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Windows Vista Upgrade Clean Install Tip


The option of purchasing an upgrade over the full version of a new operating system is often the preferred method as it is alot cheaper, but update versions tend to be a little more problematic.  For example, if you wanted to do a clean install of your new os you had to prove that you qualified for the upgrade by inserting the original cd of the older os at some stage during the install.

The upgrade version of the new Windows Vista has done away with this CD check for doing a clean install, but to use it you still need qualifying software, such as Windows XP or Windows 2003.  But here is the good news – Windows Vista upgrade version also accepts an ‘unactivated’ version of Vista!  That means that you can clean install your upgrade version of Vista without activating it and then ‘upgrade’ this install to the upgraded version.  The downside of this means you have to install Vista twice, but Vista installs faster than XP, and you can save as much as 50% of your cash in the process.

Step 1. Boot the PC from the Vista Upgrade DVD.

Step 2. Select “Install Now,” but do not enter the Product Key from the Vista packaging. Leave the input box blank. Also, turn off the option Automatically activate Windows when I’m online. In the next dialog box that appears, confirm that you really do want to install Vista without entering a Product Key.

Step 3. Correctly indicate the version of Vista that you’re installing: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate.

Step 4. Select the “Custom (Advanced)” install, not the “Upgrade” install.

Step 5. Vista copies files at length and reboots itself one or more times. Wait for the install to complete. At this point, you might think that you could “activate” Vista, but you can’t. That’s because you haven’t installed the Vista upgrade yet. To do that, run the DVD’s setup.exe program again, but this time from the Vista desktop. The easiest way to start setup again is to eject and then reinsert the DVD.

Step 6. Click “Install Now.” Select Do not get the latest updates for installation. (You can check for these updates later.)

Step 7. This time, do enter the Product Key from the Vista packaging. Once again, turn off the option Automatically activate Windows when I’m online.

Step 8. On this second install, make sure to select “Upgrade,” not “Custom (Advanced).” You’re not doing a clean install now, you’re upgrading to Vista.

Step 9. Wait while Vista copies files and reboots itself. No user interaction is required. Do not boot from the DVD when asked if you’d like to do so. Instead, wait a few seconds and the setup process will continue on its way. Some DOS-like, character-mode menus will appear, but don’t interact with them. After a few seconds, the correct choice will run for you automatically.

Step 10. After you click a button labeled Start in the Thank You dialog box, Vista’s login screen will eventually appear. Enter the username and password that you selected during the first install. You’re done upgrading to Vista.

Step 11. Within 30 days, you must “activate” your copy of Vista or it’ll lose functionality. To activate Vista, click Show more details in the Welcome Center that automatically displays upon each boot-up, then click Activate Windows now. If you’ve dismissed the Welcome Center, access the correct dialog box by clicking Start, Control Panel, System & Maintenance, System. If you purchased a legitimate copy of Vista, it should quickly activate over the Internet. (You can instead activate by calling Microsoft on the phone, which avoids your PC exchanging information with Microsoft’s server.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007 - Posted by | Computers, Internet, Windows XP Tips and Tricks


  1. Emm.. Will try and see how it works. Thanks..

    Comment by picoHat | Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Reply

  2. Now i can do a vista upgrade with some guide

    Comment by geniv | Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | Reply

  3. fuxk windows vista

    Comment by ShaRe PIt | Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | Reply

  4. I think Vista is pretty good and this post is really awesome.

    Comment by Software Development Company in Malaysia | Monday, October 21, 2013 | Reply

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