Thank you for being a valued part of the CNET community. As of December 1, 2020, the forums are in read-only format. In early 2021, CNET Forums will no longer be available. We are grateful for the participation and advice you have provided to one another over the years.


CNET Support


Windows 7 or 10

Dec 15, 2017 10:19PM PST

Bought a custom built system from a friend in 2013 (windows 7) didnt think or didnt know to ask for my windows 7 activation or serial number

recently had to re-install/restore windows, now I am getting the “not genuine” error.. out of “rearms” and tried resetting my count and that doesnt work either now.

So it seems I have to re-buy another windows 7 disc. Or... upgrade to windows 10

My questions are:

In your opinions, what should I do? Get a windows 7 disc.. or upgrade to 10?
(64 bit system, 32GB ram, 2 Nvidia GTX 580 cards)

Since most if not all desktops and laptops DO NOT come with the installation discs, what is the best practice in case this problem happens again? Norton Ghost?

Thank you!


Discussion is locked

- Collapse -
Clarification Request
what will you use it for?
Dec 15, 2017 10:54PM PST

You can save money if you put a Linux distro on it instead, AND have your privacy back too. I use Linux Mint 17.3 after XP and quite happy with it. It's free if you download it yourself from site, or can pick up for $6 DVD from site. comes with Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client. Lots of other software available and those already checked for safety when downloaded from their repository. If unfamiliar with it, check youtube videos, there are literally hundreds on it.

Windows 7 is loved by many, but windows 10, not much.

- Collapse -
About W10 and today's systems.
Dec 15, 2017 10:48PM PST

The new activation and digital entitlement system means that for an activated W10 laptop or desktop even if the owner forgets to maker or order restore media I can create that with the Microsoft Media Creation Kit.

As to W7 there are ways to get the W7 DVD but since the license is tied to your key you can't lose that key UNLESS you registered it with Microsoft. I can't guess why folk pass that up or don't have the media since self built machines never used an OEM CDKEY system.

I can't guess why you'd stick with W7 but your choice.

Post was last edited on December 16, 2017 6:26 AM PST

- Collapse -
7 or 10
Dec 16, 2017 12:16AM PST

If your friend is the builder of this machine perhaps your friend has the key.

How did you do this install if you don't have a disc or you do have a disc but just not the key?

It would be a little tough to justify the cost of a w7 disc for an OS with 2 yrs of support left.

Which ever way you decide to go after you get the OS and drivers and updates installed make a complete system backup.

Put it on a dvd or usb stick and tuck it away, now you have a way to go back without having to start from bare metal.

Get in the habit of making regular backups so that if you have to go back you won't lose much.

- Collapse -
Thank you
Dec 16, 2017 5:13AM PST

Thanks bud! I guess I meant I restored windows, I have no disc or key.. I also asked the person who built It Andre either doesn’t remember or never had it to begin with because I sure don’t.

This helps.. I should just upgrade to 10 and make my backups. Happy

In the olden days.. I had a disc AND an image “respawn” or norton ghost disc to help fix problems..

- Collapse -
Re: Norton ghost
Dec 16, 2017 6:43AM PST
- Collapse -
If this is brand name computer, not a self built...
Dec 16, 2017 12:51PM PST

....then you should still be able to order new restore media from the company that produced it for about $20, so check their website and look around for where to do that.