SOLVED Busted hard drive. Need to buy Windows 10, or not?


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My Acer Aspire desktop computer was specifically made with Windows 7 installed. I did the free upgrade to Windows 10. My hard drive then stopped spinning, so I have to get a new one. I have recovery discs for both Windows 10 and Windows 7. Am I correct to believe that neither of those will now work with a new hard drive and that I must get a new version of Windows? If so, does anyone know how much longer Windows 7 will be updating security features like Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Update? I heard a rumour that both were going to be stopped soon for Windows 7. If I have to buy a new OS I would prefer Windows 7 but if it won't be worth my money I will get Windows 10.
 
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Noob Whisperer
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Hello and welcome to the forum.
Not sure what you mean by "recovery disks" but generally I would expect either or both to still work (assuming they ever would have in the first place).
IF you had Windows 10 installed and activated then you can reinstall it any time you want. Replacing the bad hard drive with a new one does not impact your ability to do so.
IF your computer came with Windows 7 and you have the product key then you should be able to re-install that as well without any issues on the same computer.
AS far as Windows 7 SP1 support is concerned I believe it's still good until 2020
https://blogs.windows.com/itpro/2013/02/14/windows-7-rtm-end-of-support-is-right-around-the-corner/#3r82yU0bZKs206cq.97
 
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When a new system is installed with Windows on board ready to go, then recovery discs are made by the end user in case that system has a problem and later needs a new install. As far as I'm aware, it is now less common to actually buy a printed copy of Windows separate from the computer. Or at least it was until Windows 10. Is there something embedded into the Windows 10 recovery (I believe they are also called repair discs) cds that tells the system it is a valid copy? No product key came with my system.
 
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Noob Whisperer
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When a new system is installed with Windows on board ready to go, then recovery discs are made by the end user in case that system has a problem and later needs a new install.
OK..... now I'm thinking of a system manufacturer's prompt for you to make a set of DVDs, which takes you through a process of numbering and or labeling each in turn and at the end of the process you end up with a bunch of DVDs (half dozen or more). IS that what you have?
I would expect them, as I mentioned above, to still work although I can't be certain that Disc #1 of that set would be bootable. Hopefully it is and you could start the Factory OOBE installation from that first DVD.

There is going to be some confusion as backing up your computer (the operating system, all files and folders, etc.,) is fraught with overlapping terminology.
Typically a "Recovery" and or "Repair" disc is a single DVD or USB thumb drive, from which you can load the windows "Recovery Environment" and from there use some basic utilities built into that environment to attempt some rudimentary repairs. In most case, Installation Media can be used for that as well, but..... for the most part none of those will actually provide a full recovery of your Operating System or your data, unless at a point in the process you chose to include the "System Image", as part of the process....
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17127/windows-back-up-restore

To further confuse the discussion, many OEMs provide a "Factory Restore" patition in a protected area of the disk drive and a method of evoking that utility at startup with a keyboard combination.
With your original hard disk out of the picture, that option is likely no longer available to you, although you might contact the OEM and they could provide installation media for your particular computer, either free or at a nominal cost.

I suppose, going forward, it would be nice to know, what you have in hand?
Have you attempted to use it as boot media?
AND
IF so, what does it provide in the way of options to proceed?

As I mentioned above you can re-install Windows 10 by obtaining the latest ISO from here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO/?tduid=(3d3a835c62d275ae770225c6aa1c4972)(256380)(2459594)(TnL5HPStwNw-WaTVja5C7z2Vs7q82apCPg)()

Choose Windows 10, the first item in the first drop down (not single language at the bottom) * see note at bottom.
Next choose your language and your bit version (32 or 64 bit to match your system architecture or in the case of an upgrade, to match your currently installed version of Windows).
That will provide an ISO that will boot, upgrade, repair (or clean install) either or both Windows 10 Pro and Home.
*NOTE: In some cases, we've learned that some people have the "Single Language" version installed. In which case you would need that download. It's important that you match the ISO version that you download with your installation.

Once you have downloaded the ISO you can use ImgBurn to burn it to a DVD http://imgburn.com/index.php?act=download
OR
Rufus to burn it to a USB ThumbDrive http://rufus.akeo.ie/
To create the installation media on the medium of your choice.
 
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Thanks for all of your help. Your first paragraph is correct. So the discs I have are called Factory OOBE (Out of box experience)? It did have a factory restore partition. I did attempt a restore that way but I believe the hd broke because I had gotten malware a few times over the years. I was trying to fix bad sectors and that failed. Windows 10 is no longer free. So it might be easier if I just buy a physical copy of it rather than buy the digital version.
 

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Noob Whisperer
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I was under the impression that you had, had Windows 10 installed on your computer at some point and it had been activated for some period of time.
IF that is the case, then Windows 10 is always available to you, on that computer, to reinstall for free, any time you'd like to do so.
 
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Yes, that's the case. So does the Windows 10 install file have something embedded in it that recognizes my computers serial number or something? I'd like to understand how this works. I can just use a friends computer to burn that to DVDs, then pop it into my computer once I have the new hd installed? I'm a bit confused about the thumb drive bit as I thought those were for storage instead of permanent "burning" like DVDs.
 

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In the case where Windows 10 has been installed and activated..... Microsoft keeps that record, which associated to that specific computer with certain identifying hardware descriptors.
As far as using a ThumbDrive as installation media..... I prefer it to a DVD as it seems to be a little quicker and there is nothing mechanical involved, nothing spinning.
AND
It many case now..... a lot of computers do not even come with optical drives in place.
 
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How big of a thumb drive is required? Windows 10 took 5 DVDs to make my OOBE type upgrade from 7.
 

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Noob Whisperer
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Used to be 4 gigs was pretty much all you needed, but now I think 8 gigs would be the minimum.
I haven't tried it on a 4 gig in a long time and they don't format out, at a full 4 gigs and the 64bit ISO is 4.3 gigs.
But a normal 4.7 gig DVD is sufficient, I just burnt one the other day to have around just in case.
 

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Noob Whisperer
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No problem. Hope all goes well.
Good luck and keep us posted.
 
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Actually I have another question. Is a 1TB drive big enough for Windows 10, or would that put me in the red?
 

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Noob Whisperer
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A 1 terabyte hard drive is plenty big enough for Windows 10.
The OS will only consume a very small fraction of that.
Your concern is with the number of programs you intend to install and the amount of data you intend to store on it
AND
Then..... how you intend to back it up.
 
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I got a new drive and the computer does not recognize any boot device even though I switched it to boot from the dvd which I had burned the Windows 10 ISO onto. I tried installing an old OS - Windows 7 Professional and it can't find the hd or drivers....Any ideas what could be wrong?
 
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No. Is that the only program that works to burn Windows 10? I thought you only posted that for anyone who doesn't know how to burn a dvd. I have been googling what to do and it may be that I need to switch from EFI to Legacy boot. I know how to get into the bios but am still trying to figure out how to do this on my particular Acer Aspire...
 
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Ok I googled it and I didn't know that it was different when burning an ISO. I'll redo it, properly. However, I'm still hoping someone somewhere can explain how to change my bios to legacy...
 

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It's not so much about "burning" as it is using a program that is designed to convert an ISO into bootable media and not just burn the ISO to DVD. The ISO itself is not bootable.
 
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Noob Whisperer
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AND...... you shouldn't need to switch to legacy.
There are some reasonably new PCs especially laptops, that do not support switching to legacy nor disabling secure boot.
 

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