I want to install my Operating System (OS) fresh . (100% HP centric)
You are here because you lost your OS, or the HDD is new in the box replaced, but in all cases, you tested the hard drive first using this page a a guide and the drive passes the LINUX tests there.
You are here because the HP magic F11 key is dead (Recovery) mostly due to once long ago or now the HDD is new or was replaced. (those acts erases the F11 magic)
If the PCs BIOS screens are all dead, hit the home button above and read about BIOS failures,  or about dead black screens  or a dead coin cell.

Some Jargon:                                            
                             MS = Microsoft (OS = Operating System) OEM = Original Equipment Manufacture.(in our case means HP) HDD = hard disk drive , COA means,Certificate of Authority.

I call a PC that someone used the wrong install media to install a NEW OS , slamming the HDD, this act erases all HP software making the magical HP F11 RECOVERY process fail forever. (it also kills the HP drivers)
The F11 magic keys birth date was the mighty year 2006.  (so dont look for it, 2002 to 2005 Compaq's) The early PC's used only HP (Compaq) media kit CD sets, to restore the OS.
At this point in time, the HDD is known to be good. (that means the S.M.A.R.T tests on it  pass too)

You are now hunting for an OS media installer kit. (note the order below!) If your PC is 10 years old or older HP has no support nor OS install media kits! Sorry support has ended.
Your PC has  COA sticker from MS /HP on the case and is useless if you lost your media kit long ago.  

One of the best places to ask for media, is from HP,  ask them on their forum as after all things can change, even 3rd party venders come and go, so ask.
  1. The HP F11 key, always works now,  unless the PC was SLAMMED?,  F11 pick recover , end story , great !
  2. OK F11 IS DOA , so the real HP official Media kit from HP. (is sold ) (10 year years old or newer PCs only) if no disks offered then we go to step 3.
  3. Or buy the disks at  MICROSOFT boxed media set or buy the new COA key from MS at MS  and then down load the ISO file  and make your own media MS media kit.
  4. This site is endorsed by WALMART and  others for media kits,  Trinity Supplies.( finding good respected sources is not easy)
  5. Or here at Computersurgeons.
  6. Go to some hackers site and buy some ISO's CD's or what ever.?  many are counterfeits, chock full of VIRUS. and have illegal COA keys or have none at all. (good luck doing this)
  7. Install Linux UBUNTU 17. Forget MS ever existed, many have. DOWNLOAD IT AND RUN IT FOR FREE; run the live demo"TRY" first to learn how well it works)
One can go to Ebay site to buy OS and buy older MS NOS boxes, New Old Stock, but make sure the box is un-opened and the COA inside already used by other, or it will never Activate your Windows license.
The PC you own has a  COA sticker  but only works on YOUR PC and with only your HP media install kit that is in most cases lost over 10 years ago, making the COA near useless, now.
What fails here, are DELL install media kits or CD's or Toshiba, Acer or the like, all those do not work on a HP at all, missing drivers and the OS will never activate (your HP COA will be no good)

On topic and releated are HDD inspection, you have already test the HDD and it passes all tests.
But We always look here PC year 2006 and newer for the HP magic Paritions.

Inspecting the partitions, is a wise first thing to do.
F11:  key (magic) uses the D: drive as seen below. (it is a partition containing the new OS installer from HP)

 If you PC had  a HDD changed out (was bad before today) or someone slammed your PC then the Recovery below will be missing.
This is W7 example and newer

Note XP did not have the HP_Tools , partition then.


2006 YEAR IS F11 first year up to todays PC:  (2002 to 2005 , did not have this magic key, eg: early Compaq's )
The new HP kid on the block, HP magic RECOVERY MODE:
F11 steps, including the HP famous HARD RESET first:  A wise move now on 5 or more year older PC is a new coin cell.
  1. If laptop(LT) remove all the huge batteries now,  most have 1, but mine has 2 (an option on many LT)
  2. AC power pack removed.
  3. Push power for 10 to 30 seconds, and release the button, this PC is now HARD reset.
  4. Put back the AC pack and leave the batteries out, like stated in step 1. (batteries love to short and that is a bad bad thing)
  5. We then power on AC power, and hammer the F11 key like wood pecker bird, and BAM, the MAGIC F11 recover mode wakes up. (but never on slammed PCs)
  6. If F11 works it seems I get blue screens and I pick Repair startup files, but this fails so I panic and run full recovery I pick that and the PC is not good as new. (day 1 new)
  7. If F11 is dead all ways from SUNDAY that means the PC was slammed.

