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shinnen
09-14-2017, 08:24 AM
Hi all,
I want to buy a Windows 7 OS disk for installation on my wife's computer, which currently has Windows XP installed. I see plenty of Windows 7 for sale on Kijiji, in varies forms; but am not sure how good they are. (I hear that some will stop running after a certain time.) What questions should I ask to feel confident that I'm getting a working OS that will not crap out over time?
Thanks,
..... john
P.S. I don't know what full market value is for this OS, but would like to keep the price down to $50, or less.

jz78817
09-14-2017, 09:42 AM
the only legitimate way is to buy a new retail version from a reputable seller like newegg (though since you appear to be in Canada, a place such as NCIX.) Unfortunately the cheapest Windows 7 license is $99 USD.

buying things like this on eBay or through Craigslist or Kijiji carries a huge risk of getting something that is counterfeit or cracked, and can stop working. Or worse, be bundled with hidden malware.

Dewey Finn
09-14-2017, 09:49 AM
You can download the Windows 7 disc image directly from Microsoft (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows7) but in order to do so, you need to enter a product key. You might try the Windows XP product key to see if it works. If not, remember that any system still running Windows XP (or really even Windows 7) is incredibly out of date, and it might be better just to purchase a new machine running Windows 10.

Blakeyrat
09-14-2017, 05:45 PM
This is a long shot, but computers that shipped with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 can be downgraded to Windows 7. All you need to do is install Windows 7 from the disk image you download from Microsoft, and put in your Windows 8 product key.

Might be worth a try if you have access to any computers that shipped with Windows 8 or 8.1 before you plonk down the money.

scr4
09-14-2017, 07:32 PM
Might be worth a try if you have access to any computers that shipped with Windows 8 or 8.1 before you plonk down the money.

I think those would be OEM licenses. Which means the Windows license is only valid for the computer it was shipped with, and cannot be transferred to another computer.

Perhaps if one could get an unused Windows-7 upgrade license, that could be used to upgrade from XP to 7? But I'm not sure where to get one that is guaranteed not to be pirated or fraudulent.

shinnen
09-18-2017, 10:03 AM
I put an add on Kijiji for a windows 7 computer with installation disk, and received two answers.
One of them said "I do not have the back up disks, but you can create them after the one existing in the computer"
Is it possible to create a backup disk from a windows 7 computer?
Would that be as good as having an 'installation disk'?
Thanks,
....... john

scr4
09-18-2017, 10:06 AM
I thought you were shopping for a Windows-7 license on a computer you already own. Are you now shopping for a computer with Windows-7? You know you can't move a license from one that had it pre-installed to another computer, right?

Dewey Finn
09-18-2017, 10:09 AM
So were you not able to download the OS from Microsoft?

shinnen
09-18-2017, 12:45 PM
Hi,
scr4 - Yes, I was shopping for a Windows 7 disk; but there seems to be a sense that getting one on Kijiji is not a good idea. So I thought I could upgrade my hardware and buy a computer that already has Windows 7 installed.
Dewey - I've heard that Windows 7 downloaded from Microsoft has a limited shelf life?
.... john

Dewey Finn
09-18-2017, 12:54 PM
Where did you hear that it has a "limited shelf life"? As long as you activate it using a legitimate product key, it will continue to function indefinitely.

shinnen
09-18-2017, 03:43 PM
Hi Dewey,
I'm not sure where I heard it. On one of the other forums, I believe.
So, where do I get a product key, and how much will it cost me?
..... john

Dewey Finn
09-18-2017, 03:59 PM
As I said earlier, try entering the Windows XP product key on the screen to download Windows 7. It might accept it.

Dewey Finn
09-18-2017, 04:08 PM
Also, checking Newegg.com, they have 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium OEM for a hundred bucks. That's more than you wanted to spend, but not by much.

On the other hand, I'm not sure it's worth it to spend a hundred bucks (or even fifty bucks) on a computer old enough that it's still running Windows XP. You'd be better off buying a new or a used newer system.

Blakeyrat
09-18-2017, 04:58 PM
Hi Dewey,
I'm not sure where I heard it. On one of the other forums, I believe.
So, where do I get a product key, and how much will it cost me?
..... john

There's no difference at all between the contents of a Windows 7 disk you'd buy from Microsoft, and the Windows 7 copy you download from Microsoft. They're identical.

The "product" you buy when you buy Windows 7 is the activation code. With an activation code, the Windows 7 install (regardless of how it was installed-- download or disk) will expire after a short time. With an application code, Windows 7 (again regardless of how it was installed) will work indefinitely.

