Friday, May 25, 2012

You CAN download legal Windows 7 ISO images, it's just well hidden

UPDATE 2015-04-08: It looks like the ISOs are no longer available from DigitalRiver, or at least not at their old locations, since Windows 7 went EOL.

Yesterday I had a frustrating time after discovering that the one and only non-OEM-contaminated Win7Pro x64 disk I had was faulty - half way through a win7 reinstall. All I wanted was a download of replacement media, as I had a license already. This should've been simple, but no! Microsoft direct you to your OEM or retailer in all documentation on the topic, never even hinting that you can just download the ISOs without needing MSDN.

I even called Microsoft support, which is a mark of desperation if ever I saw one. They were as unhelpful as expected, patronisingly explaining that the license key is from a computer manufacturer so I have to contact them for replacement media. Even though I don't want the OEM's butchered Windows install media, I just want stock win7. I don't want the mangled Windows the OEM supplies, and even if I did they'd only post it to me not offer a download. They also only supply service pack 0, and I needed SP1-integrated ISOs.

I have a license to the product. You can't use the media without a license. The media have no copy protection so it's not like they particularly try to prevent their copying/distribution. Yet the official story is that you just can't download it unless you've bought an new license to a retail version online through Microsoft Store. Pathetic.

After too long digging around the net I found out that, yes, you can just download the ISOs after all. Microsoft just apparently don't admit it or talk about it. That's customer-hostile even for them. Go here:


... to get service pack 1 ISOs. Legally, from Digital River, MS's online/digital distributor. Yes, that means you must have a valid license and key to use them, as normal.

They even provide SHA1 checksums, which NOBODY seems to publish for Windows ISOs or pretty much anything else in the Windows world.

  • Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x86 SHA1:
  • Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (SP1-U Media Refresh) x86 SHA1:
  • Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64 SHA1:
  • Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (SP1-U Media Refresh) x64 SHA1:

I've verified the x64 SP1-U checksum to match what I downloaded from Digital River. I haven't checked the others.


  1. Thank you very much this information was very useful to my need to reinstall windows 7 home premium on my laptop.

  2. Okay, I'd feel a lot better about being able to confirm your assertions if the SHA1 checksums came from MSDN rather than from the same source which provides the ISOs in question in the first place. Is that out there, anyone?

  3. My understanding is that Digital River = Microsoft

    Digital River IS the Microsoft official channel for e-distros - if you buy from Microsoft online your download source is Digital River. Ergo no problem of questionable source since its the proverbial horse's mouth, not third party.

  4. Click Details to see the SHA1 hash. It matches those in the links.,x64&ProductFamilyIds=350&FileExtensions=.iso&PageSize=10&PageIndex=0&FileId=0

  5. can i use this type of professional iso for my valid OEM key from lenovo. pls reply soon.

    1. Presuming that your OEM key is also for Win7 Pro then you usually can, yes. I cannot stand vendor supplied Windows installs, so the first thing I do is clean-install a system with stock Windows.

      Use of OEM license codes with stock Windows images often triggers the awful validation check. This requires you to do automated phone verification, so you waste some time typing numeric codes into a phone. Once that's dealt with it's over and done with, though.


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