F11 is a Virtual HP install CD media located on your brand new just bought  PC's hard drive. that is what it was. The BIOS knows where it is, and if you damage that linkage , F11 fails.
XP is now dead,  zero support.(for 3 years now)
Vista is now dead too, no support, spring 2017, MS pulled the plug, it is now DEAD.
W7 is good to go. Get W7 run that. (or W10)

Legacy MEDIA 101: Memory lane time. (all the below)
It is a fact CD's and DVD's are dead, new PC don't even have them now.  We use Thumb drives now.

Show and tell time.   ( a trip down memory lane... wow)
This is a REAL HP CD: In most cases this is just one disk in a set, unless it's a huge DVD.
HP began using their own disks starting in 2006 PC's.

Early PCs from HP had a real MS disk 2001 to 2005, and had, many disks to load Windows then load drivers and then to load HP APP.s.  This practice bundling (MS disk from HP) ended in the year 2006.
This is  an OEM disk, and will only work with your OEM license key, (COA tab number)
A real OEM disk from MS. (not sold in stores, it's not a Retail disk.)
The missing disk , many times is the HP drivers disk and HP applications. 

The Windows XP disks were sold from 2001 to 2009 (mostly ) 
June 30, 2008, is the end date for Windows XP retail sales and OEM support disks.
In all cases you need a real Activation code, still required in the year now, 2017 from Microsoft.  A retail COA code is needed. (unless using  OEM disk from HP)
Buzz words seen on media for OEM are re installation disk or for new PC only. 
(Retail disks install on any machine with your RETAIL COA KEY license)  No better license exists (home usage) Unless upgrading to PRO.
Learn that the activation codes for OEM very by PC maker and for RETAIL.
MS even checks your hardware to make sure the OEM disk matches your exact makers PC.  (checks BIOS serials  and other serial numbers inside your PC)
If say it saw a DELL BIOS , the setup aborts.
MS knows exactly what code you attempt to activate and what it was sold as new (OEM or Retail, Schools, or VLK, etc) (VLK means Volume License kits or a license or many school PC's for example)
This is a real Retail disk, sold in the real MS retail box. (last seen in 2009)
end real.(2002 example photo)

BOGUS DISKs, endless and now forever....and getting worse fast , I think MS no longer goes after XP counterfeiters,  but does mandate  good COA # and good activation still.
If smart buy a NOS, (new old stock) XP retail disk from say ebay, new in box , still sealed and COA is Virgin, if you must have XP this is the only safe way to get it. (and legal)

XP now has endless illegal disks, and ISO files sold illegally all over the world, in fact some 3rd world countries, still run 40% XP pirated copies. (USA is below 1% XP and falling like a brick)
Gee they are truthful,  its a CRACK .! full of Cracker-Jack Virus...too. I bet.
My guess is MS just lets these folks stew in their own juices. (a toxic soup of viruses and more)  The folks that make this junk will cause XP to go useless more quickly. (my crystal ball)

Keep in mind MS forces Activation of XP still in 2017 , even when all other support is DEAD.  (PnP is dead, plug and play  servers are offline now) that means AVOID XP !
XP is  virus  magnet with over 700 exploits.
XP PnP servers are now down.
MS XP activation is UP
MS XP service pack SP3 , is there at MS get it never ever run XP with out the SP3 pack, loaded. and the patch for Highjacking your browers.
MS XP support is zero , no phone calls taken .(unless you have a million dollar contact like our DOD has or like some ATM machines use)
Same deal with VISTA. Vista is DEAD now. RIP VISTA and is 10x better than any XP, for security.

Vista Released in 2007, and HP in the year 2006 shipped only HP logo marked Install disks (as stated above (my crude history lessons)
There is  64bit one too... and must MATCH your PC's processor.
The MS (means Microsoft) disk will need all HP drivers, No MS disk ever has all drivers on earth.  A fact.
If the HP site has no support for your over 10 years old or older  PC then you may spend days finding a valid drivers. (infected too)
This DVD many need other HP CD's to run, ask HP for help when using correct matching media like this.
HP has a manual online telling how to use your media. below. (see the marks here DVD 1 of 2)?

