Hi all,

I am wondering how computer shops deal with installing Windows multiple times. I understand shops can buy OEM packs for installing and setting up new machines but the scenario I am most curious about is when a customer brings in their machine to be fixed. Many times they do not have a Windows disk. They only have their product Key. I would imagine a computer shop must have to assemble a collection of every version of XP, Vista and 7 so that they can re-install customer machines that only have a Key. If this is the case, how do the shops get this generic set of all the Windows versions?

Also, what about the difference between customers who have an OEM version installed or retail? Would the shop need separate disks for that?


5 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by Reverend Jim

First thing, genuine shops will have their on copy to install, there are all in one versions (Home premium to Ultimate) of windows available. Just install the one as same with the user then enter the user's key.

next, most of the time, they install a pirated version of windows & user is happy since it worked out.......

No discussion on pirated system is allowed here......So that the it, it stops here.


They may also restore from the restore/recovery partition, which most OEM systems have installed on them. I've done that for my clients except in cases where the recovery partition was infected with a virus.


Computer stores generally have an image for each flavour of computer and OS. When one of their computers comes back into the shop, all the tech has to do is select the disk that matches that computer/OS and do a restore of the image. All the tech has to do is boot, then start the restore.

Under Windows XP (perhaps this is also true for Windows 7), it was possible to build a sysprep disk which consisted of an almost configured XP system. This could be applied to a variety of PCs with different hardware configurations. The process is a little more costly in terms of time and hands-on work, but still faster than a complete install.


Hi, My name is Dan Watt. I have a computer repair shop located in Phoenix, Arizona.
What your missing (point of view survival) is a chance to attract a new customer.
First of all, I support Microsoft in the same way Microsoft supports me. I would never attempt to install any program or op that was not currently being supported by the producer or has not contributed to all the work effort and people involved. Windows xp is no longer supported by Microsoft. It's DONE. If you think you can cash in on this by taking over the support function, your restricting the customer from enjoying the same level of resources as his competitor. If your influencing the decision maker on the best path to take.. your giving the professionals a bad name.
Offer the poor trusting soul a new in the box paid for and supported solution like .. Windows 7!! But hurry Windows 8 is soon to come. and you need to continue your education.
Do the right thing or do nothing.
Daniel M. Watt "Just Fix It" Computer Resource Centers

Edited by Ezzaral: Snipped email. Please keep it on site.


To Dan:

The OP merely asked how computer shops install or reinstall Windows (of various flavours). It seems to me that by offering more than just the latest and greatest version of an OS (Windows/Linux/whatever) they WILL attract customers. In my former life (pre-retirement) I was frequently called upon to support applications that would not run on the "latest and greatest". Believe it or not, in 2008 I was still providing support on a custom app that would not run on anything newer than Windows 98. I, myself, have a piece of hardware (Plextor TV tuner) that will run only under Windows XP. As such, I plan to keep my old IBM ThinkPad (XP Pro) running for as long as I possibly can.

That doesn't prevent me from moving along with the tide into the era of Windows 7. That also does not mean that users who choose, for whatever reason, to remain with Windows XP should be left high and dry. Any computer shop that followed your reasoning would, in my opinion, LOSE customers. The way to attract customers, especially in this economy is to provide BETTER service than your competitors.

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