Windows vs. Linux

[email protected]

New Member
Credits
0
I installed Mint (Cinnamon) to get rid of my Windows 10. Now, for a number of reasons, including wanting to sell this 6 year old doorstop computer, I want to re-install Windows. This Dell came with Win7.
I have both a "re-installation disk", and the downloaded USB boot file "Windows Recovery".
Dell imprints the version and product key for the version of windows they install before shipment. Supposedly, a person can run either of the above boot sources and the factory installed version of Windows will be restored.
Ain't happenin'!
When I change the 1st Boot device to either the CD or the USB in CMOS, upon reboot the computer just sits there with a command screen and a flashing cursor. None of the Dell installation guides help with this.

So my real question to you Linux gurus is what do I need to do through Linux to get these restore programs to run? Anything? Or is it just another Windows SNAFU?

I really appreciate any advice. If I can eliminate Linux as part of the problem, I can look elsewhere.
 


atanere

Well-Known Member
Credits
0
Hi Paul, and welcome. I bought several computers from different manufacturers (desktops and laptops, but not Dell) on the day that Windows 7 was released, and none came with a CD/DVD to restore Windows. By that time, it was already expected that you would create a "Windows Recovery" DVD yourself. There was a built-in app to make the DVD, and it was built from a special hard drive partition. You have probably erased that hard drive partition by installing Linux.

But since it seems that you probably upgraded to Windows 10 during the free period, you should be able to reinstall Windows 10 from scratch and it should "activate" properly for you (or for the new owner you sell it to). You can download the Windows 10 .iso file and install it similarly to the process of installing Linux.... letting it erase the entire hard drive in the process. Once installed, it will prompt for a new user to be created, etc, just like a new computer. Download the Windows 10 .iso file at this link:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO

Good luck!
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
Credits
2,630
Doing a Completely Clean Install of Windows 10



1. Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool (MCT). Run it and choose the option to download media for another computer. The MCT defaults the language and architecture to match that of the machine running the tool. If you need to change either one for your target machine then uncheck the checkbox that controls this and tweak the dropdown for language and/or architecture [32-bit or 64-bit] appropriately. When you arrive at the dialog that prompts for what you want to download, elect to download the ISO file rather than to create a USB flash drive. I say this because if the flash drive creation fails for any reason you lose access to the ISO that was downloaded behind the scenes to create it. If you download the ISO file then if the creation of the bootable media fails you have it right there to try again.



2. Use Rufus (or a similar utility of your choosing) to burn the ISO to a flash drive to create bootable media. The steps that follow presume you’re using Rufus. Attach your flash drive and run Rufus. In the first dropdown box:

A) If you know your machine is newer hardware that uses UEFI as opposed to BIOS, select GPT partition scheme for UEFI. If the machine originally came with Windows 8 or Windows 10 this is definitely the choice to make.

B) If you know your machine is older and uses BIOS, or are uncertain as to whether you have BIOS or UEFI, select MBR partition scheme for UEFI or BIOS. Virtually all machines that came with Windows 7 (and earlier Windows) were produced with BIOS and use MBR partitioning.



Leave the other checkboxes checked or unchecked with their defaults.



3. Find the Create a bootable disc using checkbox and make sure that the option ISO image is selected from the dropdown next to it. Just beyond that dropdown is the Click to select an image . . . button. Activate it and you will be presented with the standard Windows browse dialog that lets you locate and select your ISO file from wherever you saved it.



4. Activate the Start button. The ISO image will now be burned to the flash drive as bootable.



5. Boot your system from the USB flash drive. [Since I don’t know what UEFI or BIOS you’re using it’s up to you to find out how to change the boot device order on your machine to put the USB drive first in the boot order]. When you get to the screen that asks for language, press Shift + F10 (or the Context Menu key if your keyboard has it) to open a Command Prompt or PowerShell (it doesn't matter which comes up). Type the following commands:

diskpart (you will most likely get a UAC dialog, to which you should, of course, respond "Yes")

list disk

select disk X Where X is the disk number on which you wish to install Windows 10. This is usually 0. Make sure you have the correct number as the next step will

wipe the disk of all partitions.

clean Purges the disk of all existing partitions

convert gpt Initializes the disk as GPT required for booting on a UEFI motherboard. If you get an error ignore it. If and only if you know you have a legacy system that

uses BIOS, use convert mbr instead of convert gpt.

exit (to close diskpart)

exit (to close Command Prompt/PowerShell)

The install will now continue; answer any prompts appropriately. When you get to the screen asking on which disk you wish install Windows, activate the Next button. The Windows 10 installer will automatically partition and format the drive using the format you previously specified in the convert command above.
 

