How to activate Vista with an uprgrade key?
June 22, 2007 9:47 PM   Subscribe

Windows Vista Activation: can I move from and un-activated install to Home Premium Upgrade in one fell swoop?

One of my PCs was BSOD'n like nobody's business, so I wiped it out and installed Vista from a DVD.

I don't have a valid product key, but I knew from the PR blitz and buzz surrounding the Vista launch that one can be purchased and entered later on, so I soldiered bravely onward.

I now have 17 days and counting to activate. The activation dialog points me to a place where I can buy a Home Premium license for ~$270 CDN, but I have a valid XP Media Centre license and would prefer to pay less for an upgrade license.

Can I just buy Home Premium Upgrade anywhere and plug in the key, or must I choose between paying for a 'full', non-upgrade license and wiping everything out to start from scratch?
posted by onshi to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
A while back there was a brew haha in the blog world about how Vista differed from previous versions of Windows in that when you upgraded you HAD to upgrade from a Windows install on your drive. Previous versions allowed you to present the CD during the install process as part of your upgrade if you were installing cleanly.

So I don't think this will work.
posted by mge at 12:42 AM on June 23, 2007

Best answer: I haven't tried this myself, but the install Vista over Vista method outlined halfway down the page here might do the trick. You wouldn't even need the MCE key in this case, since you've already installed an unactivated copy of Vista.
posted by chrominance at 1:11 AM on June 23, 2007

Of course MGE means brouhaha.

I'm a little confused. If I understand you right: You have a beta version of Vista installed (no CD key), and you want Home Premium, but if it will cost less to do so, you want to uninstall Vista, install XP, and upgrade from that, right?

If you have a non-beta copy of Vista Basic that you just haven't bothered to activate, it'll cost you the same to upgrade as for XP: $150.

If you have Vista Beta, I am not sure if you need to buy a full version (probably), but you should be able to go ahead and do so without wiping out the beta - see what Chrominance said.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:50 AM on June 23, 2007

Response by poster: IndigoRain: not a beta copy, but a real media whose activiation key has already been used for other purposes. I installed it with the intent of activating it properly by buying a license key online.

The crux of my question is, may I purchase an upgrade key and merely enter it to activate my current installation, or would doing so require a non-upgrade key (and thus I would be forced to do a clean install to use a less expensive upgrade key)?
posted by onshi at 2:22 AM on June 23, 2007

Response by poster: ... and the non-beta copy is installed as Home Premium, which is the version I desire.
posted by onshi at 2:23 AM on June 23, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks chrominance, that install Vista over Vista seems like the perfect solution.
posted by onshi at 2:45 AM on June 23, 2007

I know it doesn't help for this time around, but next time consider using software that doesn't treat you like a criminal.
posted by jepler at 5:26 AM on June 23, 2007

Response by poster: To the contrary, jepler, I think that the ability to install and use as fully-functional (for a month) an operating system that one is meant to pay for without having actually done so is something of an improvement over previous versions of Windows. Who'd have thought that Microsoft would essentially release Vista as a sort of shareware?

I did, after all, install a second instance of a product which I had only licensed for one install.

I'd like for Windows to be free as in beer, but given that it's not, I think this was a surprisingly permissive compromise.
posted by onshi at 5:40 AM on June 23, 2007

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