Whilst driving around the internet (and these forums), I have seen many many questions about the phasing out of the release candidate of Windows 7 (RC) and also the recent KB killing activation for many users of various cracks and patches. The aim of this guide is to provide as much information as possible with regards to fixing non genuine installs of Windows 7 and also to provide advice to those carrying out fresh installs of the operating system.
Removing your current crack / activation method:
The majority of users (that I have noticed) either use, or recommend the BIE releases for Windows 7 installs. Whilst this used to be a winning option for many users, recently a lot of people who had installed these releases are noticing that the recent WAT KB has killed activation on their machines. Why it works for some and not others is not known. Its just fact.
In the BIE directory on their DVDs you will see a file that will allow you to uninstall the activation method they employ. If you are already ungenuine then go and run it now. It will undo the actions taken by their activation installer which is run at first-run automatically.
For other cracks you have applied then go and seek the information required to reverse its changes from the crack creator or perform a fresh install.
Once you have removed your current crack then I strongly encourage you to rearm, this will set your unactivated install back to the full 30 days grace period. Note: this action is carried out automatically by the recent versions of RemoveWAT. To rearm manually, use an elevated command prompt (run as administrator) and enter "slmgr.vbs –rearm" without the quotes and reboot once its done. You can now proceed to use your new crack, see below.
If you are going to be formatting and installing then I will always recommend that you use the official Microsoft ISO. That way there isn't going to be any issues with modified files. This is particularly pertinent as we are aiming to install and activate (and fully update) with no problems. By using an altered ISO, all you can hope to achieve is to add confusion into the mix when it comes to troubleshooting (if required) later on.
The MD5 hashes of the official ISOs are as follows, you can google any one of the hashes to find a torrent for the ISO.
Windows 7 32 Bit
Windows 7 64 Bit
Applying the crack:
So you now either have a fresh install of Windows 7 or have a previously ungenuine version which you have removed the crack (and rearmed). Next is to decide which crack you are going to apply. I strongly recommend that you fully update Windows 7 via Windows Update and then install the loader created by Daz. To find a legitimate version of the loader, (fakes are usually viruses and since I cant link directly from here) then google "Program based Windows 7 loader" and you will find an official thread which Daz posts in at the top link. Currently the latest version is 1.7.7r and has no issues other than with certain Dell bioses. I have installed this way on a number of Dell machines and never encountered this issue but some have. If in doubt then try the loader first and if it doesn't work then you can try other methods. For problematic bioses you will likely want to use RemoveWAT which can be found at the same forum. Should you have installed the loader by Daz and find that you cannot boot then simply boot from your official ISO and repair the boot process from the DVD, its all automated and requires a couple of mouse clicks only.
So success, you now have a full updated and "genuine" version of Windows 7, congratulations. Its worth mentioning at this point that if you had an install previously flagged as ungenuine and you have removed the crack / rearmed etc then you *may* need to visit the Microsoft Validation website to revalidate. This can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/quick-start/genuine-validation.aspx