Windows 7 was released in October 2009 and supported by Microsoft for over 10 years, reaching End of Life in January 2020. As Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft it should be classified as insecure and unsafe to use online. You should consider using an alternative Operating System unless you require to use Windows 7 for a legacy purpose.
Following Windows Insider Feedback, Windows 7 OEM Product Keys work with Windows 10 Installation Media (Version 1511 and later) to facilitate a Free Upgrade.
Windows 7 systems with a Legacy BIOS (manufactured over 10 years ago in 2008-2011) may not run modern builds of Windows 10 very well. Windows 10 system requirements were elevated with Windows 10 Version 1803 to take advantage of newer hardware capabilities.
Windows 10 will reach End of Life in October 2025.
In October 2021, Microsoft released Windows 11. Microsoft aim to consolidate the Windows Userbase on a single 64 Bit Architecture and have dropped the 32 Bit Architecture which is rarely used these days and therefore wastes a lot of development time.
This new Windows Version has substantially elevated Windows 11 System Requirements, taking advantage of Security Technologies such as 2020 Patched Secure Boot and Trusted Platform Module. To get the most of Windows 11 you are recommended to use newer hardware.
All Dell systems sold with Windows 7 should have basic Linux Support. The Linux distribution with the most driver support is Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Many other Linux distributions are based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, most notably is Zorin OS 16 which has a Windows Like Desktop Environment. Linux is open source and freely available however you can optionally leave donations to Ubuntu or pay for a Professional version of Zorin OS.
Intel only provided driver support for systems manufactured with a 1st Generation Nehalem Processor (Q4 2008) through to systems with a 6th Generation Skylake Processor (Q2 2016). Dell driver support roughly mirrors Intel.
Driver installation order for Windows 7 was important and Driver Update Utilities for Windows 7 rarely worked due to the Windows 7 OS lacking inbuilt wireless or ethernet drivers for basic network connectivity.
For best results slipstream the Dell Command | Dell Deploy Windows 7 Driver Pack into the Windows 7 Installation Media.
Dell systems sold with 1st-3rd Generation Intel Processors are below Microsoft's minimum requirements for Windows 11.
Dell Systems with 4th-5th Generation Intel Processors satisfy the minimum requirements to run Windows 11 but are below the minimum recommended requirements. These systems are very likely to have impaired performance with Windows 11.
Dell Systems with 6th Generation Intel Processors have these Security Technologies and can run Windows 11 however are below Microsoft's recommended processor requirement for Windows 11 with Microsoft warning about possible impaired performance. Dell Command Update can be installed on Windows 11 to obtain all Dell Driver Updates relevant to the model.
Windows 7 Single Edition Single Language SP1 (Media Refresh 2011) Retail ISOs are no longer available to download from Microsoft. The software download page now gives details about Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration.
As Windows 7 has Reached End of Life, Microsoft have also removed most of Windows 7 Standalone Updates from their servers.
Microsoft did not provide updated Windows 7 installation ISOs which caused multiple installation failures on 2012-2016 computers due to a lack of basic driver support.
In January 2016, Dell released the Windows 7 Professional Skylake Reinstallation ISO. This ISO includes:
This ISO is downloadable on Dell Business Models with a UEFI BIOS (2012-2016 models) that either came with a Windows 7 Professional OEM License or a Windows 8/10 Professional OEM License with Downgrade Rights to Windows 7 Professional OEM. This can be accessed using the Dell OS Recovery Tool with a valid Dell Service Tag:
The Dell OS Recovery Tool normally creates a Bootable USB directly opposed to saving the ISO to file. It only unfortunately offers either a 64 Bit or 32 Bit ISO for each Service Tag. For more options you can use the Dell Option in the Windows ISO Download Tool. This will allow creation of a Bootable USB to work on older Computers with a Legacy BIOS for example or a means to slipstream the Dell Driver Pack or switch Edition:
Dell Driver Packs can be downloaded for Dell Business Models from Dell Drivers and Downloads:
Select Systems Managements under Category and find the Dell Command | Dell Deploy Windows 7 Driver Pack. This can be extracted with 7-Zip.
NTLite can be used to integrate drivers to a desired index of the install.wim (normally Windows 7 Professional):
Once the driver pack is integrated all system drivers will be preinstalled, giving out of the box driver support for your Dell Computer with Windows 7.
A Bootable USB can be made using Rufus.
For a 64 Bit Windows 7 Install on a UEFI Computer (2012-2016 Model), make sure a UEFI Boot is configured with Legacy ROMs Enabled and Secure Boot Disabled. Use Rufus to make a Bootable USB that uses the GPT Partition Scheme, a BIOS or UEFI Target System and the NTFS File system.
For a 32 Bit Windows 7 Install on a UEFI Computer (2012-2016 Model), make sure a Legacy Boot is configured with Legacy ROMs Enabled and Secure Boot Disabled. Use Rufus to make a Bootable USB that uses the MBR Partition Scheme, a BIOS or UEFI Target System and the NTFS File system.
For a Legacy Computer (2009-2011 Model). Use Rufus to make a Bootable USB that uses the MBR Partition Scheme, a BIOS or UEFI Target System and the NTFS File system.
October 2014 was the deadline for OEMs such as Dell to sell Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate preinstalled. Unfortunately this meant that Dell could not provide an up to date Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Ultimate ISO image. Officially these Editions are not supported and Windows 7 Professional should be the only Edition used for Legacy Purposes...
Unofficially the ISO provided by Dell is multi-edition and the edition can be switched by editing 2 files on the Dell Windows 7 Professional Bootable USB the EI.cfg file and the PID.txt file in the sources folder using notepad.
Change professional in the ei.cfg to:
Change 32KD2-K9CTF-M3DJT-4J3WC-733WD in the PID.txt to:
Note that the Generic OEM System Locked Preinstallation Product Keys above can only be used for activation using Dell OEM System locked Preinstallation on an eligible Dell System. The Dell UEFI BIOS or Dell Legacy BIOS must contain a Dell System License Internal Code of 2.1 and this combination will result in automatic offline product activation.
If the Generic OEM System Locked Preinstallation Product Keys are attempted to be used in any other scenario, product activation will fail.
The Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate Editions on the ISO do not contain the additional Windows Updates (up to January 2016) or additional driver support (USB 3, Storage Controllers and NVME hotfixes for up to 6th Generation Intel Skylake Hardware) added by Dell for Windows 7 Professional and are otherwise identical to Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 (Media Refresh 2011). You will need to integrate 2 Windows Updates and then integrate the Dell Driver Pack. The Hotfixes are the NVMe hotfixes and can be downloaded as part of the Gigabyte Windows Tool which can be extracted with 7zip to reveal the HotFixes.