Windows Updates, simply hide them again and they're gone forever.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  6. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    Install all Microsoft Visual C++ Libraries to ensure proper installation / functionality of drivers, utlities, and apps:

    Download Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Installer (All-In-One) Installer



    Drivers Installation:


    Start installing your drivers one by one, restarting after each driver installation even if you were not prompted to do so. Do not take shortcuts if you want everything to work 100%.

    Here is my recommended Driver installation order, off--course this will very from one computer to another but this should give you a general idea:

    01-Chipset

    02-Intel Management Engine Interface Driver

    03- USB Drivers

    04-Intel AHCI-RAID Driver (AKA IRST or Intel Rapid Storage Technology; even if you don't have a RAID Setup, the IRST Driver also contains an updated AHCI Controller driver which is better/faster than the default MSAHCI Driver that windows Offers)

    05- Graphics Card Drivers

    06- Audio Drivers

    07- LAN Drivers

    08- WLAN Drivers

    09- Card Reader Drivers

    10- The rest of the remaining drivers
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  7. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    Anti-Virus Recommendation:

    After running Windows Updates, go ahead and install your preferred Anti-Virus. I personally use NOD32 Antivirus after having had tried them all as it is the only AV which doesn't conflict with other apps on my system, doesn't give me a single false positive is one of the lightest security solutions as you can see in the link below of the AV-Comparative Performance tests, and offers superb protection.

    Have a look at these lists before making a decision:

    AV-Comparatives Real World Tests

    AV-Comparatives Performance Test

    AV-Comparatives False Positives

    Some of the other Anti-Virus solutions I will never lose, in a quick summary:

    Emsisoft Anti-Malware: Too many false positives for my liking but it's very light and would be the runner up after NOD32 Antivirus.

    Avast! AntiVirus: One of the lightest and most effective AVs. I don't use it personally as it conflicts with Office 2013 and has horrible bugs if you have a brief look at their support forums, you will know what I mean.

    Norton Security
    : Comes bundled with the Norton Identity Safe/Norton Toolbar for my browser. I don't like security solutions which offer additional bloatware without the possibility of doing a custom installation.

    Bitdefender AntiVirus/Internet Security = This is not an Anti-Virus anymore, this is an all in-on crapware solution that has a system optimizer, browser cleaner, driver updater, everything you can imagine is there. No thank you. Give me the protection only.

    Kaspersky Anti-Virus = Great AV, with a low performance impact, but it limits you, three re-installations and your license is blacklisted. I don't use software that limit me on how I use them or limit me on how many times I can format my computer so that's unfortunately not an option for me but if you don't format a lot, it's a good solution.

    Webroot SecureAnywhere = The lightest AV on the plant spoiled by terrible false positives, ranging from file FPs to website FPs. Your system with be literally unusable with this junk installed on it.

    F-Secure AntiVirus = Great AV! Highly recommend it, but the AV only not the Internet Security AKA F-Secure SAFE

    Avira AntiVirus = Was a great AV until they ruined it by now offering a mandatory installation of the Avira Launcher, a very bloated and stupid launcher that again has a system optimizer, etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
  8. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    Software Recommendation:

    To be added soon
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
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  9. Lnd27

    Lnd27 Notebook Evangelist

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    great! always was wondering why when i multiplied on 1024 i still get bad numbers in HDD size(
     
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  10. KLF

    KLF NBR Super Modernator Super Moderator

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    You need to have key from RETAIL box, it's the plastic box with a cardboard key card inside. That product is sold and supported by microsoft.
    OEM keys that come in desktops and laptops as stickers or bought in system builder boxes are sold and supported by manufacturer/vendor of the system it is installed in. So it is their problem to provide you with install media if it is missing.

    My guess is in this case the contact info is in the mirror near you ;)
     
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