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Print 94 comment(s) - last by glennpratt.. on Feb 9 at 1:16 PM


When you first encounter this prompt for your product key, just hit next and proceed with setup.

Choose which version of Windows you have purchased, check the box and click Next.

Once the first install of Vista is completed and you start the second install from within Vista, you'll need to enter your product key.

Choose "Custom (advanced)" to perform a clean install.

Once the second install of Vista has been completed, you can activtate your installation through Microsoft.
Microsoft internal documentation reveals workaround for Vista Upgrade DVDs with no need for a previous version of Windows

DailyTech reported on Monday that Microsoft no longer performs disc checks during an operating system install. In the past, when performing a clean install, a user could boot from an install CD and insert a disc from a previous version of Windows for upgrade compliance.

However, per Microsoft's new licensing requirements for Vista, users are required to install a Windows Vista Upgrade from within Windows XP. When this occurs, the Windows XP license is forfeited and the Windows Vista installation process can take place.

DailyTech has confirmed a new workaround proposed by Paul Thurrott (via Microsoft internal documents).

This workaround allows users to perform a “clean install.” The process is a bit tedious, but is not hard at all to complete. Users have to perform these simple steps to perform a clean install of Vista without a previous version of Windows installed with an upgrade DVD:

  1. Boot from the Windows Vista Upgrade DVD and start the setup program.
  2. When prompted to enter your product key, DO NOT enter it. Click "Next" and proceed with setup. This will install Windows Vista as a 30-day trial.
  3. When prompted, select the edition of Vista which you have purchased and continue with setup.
  4. Once setup has been completed and you have been brought to the desktop for the first time, run the install program from within Windows Vista.
  5. This time, type in your product key when prompted.
  6. When asked whether to perform an Upgrade or Custom (advanced) install, choose Custom (advanced) to perform a clean install of Vista. Yes, this means that you will have to install Vista for a second time.
  7. Once setup has completed for the second time, you should be able to activate Windows Vista normally. You can also delete the Windows.old directory which contains information from the first Vista install.

There's no telling why Microsoft left this loophole wide open with Windows Vista Upgrade DVDs, but this means that any retail upgrade DVD can be used as a fully functioning full retail copy of Vista.



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RE: Another Option...
By ninjit on 1/31/2007 3:18:47 AM , Rating: 2
Your missing the point of this completely.

It means that someone without any Windows XP cd or license at all can go out and buy the upgrade version ($100 - $150 cheaper than the full retail) and install it on their system.


RE: Another Option...
By Furen on 1/31/2007 3:44:43 AM , Rating: 2
No, the point was getting a clean install without from an upgrade DVD without having to migrate anything at all from Windows XP (hence the "clean" thing), which his method does, too. The ability to install the upgrade without having Windows XP is just a side-effect of the workaround with I'm guessing MS may be able to correct through its activation (if upgrade keys can be told apart from retail keys they could just ask for your XP key as well when activating, for example)...


RE: Another Option...
By Bootstrap on 1/31/2007 8:24:54 AM , Rating: 3
MS never said that you couldn't do a clean install -- the comments stating otherwise were misinterpretations of what MS posted (which was understandably confusing). In fact, it's been stated for months that you may be required to do a clean install, depending on what OS version you're upgrading from. The only thing we learned is that a "clean" install still requires you to have a fully working installation of an old OS. So now, we always have to go through the installation procedure for an old OS, only to have the Vista installation immediately wipe it out and start over, just for the sake of verifying upgrade eligibility.

This is what most of the complaints are about -- why should I have to completely install XP or 2000, just to have Vista immediately delete it? Worse, since 2000 has no activation, installing the entire OS doesn't give Vista any more information than inserting the disk during the installation would have -- as far as I understand it, nothing is preventing someone from installing an illegal copy of 2000 and then upgrading to Vista, so I fail to see how this ridiculous upgrade procedure accomplishes anything other than wasting everyone's time.


RE: Another Option...
By Lifted on 1/31/2007 11:23:16 AM , Rating: 2
Has anyone tried performing an upgrade from 2000 or XP using known bad keys? We know MS keeps track of CD keys's that are in the wild, so perhaps they save the CD Key from your old OS when performing the upgrade, then send it back to MS when you perform your Vista activation. At that point they can either deny your activation as an "upgrade" since you had a bogus CD key on your original install, or just use the information for their own business/reporting purposes. Again, this is all speculation.


RE: Another Option...
By ninjit on 1/31/07, Rating: 0
RE: Another Option...
By Crank the Planet on 1/31/2007 5:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
Well well well, there's a hole in the Borg.


RE: Another Option...
By MadAd on 1/31/2007 11:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
why doesnt anyone figure out what XP files are checked during the install process and make a small boot installer with them on so it can be installed first, then add the vista upgrade.

Shouldnt take more than an extra few mintutes then it would only take one instal of vista.

Or is there someting wrong with that approach? (assuming that you already owned the files on the xp disk).


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