[email protected]

New Member
Credits
0
Hi Paul, and welcome. I bought several computers from different manufacturers (desktops and laptops, but not Dell) on the day that Windows 7 was released, and none came with a CD/DVD to restore Windows. By that time, it was already expected that you would create a "Windows Recovery" DVD yourself. There was a built-in app to make the DVD, and it was built from a special hard drive partition. You have probably erased that hard drive partition by installing Linux.

But since it seems that you probably upgraded to Windows 10 during the free period, you should be able to reinstall Windows 10 from scratch and it should "activate" properly for you (or for the new owner you sell it to). You can download the Windows 10 .iso file and install it similarly to the process of installing Linux.... letting it erase the entire hard drive in the process. Once installed, it will prompt for a new user to be created, etc, just like a new computer. Download the Windows 10 .iso file at this link:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO

Good luck!
I know about the whole "recovery disk" thing with Win7. But in chat with a Dell tech, he told me the product key was on the motherboard. A local shop also said they could restore it to the original OS quite simply. I'm assuming he knew what the Dell tech later told me. I'm also guessing that this proactive measure is unique to Dell machines, since you say you haven't encountered it before.
I appreciate you help, but I definitely don't want Windows 10! I wouldn't wish that kludge on my worst enemy!
 

[email protected]

New Member
Credits
0
Let's assume I surrender and elect to install Win10 on this machine. When you talk about downloading the Media Creation Tool, and then using Rufus, are you talking about doing that on the machine I want to install Win10 on, and doing it through Linux OS?
I was hoping to build the bootable USB drive on my laptop and then plugging the USB drive into the computer I want to restore.
I'm following all your other instructions, but that is unclear to me. Thanks for the help.



Doing a Completely Clean Install of Windows 10



1. Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool (MCT). Run it and choose the option to download media for another computer. The MCT defaults the language and architecture to match that of the machine running the tool. If you need to change either one for your target machine then uncheck the checkbox that controls this and tweak the dropdown for language and/or architecture [32-bit or 64-bit] appropriately. When you arrive at the dialog that prompts for what you want to download, elect to download the ISO file rather than to create a USB flash drive. I say this because if the flash drive creation fails for any reason you lose access to the ISO that was downloaded behind the scenes to create it. If you download the ISO file then if the creation of the bootable media fails you have it right there to try again.



2. Use Rufus (or a similar utility of your choosing) to burn the ISO to a flash drive to create bootable media. The steps that follow presume you’re using Rufus. Attach your flash drive and run Rufus. In the first dropdown box:

A) If you know your machine is newer hardware that uses UEFI as opposed to BIOS, select GPT partition scheme for UEFI. If the machine originally came with Windows 8 or Windows 10 this is definitely the choice to make.

B) If you know your machine is older and uses BIOS, or are uncertain as to whether you have BIOS or UEFI, select MBR partition scheme for UEFI or BIOS. Virtually all machines that came with Windows 7 (and earlier Windows) were produced with BIOS and use MBR partitioning.



Leave the other checkboxes checked or unchecked with their defaults.



3. Find the Create a bootable disc using checkbox and make sure that the option ISO image is selected from the dropdown next to it. Just beyond that dropdown is the Click to select an image . . . button. Activate it and you will be presented with the standard Windows browse dialog that lets you locate and select your ISO file from wherever you saved it.



4. Activate the Start button. The ISO image will now be burned to the flash drive as bootable.



5. Boot your system from the USB flash drive. [Since I don’t know what UEFI or BIOS you’re using it’s up to you to find out how to change the boot device order on your machine to put the USB drive first in the boot order]. When you get to the screen that asks for language, press Shift + F10 (or the Context Menu key if your keyboard has it) to open a Command Prompt or PowerShell (it doesn't matter which comes up). Type the following commands:

diskpart (you will most likely get a UAC dialog, to which you should, of course, respond "Yes")

list disk

select disk X Where X is the disk number on which you wish to install Windows 10. This is usually 0. Make sure you have the correct number as the next step will

wipe the disk of all partitions.

clean Purges the disk of all existing partitions

convert gpt Initializes the disk as GPT required for booting on a UEFI motherboard. If you get an error ignore it. If and only if you know you have a legacy system that

uses BIOS, use convert mbr instead of convert gpt.

exit (to close diskpart)

exit (to close Command Prompt/PowerShell)

The install will now continue; answer any prompts appropriately. When you get to the screen asking on which disk you wish install Windows, activate the Next button. The Windows 10 installer will automatically partition and format the drive using the format you previously specified in the convert command above.
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
Credits
2,630
if you are about to sell this PC....your easiest way forward is Win 10
Having said that, I totally agree with your comments re win 10....I usually refer to it as the 'Abomination'

Then again, if you are simply offerring this for sale to the general public, then the "general public" usually wants the 'latest and greatest'....which is win 10

if, however, you are selling it a family member or a known friend, then I can also understand your reluctance to hoist win 10 onto them.

