This article gives you the information you need to download a clean copy of Windows from Microsoft. All you need is a valid product key.
How to Get Your Product Key
If you don’t have your product key handy, you can get it from your currently installed copy of Windows using either this tool or this tool. I’ve tested both with Windows 7 and they work well.
Why You Might Want to Do This
There are a number of reasons you might want to download a clean copy of Windows and install it over your current version. All you need is a valid product key for the version you want.
One good reason to do this is to replace your crapware burdened laptop or desktop from Dell, HP, … with a fresh and clean one with just the Microsoft components. You’ll need to install the drivers for your PC, but this is usually pretty easy if you have any experience with Windows, or know a friend who does … 🙂 … Major companies like Dell and HP usually have a page that tells you what drivers you need for your exact model and has links to download them.
Warning About Malware Disguised as Helper Tools
Just a heads-up. If you decide to install a clean version of Windows, do not download a driver installer type program from anywhere but your computer’s manufacturer. Some of those “tools” are really malware installers and will install all sorts of unwanted software on your PC. A colleague at work took her laptop home to install a workstation image I gave her and brought it back full of malware. Rather than worry about how this happened, I just wiped the disk and installed the image and drivers she needed. I’m 95% certain she installed a “helper” tool to get the drivers she needed. It helped her all right … 😉
Another Option for Removing Crapware That Comes with New PCs
Note that if you just want to remove the crapware that often comes with new PCs, there are free tools that make this pretty easy, such as The PC Decrapifier. I’ve used this and it works well. I still prefer a new, clean Windows installation but using a tool to remove a small amount of crapware is much easier and requires very little PC knowledge.
If you have any questions, just ask in the comments!