I have no idea why Microsoft insists on a clean install when upgrading from Microsoft Vista Home Premium to Microsoft Windows 7 Professional. In fact, I don’t really care. I want to do an in-place upgrade. I’m a busy person and don’t have time to dick around for 8-12 hours installing, moving files, moving settings, and reinstalling all my applications. Using a little ingeniuity – i.e. hacking – I was able to do:
- an in-place upgrade to Ultimate,
- a downgrade to Professional,
- and an activation for Professional
If you are like me, you purchased the Windows 7 Professional ‘upgrade,’ so you have media and a product key. Here’s what you need to do:
- Hack your install media. It turns out that every edition is included on every installer disk. So no matter what edition you have, you have a full install Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. To unlock the capability, create an ISO image of your Windows 7 Professional disk. There are multiple utilities for doing this, most of them are free, use Google to find one. Once you have made the image, convert it to an Ultimate Installer disk using the Windows ISO Image Edition Switcher utility.
- Now mount the ISO image and begin the install. Again, there are lot of free utilities for mounting ISO images. Use whatever works for you. (Google)
- When you have the option, choose to do an upgrade install. Window 7 Ultimate allows you to upgrade in-place from just about any other edition.
- After a few hours, you will have a working version of Windows 7 Ultimate. The problem is, it isn’t activated and you have a Windows 7 Professional product key. You cannot activate Ultimate using this key. You need to take the next step – downgrade it.
- Use regedit.exe and go to \\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version hive.
- Change the key ‘EditionID’ key from ‘Ultimate’ to ‘Professional’
- Change the ‘Product Name’ key from ‘Windows 7 Ultimate’ to ‘Windows 7 Professional’
- Now, using your upgrade media (not the ISO) run another install and choose to upgrade.
- Several hours later you will have Window 7 Professional.
- Now, activate it using your product key. ALL DONE!
Update: an alternative to the above that can save a lot of time: Chris writes (in comments below:)
I had Vista Home Premium (32bit), I made a 7 Home premium disk (from my 7 Pro) and made an in place upgrade. After install, I did not enter a key but went to desktop and did the Anytime Upgrade. I chose that I already had a key, as I have a 7 Pro key already. I entered the key and within 15 minutes, I had a fully activated 7 Pro without losing my settings, programs, etc., etc.
You should do this instead, it will save you several hours!