A couple of days ago, several sites reported that “upgrade” versions of Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Home Premium could only be installed on top of a previous version of Windows. Microsoft’s knowledge base entry about the subject is quite clear, stating that users who wish to do a clean installation need to cough up the extra dough for a full product license. However, Paul Thurrott from Windows IT Pro has uncovered a workaround in Microsoft’s documentation. The workaround procedure is as follows:
1. Boot with the Windows Vista Upgrade DVD.
2. Click “Install Now.”
3. Do not enter a Product Key When prompted.
4. When prompted, select the Vista product edition that you do have.
6. Install Vista normally.
7. Once the install is complete, restart the DVD-based Setup from within Windows Vista. Perform an in-place upgrade.
8. Enter your Product Key when prompted.
Thurrott didn’t test this workaround, but you’re supposed to install Vista in trial mode and then run an “upgrade” over your fresh Vista installation. The result might not be as unspoiled as a clean installation from a full retail Vista DVD, but if it works, it should nonetheless allow users to avoid having to install Windows XP or Windows 2000 before they can put Vista on their machines. Of course, if the workaround works, it should also remove the need for users to prove that they own a previous version of Windows, thereby taking the whole “upgrade” concept out of the equation. We wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft ended up fixing this sooner or later. (Thanks to TomCoyote for the link.)