Note that Windows 7 extended support ends January 14, 2020. It would be unwise to have Windows 7 on your computer after that date.

gnoitall
09-18-2017, 05:02 PM
The "product" you buy when you buy Windows 7 is the activation code. With an activation code, the Windows 7 install (regardless of how it was installed-- download or disk) will expire after a short time. With an application code, Windows 7 (again regardless of how it was installed) will work indefinitely.Minor correction on the highlighted portion: I'm sure you meant "Without an activation code..."

If the Windows installation can't phone home to Microsoft's activation server, it disables itself after a few days or weeks. Hence, the validity of the product license key is critical.

The last time I bought Windows 7, I did in fact buy one of those $99 Win 7 Home OEM installers at Newegg. But it's been the better part of a year since then.

Personally, I would not trust a Windows 7 key from anybody less reputable than a big retailer like that.

Blakeyrat
09-18-2017, 05:08 PM
Oh yah, sorry. Just a brain fart. Thanks for the correction.

wolfpup
09-18-2017, 05:18 PM
Two caveats:

- I have to agree and stress with what was already said about buying from a reputable source to avoid counterfeits. You need a sealed package, whether a shrink-wrapped box or an OEM package, with a certificate of authenticity.

- Prices seem to be all over the map, so shop carefully.

Here's a retail copy of Windows 7 Pro for $399.99: :eek:
https://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Windows-Professional-Old-Version/dp/B002DHLVII/ref=sr_1_1?s=software&ie=UTF8&qid=1505769545&sr=1-1

(if you're seeing something different, copy and paste the link directly -- for me, the stupid Viglink malware is redirecting it somewhere else when linked on the SDMB!)

If you're in Canada as someone I think mentioned, Newegg Canada has an OEM package (Windows 7 Pro 64-bit) for CDN $180, which is a lot, but at least it's not $399.99:
https://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832416804

Back in the US, the best price I found in a quick search was $59.95, sold by a third party, but fulfilled by Amazon and described as a "sealed package":
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07534831B/ref=s9_acsd_newrz_hd_bw_bxk7_c_x_1_w?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-6&pf_rd_r=Z2GZT99SXD18E3JJE1QE&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=d35e5c3f-d44e-5cdb-8a94-ed6662e02dd2&pf_rd_i=229655

The funny thing about the more insane prices being asked by some sellers is that you can buy a complete refurbished computer with Windows 7 Professional for similar prices, for example, off-lease refurbished desktops or laptops from Dell Financial. Dell has both US and Canadian websites. I just bought a mini tower Dell Optiplex system with a 3.4 Ghz Intel Core i7 and Windows 7 Pro for a couple of hundred bucks, after my old XP system blew up its proprietary and hence non-replaceable power supply. It's actually a really nice system with a lot of future for non-gaming desktop use and in the large scheme of things was practically free. I just put a Samsung 850 Pro SSD in it last night and it's so fast that everything is essentially instantaneous! With my lethargic old XP system, I would start Firefox and then go downstairs and make coffee while it got itself running. :D

shinnen
09-18-2017, 06:10 PM
Thank you all for your help. I saw a real cheap ($5) Windows 7 disk for sale on Kijiji. The guy says that Microsoft's site says it's good for Windows 7 ultimate retail. He says that he doubts the key will work with the CD (I don't know why) but it should work with the downloaded iso. I may give that I try ...... for $5. What are your thoughts?
The other question, that I would like you to consider is ....... If I buy a used (working) windows 7 machine (I can get one for $75). Can I then create a backup disk and virtually have the same thing as buying a key would give me?
..... john

wolfpup
09-18-2017, 06:36 PM
Thank you all for your help. I saw a real cheap ($5) Windows 7 disk for sale on Kijiji. The guy says that Microsoft's site says it's good for Windows 7 ultimate retail. He says that he doubts the key will work with the CD (I don't know why) but it should work with the downloaded iso. I may give that I try ...... for $5. What are your thoughts?
The other question, that I would like you to consider is ....... If I buy a used (working) windows 7 machine (I can get one for $75). Can I then create a backup disk and virtually have the same thing as buying a key would give me?
..... john

I wouldn't buy the $5 key. It's not the $5 that is at risk, it's all the time and trouble if the key doesn't work or activate correctly or worse, stops working at some point in the future (Windows 7 periodically re-validates, I believe).

What you can create with a working version of Windows 7 is called an emergency restore disk, which cannot install Windows or do much else in the event of a total failure, but it does have some of the repair capabilities of a Windows disk, namely, it can try to fix boot problems if the system won't boot because of a corrupted MBR and the like, and I believe it can run Windows Backup if you've done a backup with it (I personally dislike Windows Backup and never use it). You can achieve the same thing by downloading the Windows 7 ISO from Microsoft and burning it, plus you can also use it to do a reinstall if you have the right key for it.

shinnen
09-18-2017, 08:35 PM
Yes. Thanks Wolfpup.
I'll try the $5 option first.
Should that install over her current Windows xp?
..... john

wolfpup
09-18-2017, 09:53 PM
No, Windows XP cannot be directly upgraded to Windows 7. You have to back up your data, reformat and install from scratch.

