Avatar of mlcktmguy
mlcktmguy
Flag for United States of America asked on

Restoring to Windows 7 on a Windows 10 machine

I have a used laptop that was originally Windows 7 when I purchased it but one of my kids upgraded it to Windows 10 during the free upgrade period.

I want to do some testing on a developed application on a Win 7 machine am I'm trying to get this machine back to Win 7.

I tried all of the available 'reset' operating system options that I can find but they all 'reset' to Win 10.  I even tried the 'reset' that completely clears the machine and reloads WIn 10.

Is there any way to get back to the original delivered from the factory  configuration of the machine, including Win7?

I know I've been talked thru completely resetting a computer to its delivered configuration but that always on a machine with the same operating system as delivered.

I do not have any configuration or installations disks for the laptop.
Windows 10Windows 7

Avatar of undefined
Last Comment
mlcktmguy

8/22/2022 - Mon
ASKER CERTIFIED SOLUTION
Edward Pamias

THIS SOLUTION ONLY AVAILABLE TO MEMBERS.
View this solution by signing up for a free trial.
Members can start a 7-Day free trial and enjoy unlimited access to the platform.
See Pricing Options
Start Free Trial
GET A PERSONALIZED SOLUTION
Ask your own question & get feedback from real experts
Find out why thousands trust the EE community with their toughest problems.
Ramin

yes you can, just tell us the model/make of the laptop.
Dr. Klahn

Well .... first thing I'd do is go get the Windows 7 distribution CDs that came with PCs from your system's manufacturer, because you will need them to reinstall W7.  This will be tricky because Microsoft put conditions in the contract for Windows 8 to all PC manufacturers requiring them to drop all support for Windows 7.   So the CDs won't be available, but you might be able to find ISO images of the CDs somewhere.

If you can find the ISO images, then check for the COA sticker on the system.  This has the 25-character license key needed to activate W7.  No sticker, or unreadable key, means no W7 reinstall.

If you get this far, then you can download a copy of Darik's Boot and Nuke CD as an ISO image, burn the CD, boot from the CD and completely erase the hard drive.

Then you can burn an ISO image of the W7 CD, boot it, and reinstall W7.

After that comes the long and boring process of installing 15 years of software updates.

After that you can start reinstalling all the necessary add-ons such as Firefox, Acrobat, antivirus ...

Figure three or four days, at six hours a day.
John

At this point, having reinstalled Windows 10 and more than 30 days passed, the Windows.old for Windows 7 will be gone.

You need to backup, format and install Windows 7 fresh.
Experts Exchange is like having an extremely knowledgeable team sitting and waiting for your call. Couldn't do my job half as well as I do without it!
James Murphy
Scott C

So you don't have to wipe the machine, you could always spin up a VM on your desktop.

VMWorkstation should work nicely.  How much memory do you have in your laptop?
mlcktmguy

ASKER
It's a Dell laptop but I can't find a model number on it.  I purchased at least 3 years ago when my son went to college and cannot find the original invoice to check the specs.
Scott C

Here are the steps to restore your Dell computer running Windows 7 to factory default.

http://www.dell.com/support/article/us/how-to-restore-your-windows-7-computer-to-factory-settings/4/SLN291879/en?lang=EN
⚡ FREE TRIAL OFFER
Try out a week of full access for free.
Find out why thousands trust the EE community with their toughest problems.
Ramin

follow this link to restore windows 7
http://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/4/SLN291879/en
Edward Pamias

if you reboot you may have a recover partition, reboot laptop, hit F8 and go to Advanced Boot Options, from there you should be able to repair or restore.
John

I have VMware Workstation on my Windows 10 machine and a Windows 7 machine and that works well. But that means keeping Windows 10 which I thought the author did not want.
I started with Experts Exchange in 2004 and it's been a mainstay of my professional computing life since. It helped me launch a career as a programmer / Oracle data analyst
William Peck
Scott C

He wants to do some testing on a Windows 7 machine.  I just offered the VM solution as an option rather then rebuild from scratch.

I posted the Dell article on doing a factory reset.
mlcktmguy

ASKER
Thanks for all of the quick responses.  If this is 3 - 4 days at 6 hours a day I'll just purchase a Win 7 machine.  I was trying to avoid that.

I did find the model number on the back.  It's an Inspiron 15R-5521.  It has a windows 7 graphic sticker on it right next to the Inter Core i5 sticker.  6 GB of memory.
I also see the Dell service tag of the machine but no Windows 7 serial number.
Ramin

Okay, just follow this link and let us know if you had any question,
 http://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/4/SLN291879/en
⚡ FREE TRIAL OFFER
Try out a week of full access for free.
Find out why thousands trust the EE community with their toughest problems.
Scott C

No, it won't be 3-4 days for 6 hrs. each day.

And it's not 15 years of updates.

I recently set a machine back to factory default and it was done in one evening after work.

Just go through the steps in the link I posted and you'll be fine.
John

First, purchasing a machine today (except via eBay) will probably mean you have to purchase Windows 10.

Second, if the Windows 10 machine you have is decent, then as Scott suggests and I agree, VMware Workstation will be a cheaper approach.
Ramin

it takes only less than one hour to install Windows 7, and some hours (day)  to install updates.
All of life is about relationships, and EE has made a viirtual community a real community. It lifts everyone's boat
William Peck
mlcktmguy

ASKER
F8 does nothing on the reboot but I noticed F12 brought up advanced.  I did not see any of the options mentioned in the link posted.
Edward Pamias

Restart the system. At the system logo screen immediately press and hold 'SHIFT' and tap the 'F8' key to enter'Recovery' and select 'See advanced repair option'.
-At 'Choose an option' click 'Troubleshoot'.
-At 'Troubleshoot' click 'Advanced options'.
-Right at 'Advanced Options' screen left-click 'Windows Startup Settings'.
-Now, at 'Windows Startup Setting' click 'Restart' and allow your system to finish with the process. It will do the repair without making any changes to your important folders.
Ramin

yes it's normal,  just follow this link from dell:
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os/f/3524/t/19494817
⚡ FREE TRIAL OFFER
Try out a week of full access for free.
Find out why thousands trust the EE community with their toughest problems.
mlcktmguy

ASKER
Thanks again for all the responses and advice.  F8 and Shift-F8 while rebooting do nothing on this Win 10 machine.  F12 does bring up the boot options but there is no restore.  There is no restore partition.

I will be contacting Dell but have not had the time yet.  Working thru there tech support always seems to take quite some time.
Edward Pamias

So it looks like you never had a recovery partition or it was deleted during the upgrade. On my laptop which came with Windows 7, it still has the recovery partition even after I upgraded to Windows 10. You may want to see if you can order the recovery media for you machine from dell or even a third party.
mlcktmguy

ASKER
Ended up0 having to get the CD's from Dell.
Your help has saved me hundreds of hours of internet surfing.
fblack61