Solved Recover previous OS on refurbished dell.

February 21, 2014 at 15:46:31
Specs: Windows 8
I bought a refurbished Dell Latitude D520 a year ago. The seller had Windows 7 Ultimate OS, I had a problem and my husband installed a Windows 8 preview OS version on it. I don't like Windows 8 and want to restore to the Windows 7 version. I don't have the discs for the computer. Is this possible, if so, how?

message edited by lawandatc

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February 21, 2014 at 16:50:26
It seemsthis model Latitude - D520 - was originally shipped with XP, if one reads the user manual for it?

Copy of the manual can be found here:

Page 75 is the start of recovery options.

If win 7 was installed over it.. then likely the recovery partion may have been lost in the process - but maybe not. Changing to win 8 may likewise have obliterated that partition, and maybe not. It depends on how both OS were installed.

If you can examine the hard drive via drive manager (or whatever it's called in win 8) it may be possible to see that recovery partition if it's still there. Typically on systems of that generation the partition was phyisically at the start of the hard drive, and had name like PQ someting or other. It is also not a very large partition.

You may be able to chat up Dell and see if they can provide a suitable recivery OS disk. Worth a try, and press for a win 7 set?

Failing which... It is possible to buy OEM win 7 disks on Amazon, eBay, and some clearance house/computer fairs. These will not be transferable to another computer in the future. Once activated an OEM disk is tied thevsystem with which it was activated.

There are Dell badged OEM disks around... And also others that are not badged to any particular brand.

You might however find that win 8.1 is better than win 8; as therebhave apparently been some tweaks and changes which have made it a little more like win 7. So pethaps consider that option too? I think the upgrade to win 8.1 is free?

Therevalso non Dell supplied recovery disks for XP, Win 7 etc. for a few $$$ but likely more than Dell might provide. Probably similar in cost to OEM disks... But if they are Dell d520 specific they will also have all drivers too. Although one can find the drivers onself quite easily...

message edited by trvlr

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February 22, 2014 at 01:56:16
It's an old laptop (2006).
Were you given (or is there a label attached) a genuine Win7 product key with the laptop? If so, then rejoice!
However, unless a previous owner had splashed out lots of $'s for a Windows 7 upgrade with valid key, this could well have been an illegal/pirated copy (lots of them about - though bear in mind, I'm a naturally suspicious person).

If there is a manufacturer's restore partition still present on the hard drive, this will only allow you to restore it to XP. or at a push, Vista, (if this was ever an option on this model).

It's possible to locate and download an ISO of Win7 from Microsoft and burn it to CD, as an install disc, but without a genuine/legal Win7 product key you wont be able to register it.

Hopefully you have a genuine W7 key, but a worst case scenario is stick with what you have or purchase a genuine copy of Win7. You may be able to purchase an OEM version on eBay for around £50.00 (0r local currency equivalent)

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February 22, 2014 at 05:49:34
✔ Best Answer
If you have a legit product key, you can download the ISO to create a Win7 Ultimate disc using the following links, then use the disc to reinstall from scratch. You didn't say whether it's 32-bit or 64-bit, so here's both:

Direct download - Win7 Ultimate 32Bit SP1

Direct download - Win7 Ultimate 64Bit SP1

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February 22, 2014 at 13:07:31
Without having examined the gory details, as a generality pushing an XP era computer beyond Windows 7 was probably courting disaster hardware-wise. Windows 8 or 8.1 is much better on a modern machine and likely to crawl on an old one.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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February 22, 2014 at 13:37:21
My elderly Aspire 1692wlmi (vintage 2005) will run Win-7; but that's as far as it will go - barring Linux variants…

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February 22, 2014 at 14:32:11
Yes, I think it's because operating systems are written around the hardware that is current at that time. In the case of Vista they probably assumed a high end computer too. Vista worked surprisingly well once the hardware caught up with it.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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February 22, 2014 at 15:01:18
Guess it means my olde vanilla 386 systems, and my Dell USA Dimension (Pentium) x86 whatever from 1998 has gone as far as it will. It has all of '95OSR2, '98SE, NT4 WkStn/Svr, W2K-Pro and XP-Pro "running" - and it has DOS to start it off too…

The don't build 'em like they used to...

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February 22, 2014 at 15:21:10
I wonder if the buyer was aware of the age of the laptop when they bought it.
Maybe not so bad if was really cheap.
Folk buy in good faith, but I see loads of really old, low spec PCs advertised for ale with Win 7 installed. The inference being they are reasonably up to date, but some must be real slugs and I suspect many, if not all, are possibly running illegal, pirated versions of Win7.

That said, the laptop described here may actually make a reasonable stab at running Win7 - although without the eye candy.
The processor is a Core 2 Duo T5500 / 1.66 GHz. These are decent performers and way better than any single-core CPU of whatever speed. These even run with a 64-bit OS.
It would only need a decent RAM upgrade to give it a reasonable boost.

I've actually got a similarly aged Toshiba laptop here with the same CPU and 2GB RAM. It runs Win7 pretty well.
Obtaining drivers is rarely problematic. Win7's own driver cache & and Win Update do a pretty good job at installing the basics. Any missing drivers can usually be worked around pretty easily.

Maybe that's why I like Win7 so much. I've used it since day-1. To my mind it's the best Version of Windows to date. It's way ahead of XP. In fact I wont miss XP in the least.
A pity Win 8 turned out to be such a dog, but that's as much the fault of the market and the shift to tablets and smart phones.
The fact is, there's a dramatic decline in PC use. As such Microsoft couldn't win and Win8 was always going to be a compromise.

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February 22, 2014 at 18:21:56
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions, maybe one will be the right solution.

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February 23, 2014 at 04:03:06
M$ have made available win 7 discs described as Refurbished... What they mean is that these are normally used to install on an older computer - and sold with that system. They are OEM and have their appropriate key as well. They are out there on eBay, I think Amazon too; and at computer fairs. Technically meant to be used by those small outfits refurbishing older kit... They are nonetheless legal to use... As you are after all you're refurbishing a system...

They have a black on white M$ label.

Cost is again in the region of £45.00 or local equivalent?

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