Wiping hard drive without getting rid of Windows

I'm currently running Windows 10 on one of my machines. I have 2 hard drives in it, both of them storing data to be used on Windows 10. I want to wipe both hard drives and dual boot Ubuntu or Mint (so, basically, Windows and windows stuff on one drive, Linux and linux stuff on the other hard drive).

However, I lost my Windows 7 disk and cannot find it, so I cannot just simply reinstall Windows. Is there a way to wipe out everything on my hard drives EXCEPT for Windows 10?

Use a software to make a disk image that gives you the option to image just the Windows installation, format the disk and than write back the image you created before on the disk. I think you can get your hands on a Windows 7 copy from torrent and than just activate it with the current product key you have. There's a command in Windows (don't rememeber it atm) that let's you extract the license key from the installation you're running right now. Also you can get an official W10 iso direclty from Microsoft and do a clean installation with the product key extracted like I said before.

1 Like

If you need to recover your product key off Windows, you can use Belarc Advisor (Link to official site). It's a small program that gathers pretty-much everything about your PC and organizes it into an html file that is then saved onto your computer.

The html file opens automatically in your web-browser (Do not be concerned. It is reading the page off the html file, not the internet). In the section "Software Licenses" (towards the bottom) it lists all the product keys that your system currently has. They will be in hexadecimal and (if possible) the actual "key" in regular text format.

I often use this program to retrieve the product keys from systems that are beyond-saving and need a clean-install. However there are other possible uses for it too.

I hope this was helpful. Good luck!

Why don't ya just find windows covered in a bit of goo from a back alley?

What type of software would you recommend for that?

Acronis True Image is the best for managing disks outside of an OS.

Thanks, mate.

1 Like

Belarc is great, I stripped windows and office keys from a dozen old drives for re-use.

Welcome! I hope everything worked as intended.