As for 'going back' to win 7..... this is not my area of expertise.

may I ask, which OS do you intend to run on what i can only assume will be a newly bought PC ? (or have i guessed incorrectly ? :))
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
Credits
2,630
btw....what is the model number of your Dell ?....have you seen the dell number which is located on the motherboard ?
 

[email protected]

New Member
Credits
0
I'm running Win7 Pro on an HP laptop, 4-core processor. It runs circles around my old Dell (the one I want to pass on). It satisfies all my need for the foreseeable future. Lack of Microsoft support (sic) for Win7 doesn't concern me. I also have an old XP machine that still does everything I ask of it, including support my printer which Win10 doesn't.. :cool:


if you are about to sell this PC....your easiest way forward is Win 10
Having said that, I totally agree with your comments re win 10....I usually refer to it as the 'Abomination'

Then again, if you are simply offerring this for sale to the general public, then the "general public" usually wants the 'latest and greatest'....which is win 10

if, however, you are selling it a family member or a known friend, then I can also understand your reluctance to hoist win 10 onto them.

As for 'going back' to win 7..... this is not my area of expertise.

may I ask, which OS do you intend to run on what i can only assume will be a newly bought PC ? (or have i guessed incorrectly ? :))
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
Credits
2,630
personally I would download the media on a separate machine......use your laptop to create the bootable usb
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
Credits
2,927
But in chat with a Dell tech, he told me the product key was on the motherboard. A local shop also said they could restore it to the original OS quite simply. I'm assuming he knew what the Dell tech later told me. I'm also guessing that this proactive measure is unique to Dell machines, since you say you haven't encountered it before.
If that is the case now, then they have done it between Windows XP and Win 7. I had a Dell computer with XP on it, and was able to move the disk from computer to computer (all non-Dell) and run it in a virtual machine under Windows 7 Home Edition. Had a fellow at my old stomping grounds (where Brian (@Condobloke ) and I both came from), whom basically called me a liar for saying so, and yet it worked.

(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, stubs his toe on box in garage full of MS software, throws it in trashcan except for CDs and DVDs, which reflect sun when hanging in a tree)

Welcome to linux.org [email protected] hope you enjoy your time here :)

I won't be doing other than watching here, likely, as I gave away using Windows after 25 years 4 years ago, but I will watch with interest.

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
BTW Brian ignore that email, I see you are still alive and kicking at 70, so will talk soon :p
 

[email protected]

New Member
Credits
0
If that is the case now, then they have done it between Windows XP and Win 7. I had a Dell computer with XP on it, and was able to move the disk from computer to computer (all non-Dell) and run it in a virtual machine under Windows 7 Home Edition. Had a fellow at my old stomping grounds (where Brian (@Condobloke ) and I both came from), whom basically called me a liar for saying so, and yet it worked.

(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, stubs his toe on box in garage full of MS software, throws it in trashcan except for CDs and DVDs, which reflect sun when hanging in a tree)

Welcome to linux.org [email protected] hope you enjoy your time here :)

I won't be doing other than watching here, likely, as I gave away using Windows after 25 years 4 years ago, but I will watch with interest.

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
BTW Brian ignore that email, I see you are still alive and kicking at 70, so will talk soon :p
Yeah, well...you CAN teach an ol' dog new tricks...but that doesn't apply to Linux! I've been trying for 2 weeks just to get Flash Player installed. Says it's installed, but won't run any Flash code.... Of course Linux wants you to use Fire Fox, and Mozilla hates Adobe...and we're stuck in the middle. And Linux hates Chrome.
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
Credits
2,630
why do you need flash player ?

it comes to Linux mint via the usual updates..and I allow it to download......it goes to firefox as a plug in....and I have it disabled. I NEVER use it.

my browsing habits youtube and possibly every other video playing entity you can imagine....the househiold includes two othger pc's with one of those being usd by a teenager.......and the flash is dasabled on the lot of them with no nasty consequences.

 

[email protected]

New Member
Credits
0
why do you need flash player ?

it comes to Linux mint via the usual updates..and I allow it to download......it goes to firefox as a plug in....and I have it disabled. I NEVER use it.

my browsing habits youtube and possibly every other video playing entity you can imagine....the househiold includes two othger pc's with one of those being usd by a teenager.......and the flash is dasabled on the lot of them with no nasty consequences.

