When it comes the time to reinstall Windows on your system, because things are not working correctly or simply because you want to do a clean installation, you’ll need the ISO containing the files to create a bootable media to install the operating system.
In the past, it wasn’t easy for customers to get the installation files, but starting with Windows 8, things started to change as Microsoft slowly began relaxing the rules to let anyone download the files to make a clean install of Windows.
Today, Microsoft has the Software Recovery Center, a website that makes it super easy for customers to download the ISO files for any of the major releases of the operating system including Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
On the site, you simply click the version you want to download to get to the corresponding download page for that particular version of Windows.
Clicking the Windows 10 link will take you to the Get Windows 10 page, where you can download the upgrade assistant or the Media Creation Tool to create a USB, DVD, or ISO file with the installation files for a clean setup.
Clicking the Windows 8.1 link will take you to the Download Windows 8.1 page, where you can download the Media Creation Tool for this version of the operating system to either upgrade or create a bootable media to install Windows 8.1 from scratch.
Clicking the Windows 7 link will take you to the Download Windows 7 Disc Images (ISO Files) page. Unlike the other versions, in order to download ISO files for Windows 7, you will need to provide and verify a valid product key before you can download the file.
If you’ve purchased a retail version and you lost the disc, you’ll find the product key in the packaging. If not, you can use this tool to retrieve the license from your current installation.
Once your product is verified, you’ll get the download links for Windows 7 x86 and Windows 7 x64. After the download, you can use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to create a USB or DVD bootable installation media.
Keep in mind that you can only download the retail version of Windows 7. If your computer came installed with an operating system from the factory, it’s likely that this is a OEM version, which means that the ISO files from the System Recovery Center won’t work. In this case, you’ll need to contact your computer manufacturer for assistant.