View Full Version : How To Perform A Clean Vista Install Using A Vista Upgrade Product Key

As many of you are now finding out, in order to upgrade your copy of XP to Vista, you need to have XP currently installed on the computer and the setup program must be run from withing XP. No longer can you boot off of the setup DVD and just insert the media of older versions that you are upgrading from. What this means is that there is no true way of doing a clean install from a formatted hard drive as when you enter the Vista product key it will tell you the setup must be run from within the previous operating system. Another issue that occurs is that you will invalidate the XP product key that you are upgrading from.

Paul Thurott has discovered (http://www.windowsitpro.com/mobile/pda/Article.cfm?ArticleID=95011&News=1) from internal Microsoft documents another method that you can use to perform a full install. To do this follow the steps below:

Boot your computer form the Windows Vista Upgrade DVD. When you get to the setup screen, start a new setup of Vista.
When prompted to enter your product key, Do not enter it. Instead click on the Next button and continue with the setup. This will install Vista as a 30-day trial.
When prompted select the edition of Vista which you had purchased. So if you purchase Home Premium, select Home Premium. This is important, so do not pick a version that you did not purchase as it will affect later steps.
Once the setup has completed and you are back at your new Vista desktop, run the setup program from the Vista DVD again from within the new Vista 30-day trial.
Go through the setup, but this time when it asks for your product key, enter in the product key that came with your upgrade.
When asked whether to perform an Upgrade or a Custom (advanced) install, choose the Custom (advanced) option to perform a clean install of Vista. Yes, you are performing a second installation of Vista.
Once setup has completed for the second time you will be able to activate Windows Vista as normal. You are now left with a fresh clean install of Vista and your original Vista install has been renamed C:\Windows.old. You can now delete the Windows.old folder as it is not necessary to be on your computer.

Why does this work? It works because Microsoft let the Vista 30-day trial act as a valid upgrade path for Vista and because you can install the trial to a empty drive. This keeps the process as clean as possible for those who do not own a Full install version of Vista.

Grinler, on Jan 31 2007, 02:48 PM, said:http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/public/style_images/master/snapback.png (http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/index.php?app=forums&module=forums&section=findpost&pid=441794)

Paul Thurott has discovered (http://www.windowsitpro.com/mobile/pda/Article.cfm?ArticleID=95011&News=1) from internal Microsoft documents another method that you can use to perform a full install.

That link doesn't work and has anyone done this to see if it actually works?

One of the guys at work said that this worked for him last night. Haven't seen it myself, but he's reliable.

A patch will fix future versions burnt onto the media, but with the media thats currently out there there is nothing they can do. I also understand why this happens...its because they need to allow vista to be an upgrade path for more "feature rich" versions.

There big mistake was allowing a trial or at least a trial that can be upgraded from..

If I were you, I would hold off on installing Vista. It's going to take Microsoft, "The evil Empire", about 6 months to a year to get all the kinks, bug, etc, out of it. Also, remember that many programs and apps are not yet compatible with Vista and you're going to run into a lot of problems as some of my friends have told me. Me, I'll wait about a year then I'll think about it. So far, my XP and Linux are running just fine.

Does the same apply when downgrading from Vista to XP? I have a user who purchased a laptop with a ready installed Vista OS but she prefers Windows XP. Can i run the XP install from within Vista or do i have to boot using the XP disc?