Different browsing habits I guess. I play an online game that is written in Java. FireFox gave me script error after script error. Switched to Chrome and haven't had a issue. Same with FlashPlayer. Mozilla is fighting for HTML5 and wants FlashPlayer GONE! Every time I install FP plug-in on FireFox, the program tells me it's not safe and disables it on its own. I used FF for years because I felt it had better security, until they got in a pissing contest with Adobe. Now it's a total mess.
 

atanere

Well-Known Member
Credits
0
I agree with everyone here... Windows 10 is an abomination. But still, if you're going to sell this computer to a stranger, then Windows 10 would be the preferred OS to help you sell it. Mainstream Microsoft support for Windows 7 ended 3 years ago, and extended support now has less than 2 years to go. Like you, Paul, I will keep Win7 running beyond it's end-of-life for myself... but I would not recommend others to do that. If I were selling or giving away a computer to friends/family, I would very strongly recommend Linux, and I would provide technical support to them as they learn to get away from Windows.

Following @Condobloke's link from Linux took me to the same place as my link... probably a Microsoft re-direct. I'm guessing the link would have gone to the Media Creation Tool if I had been running Windows. I have used the MCT before, but just for fun I downloaded the full 64-bit Windows 10 v1709 .iso file (4.4 GB) and burned it to a DVD. It should work just as well with Rufus and a USB instead. I reset the BIOS/UEFI settings to default on a HP laptop (putting it back in UEFI w/Secure Boot enabled) and then did a clean install of Windows 10. I did not let it connect to a network in the beginning so Windows Update would not launch too quickly... but after the install completed I connected just long enough for Windows to "activate" with a digital license. No product key is needed because this computer had upgraded to Windows 10 (from 8) before and was previously activated.

After confirming that this laptop will activate Windows, if I were going to sell it I would go through the Windows 10 installation again, but I would power it down when Cortana comes to life and starts asking questions to get started. Then when a new owner starts the computer... they get to answer the questions to create a user name, connect to their home network, etc... just as if they had bought a new computer from a store. And you will have confidence that it will activate correctly having proved it already. It's a bit of a hassle to install Windows 10 twice, but I just did it myself and confirmed that this process works like I described.

Reason it might not activate: If you upgraded to Win 10 from a 32-bit version of Windows 7, then you may need to get the 32-bit version of Windows 10 for a proper match. I used 64-bit Windows 10 and had no problem, so I would guess that my previous Win 8 was also 64-bit. But back in Windows 7 days, it was very common to have a 32-bit copy of Windows even though the CPU was 64-bit... it was probably cheaper for the manufacturers. I'm not sure how the free upgrade to Win 10 looked at this situation. But I would go for 64-bit Win 10 first unless it proves not to activate on your computer... so that might mean a third time installing to learn if this is a problem.

Cheers
 

atanere

Well-Known Member
Credits
0
Mozilla is fighting for HTML5 and wants FlashPlayer GONE! Every time I install FP plug-in on FireFox, the program tells me it's not safe and disables it on its own.
Everybody is fighting for Flash to go away, and indeed it will. Flash has been a security problem forever, and it is long past time that it was replaced.

That said, when Firefox tells you that Flash is not safe any longer, all that is needed is to update your Linux Mint and all should be right again. :D

Cheers
 

atanere

Well-Known Member
Credits
0
I have both a "re-installation disk", and the downloaded USB boot file "Windows Recovery".
Dell imprints the version and product key for the version of windows they install before shipment. Supposedly, a person can run either of the above boot sources and the factory installed version of Windows will be restored.
Ain't happenin'!
When I change the 1st Boot device to either the CD or the USB in CMOS, upon reboot the computer just sits there with a command screen and a flashing cursor.
Back to Windows 7.... have you tried the F12 key when starting the computer to access the boot menu? Of course you would need either the Dell DVD or USB (or both) installed when trying this. Failure to boot at this stage is not a Windows problem or a Linux problem.... it's either the BIOS itself or the DVD/USB media you're trying to use. Since you got Linux Mint successfully installed not long ago, it seems that the BIOS is okay and the stuff you got from Dell is suspect.