The cure most times , is upgrade to at least W7
Buy the Retail Media kit from MS. 
of from HP first if in fact they still have it, most are not after 10 years old.

C.O.A: Certificate of Authority, means you personal license for your MACHINE.
The HP PC is not a RETAIL license key, it is only a hugely discounted OEM KEY. (that is right you can not mix them)
MS makes many different flavors of License and prices,  and guess what , you are only allowed to run OEM Keys with you matching media. 
That means the retail disk fails if you try to use a OEM key, (yes, I too think that sux but that is how it is)  (and the reverse of that fails too,  Retail key installing OEM disk)
The COA sticker is now missing on newer PCs,  and is now stored in the BIOS INFO screen.

For example W10 can see the COA license in your BIOS, and activates in seconds, w10 fresh installed.

In all other cases you need this,  a COA code. This is  OEM code. and is useless for Retail install  media or  disks. (this tag is neutered) 
as seen on bottom of any HP Laptop. or one side or top of a Desktop case.
Some times hidden in  big battery well compartment hatch or its lid.
When you activate this code MS assigns you a product ID. As seen below... This ID shows up in the control panel , click the system ICON there. Click SYSTEM , and read.
Warning, on new PC, the maker of you PC does not use this sticker any more, anywhere in sticker form.
These new rules put the KEY stored in BIOS, forever.  You must go to BIOS screens to see your license key. (on my PC hit ESC to enter BIOS and see the INFO page)

The License rules are more complex than the OS or the PC, it self.
COA rules, are complex.

What makes this worse is they moved the COA tag (deleted it) into the BIOS INFO page.
So one must learn how to get there and see what you bought and own.
This makes buying USED PC harder lacking that great W7 sticker there, in plain view.
The best thing to do is buy a boxed set of W7 now today at the store, even W7 Home in the green box.
Now you open the box and you get 2 DVD (win 32 and 64bit) and a RETAIL COA License card, something nice to hold in your hand.
OEM  is   ≠  to a RETAIL license
Not equal.
Rule 2,  the UPgrade disks are useless on any new HDD, or erased HDD or for any FRESH INSTALL, best plan is to always avoid any CD marked UPGRADE !

In the same vein,  what about OEM versions of Windows.  (OEM to RETAIL)?
If replacing the motherboard, one may have to Reactivate Windows COA key.
As you can see Retail is complex, but not when you buy the box off the shelf. (you get code 292 up)
Windows 7  the product key is xxx 3 digits.  (click control panel, and see System Icon , that and see Product ID )
XXX = OEM is , OEM license
My free upgrade  from W7 to W10 , all of them OEM all commuted to Retail, after the free Microsoft upgrade to W10 .
 The proof is seen at cmd.exe prompt by typing,  slmgr.vbs /dlv command tells you in line 2 of the displayed window "retail" (inside the  cmd.exe prompt window) "called the elevated command prompt mode"

If you had to change your mother board, (it blew up?) get another, and call Microsoft, and tell them to activate it,  many folks have done this, Microsoft feels your pain if the MOBO blows up.  Why would they not?
You can not call for support at MS for XP or VISTA, they will not take calls on any DEAD OS. now.
Do the activating digitally only first. (enter the key and let it activate) if W7 up, call MS and they will do for you even with a new MOBO.

Microsoft COA key codes are here, for only W7.  VLK is volumn license kits, (MS sells say 10,000 licenses to say, IBM or, DELL or HP, to a business, not you as a person, unless super rich.
MS shut down the Technet  , keys, long ago but here they were.
What you want is RETAIL, and not UPGRADE only media (or ISO)
You do not want OEM disks unless they come from HP and match your PC exactly, to your exact model, PC !!!
The below are the MS arcane secret codes for  licenses, W7 only.

