If you find yourself needing to reinstall Windows 7 but don’t have your installation disc at hand then you could be forgiven for thinking that you are out of luck, or at least in for quite the nightmare getting hold of one. Thankfully, Microsoft has finally seen fit to preempt a situation that we’ve all found ourselves in by making Windows 7 ISOs available to download directly from its own website.

Originally available to download from Digital River, Windows ISOs have been missing from legitimate sources since those links went dead, but now that Microsoft is hosting all the Windows 7 ISOs you could possibly need, reinstalling is as easy as downloading the image and then either burning it to a disc or creating a bootable USB stick.

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Don’t start thinking that you can just go downloading free versions of Windows 7 on your own might though – you’ll still need a valid license key in order to initiate the download, but you have that tucked up someone safe and sound, right?

Assuming you do, here’s what need to do along with a handy step should that license allude you.

Step 1: Head on over to the Microsoft Software Recovery Center here and enter your product key before choosing the language that you want to download.

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Step 2: Once everything is filled in and Microsoft has confirmed the authenticity of the product key that you have entered, the download will begin.

One caveat here though: if you have an OEM installation of Windows that came with a pre-built PC, then that isn’t going to work here. You’re going to have to borrow a copy of the installation media from a friend, unfortunately. Just make sure you use you use your own key during installation.

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