A week ago, I have just purchased a PC ex my office. The PC is Dell Optiplex 9020 using Intel i5 gen 4 processor. The PC I purchased is PC that was assigned to me in the last 5-6 years. So I know that the PC is still good and have no problem at all.

When purchased, I got everything for the PC, including monitor but excluding any OS inside it. The hard disk was wiped out, as instructed by my company to the vendor. So I bought it without an OS with very reasonable price.

To my knowledge, every PC from respective brand including Dell have Windows original in it when it was first purchased. The product key of the Windows OS is attached to its motherboard. So by purchasing the second hand PC, the Windows OS should be able to be extracted again.

But in my case, it is not that easy to extract the original OS since I did not get the CD installer of Windows when I purchased it.

So my first opinion if I want to use Windows OS, I must purchase it or I use Linux OS for free instead.

That is exactly what I did.

First time I turn on the PC, I installed it with Linux Ubuntu 20.4 to the PC. It runs successfully and very fast. I like it. No problem at all. I can use the OS. The drivers for every attached peripherals are there. No need to search the drivers. You can use it like you use Windows.

But then, I try something on google. I search on google “how to use dell recovery image” on the Ubuntu Firefox browser. It turns out that the website lets you enter the service tag of unit or we often call it serial number to check the original OS when the unit first sold to market.

I knew the serial number, because it is on sticker of PC’s casing. So I enter the number, and turns out the website give me link to image file of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 Professional as it was installed to the PC for the first time. The website also give me the creation tool to burn the image file to USB flash disk.

So that I try it, and now I’m using Windows 10 original on my PC, Dell Optiplex 9020.

Here are the steps that I do to install Windows 10 original on Dell Optiplex 9020. This is the hard way, if anyone know how to simplify the steps, please let me know in the comment.

Why I mention hard way? Because in my case to install Windows 10 Original, I have to go through 3 different OS. Linux Ubuntu, then Windows 8.1 Pro and then Windows 10 Pro. It ran out my internet kuotas about 30 GB and took me two days to complete it. So it is the hard way.

Hard way to get Windows 10 original for free on Dell Optiplex 9020.

1. Download iso image file for Linux OS, any kind, recommended Ubuntu. Use Ubuntu 20.4 or later. The file is almost 3GB. This can be done in any OS of PC or laptop.

2. Download Rufus or UNetbootin software (just google it) to make your 16GB flash disk as bootable in PC. Yes, you need at least 16GB flash disk to install your windows OS later. This is also can be done in any OS of PC or laptop

3. Burn the iso file of Linux or Ubuntu on 16GB flash disk using Rufus or UNebootin.

4. Plug the USB flash disk into Dell Optiplex 9020.

5. Turn on the PC. When Dell logo appears, repeatedly press F12 until it opens the boot menu.

6. Choose the flash disk and choose install Linux or Ubuntu. Follow the instruction until finish.

7. Plug USB Wifi to enable the internet on PC. The PC come without having any Wifi module onboard. So either you plug ethernet cable or plug an USB Wifi you can use the internet on that PC.

8. Search for Dell recovery image in browser (for Ubuntu, it should be Firefox browser). It will lead to request you to enter Dell service tag or serial number into the form.

9. Enter the service tag or serial number of your Dell PC. If you do not know, search for any labeling on PC casing that may lead to serial number. Or when you repeatedly press F12 on step 5, go to BIOS setup, and the serial number is on the top of the screen.

10. Link to Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 Professional appeared. Download one of the iso file (4 or 8 GB). I prefer to choose Win8.1 because the file is smaller. But if you are more familiar with Win7, then download it.

11. Download Dell Creation Tool software on Linux browser too. The file should be msi file.

12. Copy both msi and iso files into flash disk. Steps 8-12 must be done outside Windows OS. You can either use Linux OS or Mac OS. If you use Windows, then the request to enter the service tag will not be appeared, even if you know the link. So if you already have non windows PC or laptop at your premise, then go directly to steps no 8 as step 1 to 7 is to prepare you to use OS other than Windows.

13. Put the flash disk on PC running Windows (other than Dell Optiplex 9020, because it does not have Windows yet).

14. Copy both msi and iso files to internal hardisk.

15. Runs msi and target the iso file on the way to create bootable USB flash disk for Win7 or Win8.1.

16. Remove flash disk from Windows PC.

17. Ensure PC Dell Optiplex 9020 is turned off. Plug in flash disk to PC. Turn on the PC. When Dell logo appears, press F12 repeatedly until boot option menu appears.

18. Choose flash disk as priority boot and press enter. It restarts automatically and it will lead to Win7 or Win8.1 installation.

19. Follow the instruction until installation is completed.

20. By now USB Wifi cannot be recognized by Windows even after successfully installed Win7 or Win8.1. Therefore, you need to plug in ethernet cable to PC from router to make the internet work.

21. When internet is working, activate the Windows OS using internet (not by phone). No Code Key required, because you’ve already using the specific installer.

22. After Windows is activated, search in browser “how to upgrade to windows 10”.

23. Follow the instruction. There will be files around 4GB to be downloaded during the process.

24. Follow the instruction until the installation of Windows 10 is finished.

25. PC is now running Windows 10 and it is activated automatically. Do not forget to activate the Windows when you are still on Win7 or Win8.1, DO NOT activate it when it is already on Windows 10, it might be too late.

By following the steps above, I am now running Windows 10 Pro on my Dell Optiplex 9020 PC. I am sure you can do it too if you are following the same steps. I do not have pictures or videos to support my writing, but I will provide it later when there is a friend of mine who need help.

Happy running Windows original legally without paying anymore. Please let me know if you have any difficulties in following the steps above. Cheers

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