BigT
09-19-2017, 01:25 AM
Any cheap key for Windows Ultimate is almost certainly illicitly obtained. It's the most expensive version, but also the most fully featured version, and thus a big target for pirates. I learned this the hard way with a laptop where I discovered traces of an illegal key, explaining why a computer that would have come with Windows Vista had Windows 7 Ultimate on it.

Still, I will admit that malware is basically impossible if they actually give you a key, and you download the install CD from Microsoft. If you get a real CD, I would still download one from Microsoft and use that, just to be sure, no matter how much you play for your copy.

shinnen
09-19-2017, 06:16 PM
Right .... not installable over Windows XP, S--T, that's a big drawback that would result in a lot of customization.
Yes, OK, download it from Microsoft's site ..... got it.
Thanks,
..... john

shinnen
09-21-2017, 10:50 AM
The majour concern, for me, in buy an already functioning system, is that I may not be able to install the latest security updates. I have a system in mind. If he shows me that it will update, do you think that moving the computer, i.e. changing providers and location will effect it's ability to be updated?
Thanks,
..... john

SamuelA
09-21-2017, 12:37 PM
Where did you hear that it has a "limited shelf life"? As long as you activate it using a legitimate product key, it will continue to function indefinitely.

Once Microsoft stops making security updates, after that date, it would still 'work' but you would not be able to go online with the OS without a severe risk of the computer getting hacked with hostile software. The things you can do with an OS that can't connect to the internet are limited.

ftg
09-21-2017, 02:22 PM
Right .... not installable over Windows XP, S--T, that's a big drawback that would result in a lot of customization.

Actually, I've done this several times. The trick is to temporarily upgrade to Vista first. :eek:

The discount activation licenses are not usually so much stolen as being passed on without authorization. Somebody bought a block of licenses and are now selling extras off for cheap. MS does not like this and cancels the licenses when it finds them. (An employee can buy one, determine who bought the group and cancel all in that group.)

So you should think of such product keys as being rented rather than being sold. You might have the use of them for a bit but there's a chance it gets canceled and you have to get another one and another one ...

At some point it's cheaper, and definitely less of a hassle, to be legit.

If you look at cheapo Windows 10 devices for sale on eBay or Amazon and check the reviews you'll see that several people got ones with bad product keys. The discount makers in Asia bought some discount licenses, installed them and MS later catches on.

Dewey Finn
09-21-2017, 03:34 PM
Where did you hear that it has a "limited shelf life"? As long as you activate it using a legitimate product key, it will continue to function indefinitely.
Once Microsoft stops making security updates, after that date, it would still 'work' but you would not be able to go online with the OS without a severe risk of the computer getting hacked with hostile software. The things you can do with an OS that can't connect to the internet are limited.
I get that. What I was responding to was the OP's idea that Windows 7 downloaded from Microsoft had a limited shelf life, which he/she seemed to imply wasn't the case with the same software obtained otherwise.
Dewey - I've heard that Windows 7 downloaded from Microsoft has a limited shelf life?

gnoitall
09-21-2017, 04:46 PM
I get that. What I was responding to was the OP's idea that Windows 7 downloaded from Microsoft had a limited shelf life, which he/she seemed to imply wasn't the case with the same software obtained otherwise.The only connection I could imagine is tied to the limited shelf life of an illegitimate product key. If you (hypothetically) pay $5 for an activation key and download the installation media, then put both aside for a month before trying to use them, what will become unusably stale would be the key, not the media. It might fail to activate, or be revoked later. And if you weren't very savvy about how Microsoft key management worked, you might be inclined to blame the downloaded installation media, not the key you bought.

I mean, you paid for the key, right? So it must be legit. :rolleyes:

wolfpup
09-21-2017, 06:59 PM
Actually, I've done this several times. The trick is to temporarily upgrade to Vista first. :eek:
While this is true, I would consider it a really bad idea. What you're doing there for the sake of convenience is taking all the baggage and whatever existing issues may exist in the XP installation, and propagating them to Vista. And since Vista itself is just a steaming pile of baggage, you're now taking one steaming pile of baggage compounded by an even worse one, and propagating the whole thing to Windows 7, instead of doing a fresh clean installation.

And it's not as if you're going to get a Windows 7 equivalent of your old XP system with everything working. Lots of apps are just not compatible, and even those that are might not migrate properly. When I installed Windows 7 for the first time on my old XP laptop, most of the time and effort was spent getting upgraded compatible apps, and in one case, a new driver. This is stuff one typically has to do anyway. The last two Windows 7 installs I did recently were both on SSD drives. I thought I would enjoy the relative speed of the install, but the enjoyment was brief -- it was like bim-bam, installation done! The installation itself is nothing, and the migration is far too complex to leave to automation, especially Microsoft's!
The discount activation licenses are not usually so much stolen as being passed on without authorization. Somebody bought a block of licenses and are now selling extras off for cheap. MS does not like this and cancels the licenses when it finds them. (An employee can buy one, determine who bought the group and cancel all in that group.)

