There are times when you need a copy of Windows on hand to accomplish something. You might need to install a new Windows component, or boot to the OS disc to fix something gone haywire. Perhaps you've got a new computer and need to reinstall the operating system, or your sister broke hers - regardless of the reason, there is some good news. You can download a new ISO of the OS for free.
Microsoft operates an online store that sells pretty much every bit of their software that's still currently available. The store is managed by Digital River. Once you purchase a new software title, you're given a link to download the program, and pretty soon your'e off and running. The exciting bit, however, is that most of these programs have publicly available links.
Before you get too excited, however, you should be aware that you'll still need a license to run Windows 7 past its trial period. These links get you the software, but you'll still need to pony up (or otherwise acquire a code - like when you buy a new computer) and find a way to install the OS.
Many of the different language packs are available for download, but we'll only discuss the English language results today. When you click on a link to download, you'll get a file with a specific name that ends in .ISO. ISO is an image file, typically used for optical disks. If you currently use Windows 7, you'll likely be able to double-click on the ISO file and burn it directly to an empty DVD. Those of you running software such as Windows XP will have look to third-party tools.
Windows 7 Direct Download Links:
Windows 7 Home Premium x86
Although it isn't easy to boot Windows from a USB drive, it's possible to speed up your installation by starting on a DVD and then moving over to a speedier boot drive.
Check out our comments below for links to official Microsoft tools that make installing Windows with a USB drive easier than ever.
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