Where to Download Windows 7

How to Get Your Hands on a Windows 7 Download in ISO Format
Updated January 19, 2016.

There are many reasons you might want to download Windows 7. For example, if you need to install Windows 7 but you've lost your original setup disc, or it's damaged, downloading Windows 7 would get you out of that bind.

Computer makers also often don't include a Windows 7 DVD with new computers, complicating the process of a Windows 7 clean install and even some advanced troubleshooting that typically requires a Windows 7 disc.

You might also might want to download Windows 7 just to try out the operating system or to put it on a second computer at home. Windows can be expensive so finding a place to download Windows 7 for free is an enticing thought. Pretty much everything is available on the Internet for free, right?

Where Can I Download Windows 7?

There are several places to download Windows 7 online but most of them are somewhere between "maybe okay" and "completely illegal." Windows 7 has been legitimately distributed online in the past, but it was never free.

UPDATE: Windows 10 is now available and is a free upgrade for most Windows 7 users.

See Where Can I Download Windows 10? for help on what to do next if you're interested in updating.

It's important to realize that in many ways, what you actually pay for when you legally purchase a copy of Windows 7 is the product key, sometimes referred to as a CD key or key code, or incorrectly as the serial number. This unique number is required to be able to fully use Windows 7.

So even if you did download Windows 7 without paying for it, you would still need a valid Windows 7 product key.

Download Windows 7 the 100% Legal Way

Without question, the best way to download Windows 7 is via Microsoft's Download Windows 7 Disc Images (ISO Files) page. This is the official way to get your Windows 7 ISO image. Here's how to do it:

  1. Visit Download Windows 7 Disc Images (ISO Files) [Microsoft.com]

    Important: This process will only work if you have a retail license of Windows 7. This will probably be the case if you bought Windows 7 yourself, or a smaller computer company installed it for you as part of your custom PC purchase. If Windows 7 came preinstalled with your major-brand PC, you probably have an OEM license and you'll need to try some of the ideas below this one.
  1. Enter your valid Windows 7 product key and verify it with Microsoft.

    Tip: Don't have your product key anymore? So long as Windows 7 is still installed somewhere, you may be able to extract it. See How To Find Your Windows 7 Product Key for some help.
  2. Download the Windows 7 ISO image to your computer.
  3. What you do with that Windows 7 ISO file next depends on how you plan on installing Windows 7:

    Install From Disc: Take that Windows 7 ISO and burn it to an empty DVD disc. See How to Burn an ISO Image File to a DVD for help.

    Install From USB: "Burn" the ISO image to a flash drive. See How to Install Windows 7 From USB for a complete tutorial. See How to Burn an ISO File to a USB Drive for an alternative method.
  4. Install Windows 7 next, or use this flash drive or disc for diagnostics... whatever you were after the Windows 7 download for in the first place.

If this Microsoft resource doesn't work out for you, you may need to request a replacement in a different way. Keep reading for that and several more ideas.

No Windows 7 Key? Here's Your Other Option

There's one way to download Windows 7 legally, without ever having to have purchased a copy or have a valid product key, but it has a caveat that you're probably not going to like.

You can download Windows 7 for "free" as part of your paid MSDN Subscription. This professional subscription by Microsoft grants you access to Windows 7 downloads and product keys, as well as downloads and keys for most of the software Microsoft produces. Unless you're a software programmer or IT professional, this very expensive subscription program is almost certainly not worth the money.

Note: Prior to late 2012, Windows 7 was available for individuals to purchase and download directly from the Microsoft Store. While this is still an option for Windows 10, it is, unfortunately, no longer possible for Windows 7. A 90-day trial version of Windows 7 Enterprise used to be an option until 2015 but that's also no longer available, replaced with the Windows 10 equivalent.

Of course if downloading Windows 7 isn't necessary in your situation, your other option is to purchase a copy of Window 7 on DVD. Microsoft no longer sells Windows 7 directly, but you might still find copies of Windows 7 available at Amazon or from an electronic retailer like NewEgg, so shopping around for the best price is a good idea.

Note: If you have a Windows 7 disc, and are only trying to download Windows 7 because you need to install it on your computer which does not have an optical drive, there is a way to get the installation files from your DVD onto a flash drive. See How To Install Windows 7 From USB for instructions.

The [Now Defunct] "Digital River" Method

Back when Windows 7 was available for purchase and download through the Microsoft Store, Microsoft used a company by the name of Digital River to provide the Windows 7 ISO images.

For a very long time, those Windows 7 ISO files were on a public, unsecured server and could be downloaded without showing any proof of purchase. This might have been be a long-running mistake on the part of Digital River, or perhaps Microsoft simply didn't mind considering the fact that you need a valid product key to use Windows 7 for more than 30 days anyway.

Regardless of how or why they existed so long, they've all been removed as of February, 2015. If you have a valid Windows 7 product key, visit Microsoft Software Recovery. If you don't, you'll need to purchase an MSDN subscription, or, most likely, just purchase Windows 7 outright.

Beware of Other Windows 7 Downloads

Any other "free" Windows 7 download you come across online is most certainly illegal, including Windows 7 ISO files obtained via torrents or directly from other websites or servers. Aside from legal issues, these Windows 7 downloads, unlike the official replacement ISO image from Microsoft, run the risk of being something other than advertised.

For example, many Windows 7 images available on torrent sites and from other unofficial sources are "cracked" versions of Windows 7, meaning they've been modified for various reasons... and may also include built-in malware. Best to avoid a situation like that.