Microsofts Activation rules and processes. (on new PCs the activation finds your license stored in the UEFI BIOS ROM and knows what you own )
This only matters to you if you changed hardware radially and then lost your activated status (now false)
This is the topic of how does, MS , discover gross changes in hardware that shut down your license. (the below  hinted details are not fully known outside MS, the below is a general statement of the rules, crude.!!!)
The rules for Hardware changes, partially known.
This is not rocket science , many things in your PC have SERIAL NUMBERS hidden deep in the PCI logic chips. (and your IP address and MAC)
4 to 8 major parts are not in any way a secret,but the weighting of them is a secret.  (I am pretty sure mobo swaps are #1 , activation killer)
One way to be safer here is change one part at a time.
Replace a part,  any part, and then boot and see if activation status is false?.
if false, push activate if fails, call MS (W7 and newer only)
Then replace another parts, do not replace all parts at once.
The rules changed in time. This is  from MS pages.

The following changes are examples of hardware changes that will not impact the activation status:

  • Video card
  • Adding extra memory  (silly doing this because , memory gets added all the time by folks)


The only hardware changes that can negatively impact the activation status once you upgrade are changes to the:

  • CPU ( how deep this goes is a secret of MS.)  Only in the  most rare cases do costomers ever change out a CPU. (mobo sure , CPU not)
  • TPM  (the security chip linked to BIOS)   (  if fitted at all? it's on  2012 up PC's )) Related to UEFI. 2012 and newer PC's
  • Motherboard replacement  (call them and tell MS the MOBO smoked, and is in the trash) BINGO YOU WIN. (but not XP and not VISTA , MS phone dead on those)
  • The BIOS version (class , type etc)   This in my opinion should be the only MS check and nothing else! (2017 rules , IMO)
Best read on this topic is here.
The below are the things that MS can exploit, (the potential list is large)
The PC has many hidden serial numbers inside that MS might  use to make up a hash code. (to ID YOU PC)
MAC addresses  (your NIC is serialized as does the WIFI chip ,most PC have both)
BIOS versions, etc. (and maker) This is checked to allow W10 64bit to be installed, (or fails if wrong) W10 loves to fail on 2007 and older PCs here.
HDD serials. (using STAT bus commands ! )
DDR memory IDs (each stick as a PnP I.D message)
PCI scans of your PC you can see all this magic data hidden inside all PC. PnP scans to that.
Now the new TPM chip has codes stored. (my guess this is #1 prime target now for Microsoft)  BTW just popped in a i7 in place of my i5 processor and MS W10-64 never blinked a wink.... so.... BS on CPU checks, 2017
And last UEFI BIOS now has the MS COA NUMBER stored inside , license stored in ROM.  (In fact MS can check this first and see if you have license quickest)
Best is not to worry, just know to  phone call MS and beg, you tell them X smoked and is now wrecked and trashed the X.  (I put in a brand new X and newer (sure) motherboard.

The only secret is the WEIGHTING of changes in hardware (swaps), allowed.  (so change parts 1 by  1 and win?)
In all cases, I have made radical changes to my PC and called MS and they 100% GO on the change, (On the horn: dear MS , my MOBO burned up and replaced,  "no problem" they said, you are now activated)
Again W7 and up, XP and VISTA are now offically DEAD. Zero Support, dead, but auto activation works but if fails you are screwed, as no phone calls for XP./VISTA answsered at MS.

The new world order... LOL ( A new PC's has no DVD drive now on laptops and worst of all thin NOTEBOOKS)
All installs  are now just ISO files and all media now is USB flash memory sticks.
The Thumb drive USB, HP calls it a USB KEY. I call it a FLASH memory stick, some call it a UDISK.(ASUS)

We use Rufus(please ignore linux) program (google that) to put any ISO file to RUFUS , we want on this stick. Be that W10 , W7, or any Linux that I want.
The install goes 10x faster using this stick, for sure if you use fast sticks sold by , SANDISK. (some of the fastest sticks are amazing !)
This USB STICK  runs faster,  and not subject to CD scratches, etc.  (you can make your own stick)! Down load W10 and run it,  for 30 days, no license needed for 30 full days. 100% free. (after owning a U-stick)
I can also install the OS using SD cards, or SSD drive, formatted special to do that,  and the SSD can load any ISO OS faster than greased lightening. (my pc boots to anything)

The wrong disks for HP Installs are,  using DELL or Toshiba MEDIA (or other OEM  PC makers disks) are all useless.
The best plan of all is upgrade to W10.  (and get amazing support) I have no affiliations to HP at all, zero. This page is pure opinion and pure experience, nothing more, nothing official at all here.

version 1.  5-9-2017 (retired pukes musings)