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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Windows Vista OEM
By livinloud on 1/31/2007 6:50:00 AM , Rating: 4
Why people just don't buy Vista OEM? IT cost the same thing as an upgrade but you can do fresh install.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By swim2383 on 1/31/2007 8:02:13 AM , Rating: 2
you can find oem for less actually. i also don't understand why you would want to pay more for an upgrade; it is only a bigger pain in the ass.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By Shawn on 2/1/2007 10:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
Because you can get the academic version of Vista Home Premium for $70.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By rockyct on 1/31/2007 8:15:53 AM , Rating: 2
I bought Vista for $75 shipped from a store that sells academic software. However, if I wasn't a student, I would go the OEM way since it looks like you can transfer the license to a new compuer with an OEM version, just like a full version.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By kamel5547 on 1/31/2007 11:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
Depends... if MS enforces the license agreement you can't. OEM licenses specifically state they are non-transferable. The only real loophole would be what determines a transfer (i.e. does a new mobo/CPU count as a transfer or does it take something else). Generally it has been accepted that the license is tied to the motherboard, which can only be replaced in the case of a failure. Likely in MS's eyes you also should replace it with an equivalent, and not use it as an excuse to do an upgrade.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By bmheiar on 1/31/2007 1:59:29 PM , Rating: 2
Which store did you buy from & which version of Vista Upgrade? Just curious. All the academic software online stores that I have looked at, have only Vista Home Premium Upgrade at academic pricing. Ex: $69.95, $69.85, $89.98, $74.95, & etc. I do not seen any of them selling Vista Ultimate full or the upgrade version at academic pricing. Just curious will anyone be selling Vista Ultimate full or upgrade at an academic price?

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By rockyct on 1/31/2007 8:27:49 PM , Rating: 2
Campus Tech. I don't think Microsoft makes a academic version of Ultimate. I know I would have gotten that. Although, you can upgrade within Premium to Ultimate and that would make it cheaper overall than a retail version of Ultimate upgrade, but I guess about the same price as an OEM copy.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By X2 3800 on 1/31/2007 11:42:56 AM , Rating: 2
Why retail? Because it includes MS support; OEM is "you're on your own -- see your seller for support." Hence the price difference. For most enthusists, support is not a concern, but for those that think they might need to call the mothership once in a while, the extra $40 (using Premium as an example) may be worth spending.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By Le Québécois on 1/31/2007 12:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
Why retail? Because it includes MS support; OEM is "you're on your own -- see your seller for support."

No it's not just that, at least not according to this (the only place where I found clear information about the new EULA):

The new license terms say: “You may uninstall the software and install it on another device for your use. You may not do so to share this license between devices.”

Here are the practical implications of the change:

If you purchase a new computer with Windows Vista preinstalled, or if you build your own PC using an OEM version of Windows , this change doesn't affect you. Your copy is locked to that PC and cannot be transferred to another.

If you find another link with information that contradict this, you're welcome to reply to my comment, because I would love to pay half the price for a OEM version.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By rtrski on 2/1/2007 11:11:32 AM , Rating: 2
With the retail purchase you also get x86 and x64 - don't know if the same is true for upgrade, but I believed it to be so.

OEM you only get one or the other. The assertion being "it can only be installed on one piece of hardware, therefore you "know" which you want ahead of time."

Specious argument, IMO, but that's another difference in the OEM vs. retail/upgrade price.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By InsaneGain on 1/31/2007 1:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
I thought you had to buy a new computer system to be able to get the OEM version of any Windows.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By JSK on 1/31/2007 2:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
No you only need buy a "qualifying piece of hardware".

Which I have seen be anything from a IDE cable, to a keyboard, to a fan.

How legal that is I am not sure.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By kingtone on 1/31/2007 6:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
More info on OEM can be found here:,1697,2088385...

My OEM is on it's way from NewEgg

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By Filibuster on 2/5/2007 9:04:49 AM , Rating: 2
This is not true anymore. Microsoft changed the system builder license (OEM) a while ago. Here is a good article on this. The Microsoft OEM license Pdfs are not online for some reason right now or I'd quote them directly.

I'm not sure what agreement Newegg (and other online retailers) have with Microsoft but from an actual system builder point of view, its very different from the way it used to be.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By Endo on 2/1/2007 11:51:16 AM , Rating: 3
Because that awesome retail box is so worth the $180!!

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By timmiser on 2/5/2007 12:44:44 PM , Rating: 2
With the upgrade retail edition, you can use Windows Vista for the next 5-6 years (or however long you need to) over multiple system (cpu/motherboard/etc) upgrades of your system. With the oem, you can't do that.

In other words, with the OEM, if you buy a completly new computer upgrade a couple years from now, you can't reactivate an oem license on your new equipment.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By glennpratt on 2/9/2007 1:16:11 PM , Rating: 2
In theory, maybe. In practice, they always let you reactivate. Maybe it will change in the future, who knows, but I don't see it as much of a gamble.

I've probably reactivated 20 OEM Windows installs on totally different hardware for people. Sometimes you have to call, sometimes you don't, but it always worked.

RE: Windows Vista OEM
By somerset on 2/8/2007 12:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
Most people dont know where to buy OEM...

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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