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IT professionals and computer repair techs!! question for yo

by acerts04 / April 26, 2013 2:54 PM PDT

hey everyone, i have a question for when repairing a computer for a customer. i am young and plan to be in the IT field after finishing school. i repair computers for family members and friends alot, a couple of times i have had to do restores and clean installs of windows etc. my question to you guys are if a customer needs a clean install of their OS do you use a spare windows cd that you have? or does the customer need to bring you their OS cd from their OEM? for example i have a windows 7 cd i had to get from dell to do a clean install on my cousins dell laptop, would i be able to use that same cd on another persons pc if they needed a clean install and were running windows 7 64bit and if it asked for a key, just use their windows product key on their computer? or would that not work. what do you computer repair techs do? i am interested in learning as much as i can so any input is greatly appreciated!!!

thanks everyone


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All Answers

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If it were me

If it were me, I'd expect the customer to supply the restore media. It just saves you a whole lot of hassle having to deal with licensing issues. If the customer can't provide the restore media, you can offer to slap Linux or something on there, but with Windows I'd just make them provide the restore media. And another good rule of thumb is to decline any time someone wants you to install a pirated copy of Windows for them. You would be a far more interesting target to Microsoft's lawyers than any of the individual customers. Just not worth the risk in the end.

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Reinstalling Windows
by MikeAanders / April 26, 2013 9:37 PM PDT

What Jimmy Greystone says is correct.
However, providing you have a disk of the same version of Windows as was installed (including 32 bit vs 64 bit) and you use your customer's key number everything will be fine, unless their key number has been generated from some pirated version of Windows. Upon completion of installation, you will be asked to re-register with Microsoft who monitor the PC build (although this is pretty lax, I have done some major changes like replacing a faulty motherboard with a different brand & Microsoft have not objected). If it is a pirate, after (I think) 28 days, the PC will get a black screen & warnings that it is a pirate copy (you need to indicate this to your customers). There are ways around that black screen but I hardly think that the CNET forums is the place to divulge that information.
Essentially, every copy of a Windows disk (of the same version) is identical.

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by tedtks / May 3, 2013 10:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Reinstalling Windows

@mikeA.... I dont know who you call... but by changeing the mobo the next update will lock you up !
and then they wanted $199 for a new reg key.
and my ultimate was legal bought. I am now back to xp ! untill it dies of old age.

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Techs I see are doing clients a DIS-SERVICE.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 27, 2013 12:25 AM PDT

I know that users are loathe to make the recovery media or supply such but there are a whole lot of techs that are using cracked OS CD/DVDs and -> FIXING <- the client's PCs with such.

This may fix the problem and get the machine out the door but later when the OS CD is needed again, it can't be found or Microsoft catches up with the crack and the client gets a dreaded message about an illegal OS.

As a tech you have to make a choice here but after dealing with the aftermath of techs out there using a cracked OS to repair machines, I think they are doing their clients a dis-service and leaving themselves open to litigation from Microsoft and the clients.

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Nothing like
by pyrrhus55 / April 30, 2013 11:32 AM PDT

Nothing like doing hours of scans removing viruses, updating drivers , memtest , defragging, getting a machine to operate nice and fast. You then update windows and BAM !!!

You then find out some idiot in the neighborhood , "Did them a favor" , because they lost their disc's.

Half the time , It's because the "favor" goes from home edition to pro.

Once, I get that scenario, I never look at their machines again.

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thank you
by acerts04 / April 27, 2013 6:37 AM PDT

thanks for the input guys. i am not one to want to ever worry about legal issues so i would be doing everything by the book, but what i have heard is since i received the windows7 cd from dell, it is unusable on any other machine besides dell, or is that not true? basically, i am trying to paint a picture in my head, for example someone brought me an hp pc and i had this dell windows 7 home premium cd lying around and the customer needed a clean install, i would be able to use that to reinstall windows on their machine, BUT then when asked for activation, use their product key on their computer and all would be good? or it just doesnt work like that. also when a customer needs a clean install of windows, what do you do about installing drivers? (i was sent a separate cd by dell to install drivers) sorry for all the questions guys, just trying to really learn the business. thanks so much


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Microsoft has a maze of activation and protection.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 27, 2013 7:03 AM PDT
In reply to: thank you

You'll learn the ropes and the maze in just a few days or weeks. While I am pretty confident about repair the OS the new pests are doing deep damage and it's so bad that few will pay to repair the OS. We offer to re-install for a fixed price but repair is by the hour.

Imagine a PC that got hit with Zero Access? Read more at link to follow.


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In general, Dell discs don't work on non-Dell, but...
by wpgwpg / April 30, 2013 12:03 PM PDT
In reply to: thank you can download legal copies of Windows 7 from Digital River and use the user's COA code to get activated. Note that you need to get the proper drivers when you do that. Here're the links for Windows 7:
• Windows 7 Home Premium (x86) - X17-58996

• Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) - X17-58997

• Windows 7 Professional (x86) - X17-59183

• Windows 7 Professional (x64) - X17-59186

• Windows 7 Ultimate (x86)* - X17-59463

• Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)* - X17-59465

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Not just Dell
by Zouch / May 3, 2013 7:47 PM PDT
In reply to: thank you

Hi Alex,
yes, basically, you are right. Many (most?) of the larger manufacturers customize their OS distribution disks, it makes it somewhat easier to reinstall OEM versions of the operating system. Samsung, I know has (or had) a similar policy and from experience, re-installing from THEIR distribution disks produced a more stable system than from any other source. You might get a foreign manufacturer's disk to install but likely it will try to install a whole bunch of machine specific stuff.

A clean Microsoft version, without any customization should work but you'll then be left to sort out missing drivers and such like from the machine manufacturer's site.

It's not unreasonable to ask your client to supply the restoration media that came with the machine, or ask them to get another copy from the manufacturer.

And as others have said, NEVER get involved with pirated software, from whatever source!

Good luck, but if the trend to mobile continues, your chosen profession might get a whole lot harder - check out the many CNET/Techrepublic articles on breaking down laptops, tablets, etc.


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by jehatcher / April 28, 2013 2:06 AM PDT

These days, unless an entire wipe is required, I find that many systems have the restore data on a separate partition and it makes things so much easier. Some companies have made it harder to get to it, you have to know the right key combinations, but is good when the customer does not make a disc.

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I am glad someone answered with Recovery Partition
by techwizardsolutions / May 4, 2013 2:20 AM PDT
In reply to: recovery

As I read through this thread it bothered me that not one single person mentioned the recovery partition that is standard on nearly all computers. The standard procedure for recovering an OS is to use the recovery media available on the hard drive. A simple Google search for the recovery of the computer model will find the correct method for accessing the recovery partition and reinstall the fresh OS.

To answer the question, and it has already been answered that given Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 if you have an OEM copy of the exact same Windows version and the computer has a valid Key on it you can legally use the disk to install the operating system and use their key to have it successfully registered and legal.

According to the EULA of Microsoft if you are upgrading your computer like putting in a new motherboard etc for reasons other than failure then it requires a new license. Agree with this or not that is what it says. If the motherboard or other critical hardware fails and requires a reinstall of Windows then it is okay to keep the old copy of Windows. Whether you follow the EULA to the letter is your personal call. Just thought you would like to know. Repairs are okay, major upgrades require new license.

Unless the hard drive has went bad and required replacement or you have an older machine without the recovery partition available the recovery partition provided on the PC should always be the method used for a system restore.

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Just a command you might want to investigate
by pyrrhus55 / April 30, 2013 11:17 AM PDT


Systen file checker.

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