do I install windows 7 or windows 10 on a brand new hard drive?

I have a Dell Inspiron, 6 years old.  I am fairly certain that the hard drive has failed.  It will not boot and I have completed all
the normal testing...repair, diagnosis, restore points, safe mode etc and it will not boot.  It came from the factory 6 years ago
with windows 7 preinstalled.  I have since upgraded it to windows 10 and windows 10 was activated with microsoft.  When I replace
the hard drive should I reinstall windows 7 or should I try to go directly to windows 10?  If I reinstall windows 7 and get it working properly can I upgrade to windows 10 since windows 10 was on this machine recently and it was working okay.  All this problem started about
1 week ago.
thanks,
capreol
Richard ChristensenRetired computer technicianAsked:
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John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems EngineerCommented:
Normally if you have upgraded from Win 7 to Win 10 your system has being registered to Ms so when you finished installation and connect to Internet you will find the system activated..
If this fails then enter your Windows 7 key...but first update your Windows 10 to the latest build....although i see a lot of contradiction regarding this...some say it works some say it won't...
If anything goes wrong try to activate by phone and if a representative speaks state that your HDD has failed.....
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Richard ChristensenRetired computer technicianAuthor Commented:
thanks John. Much appreciated.
capreol
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Windows 10 now allows you to replace a hard drive any number of times without issue. As noted above Licensing is in the Microsoft Licensing server.  I have done this.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Definitely just install Windows 10.    The only thing you need to do is install the SAME version you had on the machine ... either Home or Pro.     Just create a bootable installation DVD on another PC using the Media Creation Tool [2nd link here:  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 ];   then install a new hard drive on your PC; and boot to the install DVD.    When prompted for a key, just click on "Skip this step" ... and the installation will complete just fine, and it will automatically activate with no problem.

If you're not certain which version you had; just look at the sticker and see which version of Windows 7 it was pre-loaded with ... If it was Home, then you had Win 10 Home;  if it was Pro, you had Win 10 Pro.     Note that the "bitness" (32-bit or 64-bit) doesn't matter ... you can install either (I assume you'll want the 64-bit version).

And if you're still not sure which version ... just try one.    If it doesn't activate; just do the install again and select the other version :-)
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Colleen Kayter4D AssetsCommented:
Capreol, before you do Win10, I must recommend you check the Dell website for drivers. I retired my Studio XPS 6 months ago because Dell decided it was time I buy a new computer. They haven't published the needed drivers their OEM hardware requires with Win10 and will not publish the needed drivers. So I agreed with them. I bought a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with Win10 Pro. ;-)
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Uttam KumarTech Support ExpertCommented:
Just install the same version as you had earlier for Windows 10, you already have a digital license and it will get activated.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... Capreol, before you do Win10, I must recommend you check the Dell website for drivers "  ==>  No need to do this.   The system was running Windows 10 already, so there's no doubt there are drivers for it.    Windows 10 will almost certainly find what it needs with no need to download anything from Dell.
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Colleen Kayter4D AssetsCommented:
TY, garycase. I missed that comment in my first read through. But after several episodes of driver hell will my vintage computers and new OS installs, I don't trust compatible drivers will always be found.
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Richard ChristensenRetired computer technicianAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all the experts.  I very much appreciate your assistance regarding this question.
capreol
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You're most welcome.     Don't forget to close the question.
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Richard ChristensenRetired computer technicianAuthor Commented:
thanks Gary.  How do I close the question?
capreol
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Just click on "Best Solution" for the answer you found most helpful; and if you want to also give credit to other commenters you click on "Assisted Solution" for those.    When you're done, just click on "Accept Immediately" and it will be closed.
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