04-21-2010 10:46 AM
These days most laptops come with the Operating system restore discs on a partition in the hard drive. The ability to restore your computer to the factory settings can be done with the click of a button using some proprietary software from the vendor.
This can be annoying to some people (like me) since the partition takes up around 30GB of space and doesn't really have much data in it. There might also be some other partitions that aid in the restore process but otherwise make it very difficult to re-partition the hard drive to the user's specifications.
WHAT DOES THIS TUTORIAL DO?
- It gives you a walkthrough of how to install a fresh copy of windows 7 onto a laptop and activate it using the OEM Key.
- Delete hidden partitions and reformat the computer.
- Create an image of your Hard drive with factory settings (along with the hidden OEM partition)
- Please note that this process will completely remove (or destroy if you prefer) the manufacturer's restore process built into your computer as it involves a complete reformat of your hard drive. Please use this only if you are savvy enough. If anything goes wrong you will have to re-image the drive using a HDD image.
STEP 1: BEFORE INSTALLATION
1. Backup driver files to external drive.
2. Burn Windows 7 ISO to disc. You can download your Windows 7 ISO from http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/11/10/windows-7-iso-x86-and-x64-official-direct-download-links-ul... .
Please download the version that came with your computer or this process will not work. If your computer came with Windows 7 Home Premium, then download that only.
3. Write down the OEM Key. It is on windows sticker at the bottom of your laptop. If you can't find the sticker then you can use a key reading program. Choose one from here: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/productkeysactivation/tp/topkeyfinder.htm
4. Reset computer to factory settings. This might be different based on your computer. For the Lenovo Y550P, just use the OneKey recovery button.
5. Download Clonezilla from http://www.clonezilla.org . Use this program to make an image of your disc (along with the hidden OEM partition) to an external HDD. Clonezilla is open source and free. Doing this will ensure that in the event of some error you can re-image your hard drive to the factory settings.
This link will explain how: http://www.sevenforums.com/software/18971-clonezilla-open-source-image-backup.html
STEP 2: INSTALL WINDOWS 7 (Do not enter product key)
1. Do not enter product key or activate windows during installation. We will do it later.
2. Go through the installation process and partition the HDD to your requirements.
3. Install windows. The program will walk you through what you need to do.
STEP 3: AFTER WINDOWS INSTALL
1. Activate windows with the OEM Key located on your computer.
2. Online activation might fail. Do not worry..mine failed too. I used the automated phone activation to activate the product.
3. Install Drivers saved in the external drive
4. You're done !
1. After doing all this you would have reclaimed the partitions hidden by the laptop manufacturer and created your own. This also means that the recovery features installed by your manufacturer will no longer be available.
2. I have not tried to re-image my HDD with the factory image I saved during installation. It should work but I have not tested it.
3. This tutorial assumes that you have not changed any of the original hardware that came with your computer. For example, if you have replaced the HDD then I am not sure if this will work.
1. "RE-USE PRODUCT KEY FOR WINDOWS 7 HOME PREMIUM ON PROFESSIONAL
2. "INSTALLING USING A VALID OEM CODE, BUT USING A RETAIL DISC"
3. "CAN WINDOWS 7 BE INSTALLED WITHOUT A KEY INITIALLY ? "