Cheers
 

[email protected]

New Member
Credits
0
I agree with everyone here... Windows 10 is an abomination. But still, if you're going to sell this computer to a stranger, then Windows 10 would be the preferred OS to help you sell it. Mainstream Microsoft support for Windows 7 ended 3 years ago, and extended support now has less than 2 years to go. Like you, Paul, I will keep Win7 running beyond it's end-of-life for myself... but I would not recommend others to do that. If I were selling or giving away a computer to friends/family, I would very strongly recommend Linux, and I would provide technical support to them as they learn to get away from Windows.
Haha! I wouldn't be much tech support for them, since I'm fumbling around with Linux myself!
Following @Condobloke's link from Linux took me to the same place as my link... probably a Microsoft re-direct. I'm guessing the link would have gone to the Media Creation Tool if I had been running Windows. I have used the MCT before, but just for fun I downloaded the full 64-bit Windows 10 v1709 .iso file (4.4 GB) and burned it to a DVD. It should work just as well with Rufus and a USB instead. I reset the BIOS/UEFI settings to default on a HP laptop (putting it back in UEFI w/Secure Boot enabled) and then did a clean install of Windows 10. I did not let it connect to a network in the beginning so Windows Update would not launch too quickly... but after the install completed I connected just long enough for Windows to "activate" with a digital license. No product key is needed because this computer had upgraded to Windows 10 (from 8) before and was previously activated.
The BIOS on the Dell is set to boot from a USB (via F12 one-time boot option).

Conrming that this laptop will activate Windows, if I were going to sell it I would go through the Windows 10 installation again, but I would power it down when Cortana comes to life and starts asking questions to get started. Then when a new owner starts the computer... they get to answer the questions to create a user name, connect to their home network, etc... just as if they had bought a new computer from a store. And you will have confidence that it will activate correctly having proved it already. It's a bit of a hassle to install Windows 10 twice, but I just did it myself and confirmed that this process works like I described.

Reason it might not activate: If you upgraded to Win 10 from a 32-bit version of Windows 7, then you may need to get the 32-bit version of Windows 10 for a proper match. I used 64-bit Windows 10 and had no problem, so I would guess that my previous Win 8 was also 64-bit. But back in Windows 7 days, it was very common to have a 32-bit copy of Windows even though the CPU was 64-bit... it was probably cheaper for the manufacturers. I'm not sure how the free upgrade to Win 10 looked at this situation. But I would go for 64-bit Win 10 first unless it proves not to activate on your computer... so that might mean a third time installing to learn if this is a problem.
The computer was updated from Win7 SP1 64-bit. As far as I know, the "upgrade" to Win10 was automatically selected as 64-bit. Pretty sure I confirmed this on several occasions, but my memory ain't what it used to be. I was just so P.O.'d at the whole Win10 experience I didn't get bogged down in details.

Cheers[/QUOTE]

UPDATE: I got the OS recovery tool loaded and working on my HP laptop to create a boot USB for the Dell. This was after I had to revert to an older version of .NET svcs. Turns out the program will create an .iso of my original OS when purchased. Yea! Wait...what? I needed to enter the Service Tag to get a device-specific .iso image from Dell. Humph! When I did, it tells me "no .iso file exists for this device"! Arrrggghhhh!

So it looks like I'm down to following all the advice here to re-install the dreaded Win10. Since the Dell had the Win10 upgrade, hopefully they won't want a service tag. They didn't want one when I upgraded, so who knows this time?

Thanks again for all the help, gang.
 

atanere

Well-Known Member
Credits
0
Bummer that the Dell .iso was no longer available. But if your original Dell re-install disk also won't work, that sure is limiting your options. The Windows 10 download should work, but as you already noted, it may not work well. You didn't say how much RAM you have in that box, but it may help tremendously if you can upgrade that at a modest cost.

Or you could put a fresh version of Linux on it and try to sell it that way too, but I'm just afraid it will limit your market too much. If your RAM is kind of low, some of the Linux distros can still work quite well... but Linux likes more RAM too if it can get it. :D

Good luck. We'll all try to help you along further if we can.

Cheers
 

[email protected]

New Member
Credits
0
Bummer that the Dell .iso was no longer available. But if your original Dell re-install disk also won't work, that sure is limiting your options. The Windows 10 download should work, but as you already noted, it may not work well. You didn't say how much RAM you have in that box, but it may help tremendously if you can upgrade that at a modest cost.

Or you could put a fresh version of Linux on it and try to sell it that way too, but I'm just afraid it will limit your market too much. If your RAM is kind of low, some of the Linux distros can still work quite well... but Linux likes more RAM too if it can get it. :D

Good luck. We'll all try to help you along further if we can.

Cheers
I appreciate it. The Dell has been upgraded to 6 Gb RAM, so that's not much of a problem. It can handle 8 Gb, but it's not worth adding any more. It ran Win10 just fine, but open 2-3 apps and it was running at 80%. Freakin' Win10 took up 1.6 Gigs just sitting there!
 



Top