So you should think of such product keys as being rented rather than being sold. You might have the use of them for a bit but there's a chance it gets canceled and you have to get another one and another one ...
Very true.

SamuelA
09-21-2017, 09:12 PM
I'd just pay the $5 and grab the grey market key. Worst case, it doesn't activate, and you can usually whine to the site and get your money back. If it does work, the odds that Microsoft bans the key later is extremely slim. Much smaller than you think. They have done things like that in the past, but it isn't with every patch, and it generally requires them to go out of their way to bother.

I know that with "educational" license keys, you can install a completely legit version of Windows 7 Professional and it works fine, with all features present. If you reuse the same license key for windows 7 on a different computer within 6 months, it does complain, but you can just call this phone number and get it unlocked in 5 minutes. Sure, if you did this a buncha times, they'd ban the key, but once or twice per 6 months, they won't.

Once windows is activated, it doesn't recheck with microsoft's servers unless you reinstall, generally. Usually only with service packs, and there are no more service packs for windows 7 scheduled.

Or, frankly, while I don't condone piracy, the pirates have long ago solved the problems with activating windows 7. Though you would be taking a risk - the black market "activators" you can download may or may not infest your computer with malware. There is no such risk using a grey market license key and a download of windows 7 from microsoft's official servers, however - worst case scenario is it doesn't activate.

Where did they get the grey market key? Who knows. Maybe they set up a sham corporation and actually legitimately bought some licenses for windows 7. The corporate price per seat is a lot less than the $99 retail price, especially somewhere like Malaysia. Maybe someone took photographs on the license keys of thousands of computers being thrown away, and is reselling those. (as long as they don't resell the same key more than once or twice, it's going to work fine forever)

For a slightly more legit grey market key, use kinguin, and get the $25 key from the seller that has sold 166,000 of them. Nobody has complained yet, and at $25 they probably are legitimate corporate keys.

gnoitall
09-22-2017, 09:08 AM
Once windows is activated, it doesn't recheck with microsoft's servers unless you reinstall, generally. Usually only with service packs, and there are no more service packs for windows 7 scheduled.Or a system hardware change (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-make-your-windows-7-pc-genuine-again-after-a-hardware-upgrade/) of unknown magnitude. Maybe not an issue with a technically unsophisticated user (who's not likely to go swapping out parts), but who knows? Can't overlook it, especially since component-level upgrades are a common way to increase overall performance on a system.

SamuelA
09-22-2017, 01:24 PM
Or a system hardware change (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-make-your-windows-7-pc-genuine-again-after-a-hardware-upgrade/) of unknown magnitude. Maybe not an issue with a technically unsophisticated user (who's not likely to go swapping out parts), but who knows? Can't overlook it, especially since component-level upgrades are a common way to increase overall performance on a system.

Usually, increasing the RAM or installing another hard drive or replacing a hard drive with an SSD or installing a video card doesn't trigger it. Unless you do all those swaps in one go, in between reboots.

Again, though, if it doesn't activate, there's a phone number. You call it and type in this long code that will be on the screen. Only if the grey market key was sold to a large number of people will this mechanism not work.

septimus
09-22-2017, 01:29 PM
My ignorance is showing, but why go with Windows 7 at all? Is Windows 10 so bad? Does it break a lot of old software?

Dewey Finn
09-22-2017, 01:42 PM
Not, Windows 10 is not that bad. And actually, I think it's pretty good. The OP wanted to upgrade a computer currently running Windows XP. I really doubt anything that old would run Windows 10 adequately. It would be better for him to just get a new computer.

shinnen
09-23-2017, 03:16 PM
Right. Thank you all for your insights and expertise. I have a Windows 7 computer right now, which I would gladly relinquish to my wife, if I could only update the security features. That's the real sticking point. My wife want's a system she feel more secure with than the XP.
The system was give to me. It is good and fast, and would probably do for Windows 10; but I don't want to lay out the bucks. As for me, I couldn't care less. I like Windows XP, and have several computers running it. I clone the drives. If I run into a problem I can't fix, I just pop in the clone, and Bob's your uncle. I don't care about security; but my wife does. I have tried everything I can think of to update the Windows 7, but SFC says it has corrupt files, and after the 5th or 6th attempt, and all the fixes I can find, it still reverts back on reboot ...... very frustrating. If I buy a used system, I may run into the same problem. I may have to spring for legit solution.
Well, enough wining. I haven't decided what to do yet; but I do appreciate your help.
...... john