Don't Want to Download Windows 7? Replace the Disc

A final option for those of you with broken or lost Windows 7 discs that don't want to download an official ISO image is to try to get a replacement Windows 7 disc instead.

If Windows 7 came preinstalled on your computer (i.e. you have an OEM (not retail) license), and you did have a disc but it's now lost or damaged, contact your computer maker for a replacement. Depending on your computer maker's policy, the replacement Windows 7 media may be free or you may be charged a small fee.

If you're in a similar situation with a Windows 7 disc but you purchased a retail copy of Windows 7 on DVD, you can contact the Microsoft Supplemental Parts team and request a replacement. You can find their contact information here.

Finally, while not a replacement for Windows 7, you should know that it's possible to create a system repair disc for Windows 7 from any other Windows 7 computer, including a friend's, for just the cost of a blank CD. That disc can be used to perform all the diagnostic and repair functions that a full Windows 7 setup DVD can. See How To Create a Windows 7 System Repair Disc for instructions.

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Top Tech Growth CEOs to Take Main Stage at Capital Connection 2013 | Capital Connection
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In the News


Showcase Event to Spotlight 15 Market-Making Technology Businesses

Capital Connection 2013

Today, MAVA announced the fifteen companies selected to take the Main Stage of this year’s Capital Connection 2013 conference. Each year, Capital Connection brings together leading investors and top performing technology executives for an intense series of company presentations showcasing technology companies at all stages of development, along with high-level CEO addresses, thought-leading keynotes, and networking sessions.

Capital Connection 2013 will shine a spotlight on a number of dynamically changing industries – including education technology, mobility and the intersection of Big Data with health IT - emphasizing a broad array of industry sectors that are growing exponentially throughout the global market and where the Mid-Atlantic tech community brings particular strength and unique expertise. This year’s conference takes place June 5-6 at the Mead Center for American Theater, home to Arena Stage, in Washington, DC.

The newly announced Main Stage companies are quite diverse, with many having already established themselves as market leaders, on a phenomenal growth trajectory. Others are now poised for an inflection point in their growth, either through a major breakthrough in their market position or by raising new capital. All represent leading indicators of technology trends in key sectors. These companies will share their stories at one of the industry’s most respected gatherings of technology companies and on the largest tech/invest platform of its kind on the East Coast, with an eye toward national and international reach for their message and their products.

“These Main Stage presenters are at the heart of Capital Connection and represent leaders in their individual fields, often sought out by policy makers and thought leaders for their insight into the tech market. They are bringing innovative products to the commercial market, and for many, are well on their way to being dominant industry leaders. Those seeking financing represent attractive investment opportunities across sectors. When I look at these companies collectively, I am struck by the wealth of ground-breaking technology and business acumen fueling this strong technology sector,” said Julia Spicer, Executive Director of MAVA.

The featured Main Stage program will showcase the following companies:

  • 9Lenses is a leading provider of Social Enterprise Performance Software, and delivers a breakthrough insight platform for the most critical resource in our business – our customers.
  • AnyPresence is a mobile development platform that dramatically reduces the time and cost of mobile-enabling enterprise business processes, products, and services.
  • Arxan Technologies provides Mobile Application Integrity Protection™  which delivers self-defense and tamper-resistance attributes for mobile apps. This multi-OS platform ensures the integrity of apps are not compromised via hacking attacks or malware exploits, which can result in fraud, data compromise, IP theft, and brand damage.
  • ControlScan delivers innovative payment security and compliance solutions to payment service providers and the merchants they serve.
  • Decision Lens is a cloud-based prioritization and resource allocation software. It provides a solution to organizations’ critical resource allocation decision-making processes.
  • Fixmo is a mobile risk management (MRM) company that helps organizations identify, mitigate and manage the risks associated with mobile devices in the workplace.
  • Geostellar scales energy sales. Through a simple “Search, Shop, Share” process, homeowners and commercial property managers can go solar, change their electricity providers and acquire energy efficient upgrades.
  • Invertix addresses complex research and development, engineering and mission support challenges in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; enterprise information technology; and communications mission systems.
  • Invincea delivers the first and only virtualized browser, PDF reader, Office suite, .zip and .exe solutions that seamlessly run in their own virtual environments separate from the desktop operating system to protect users against all types of malware threat.
  • Kaltura provides the world's first and only Open Source Online Video Platform.
  • Lotame empowers innovative publishers, agencies, and brands to unlock the full value of their audience data with our unifying data management platform, Crowd Control.
  • Notable Solutions Inc’s flagship product, AutoStore, captures paper and electronic documents from a copier, scanner, or printer, then routes the information into the appropriate business system based on the document type.
  • Orchestro powers demand execution for consumer-driven supply chains. Its adaptive analytics engine (Maestro™) makes sense of tens of thousands of real-time data feeds daily, across point-of-sale (POS), consumer sentiment and operational data.
  • Univa unifies Big Compute and Big Data workload management by making it easy to fully leverage shared cluster resources with innovations like Hadoop support, multi-core systems, hybrid servers and cloud computing – ensuring organizations are future-proofed today.
  • Video Blocks is a subscription-based website that provides members with unlimited downloads of stock video, motion backgrounds, production music, sound effects, special effects, After Effects templates and much more.

As the premier forum for technology companies on the East Coast, Capital Connection™ sets the standard for early stage, expansion and growth companies to present their business models and their potential for accelerated growth to a broad audience of investors, advisors, strategic partners and peers across all stages and sectors.

A non-profit member-owned organization with deep roots in the technology community, MAVA brings together company-builders from across the country and at every stage of development, and provides a trusted public showcase to promote these enterprises, from promising start-ups to publicly-traded success stories.

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