Workaround found for Vista upgrade limitation

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.)

Comments closed
    • Dirge
    • 13 years ago

    I expect Microsoft to patch this problem when SP1 ships.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Some rumors have been floating around that Vista OEM can be activated multiple times on different configurations a la WinXP OEM. If this is true doesn’t it make Vista Upgrade a waste of $40?

    • ssway
    • 13 years ago

    Just goes to show the level of sophistication we are dealing with. These are the guys that want us to trust our system’s security with. Yeah, thanks Microsawft.

    • PetMiceRnice
    • 13 years ago

    If this is true, then all I can say is “Wow” !

    • demani
    • 13 years ago

    This isn’t even a new style of bug/workaround for them (so if it was unintended its unforgiveable). Office 2000 Upgrade would work by checking your disc-and the upgrade disc would work. Crazy.

    • alex666
    • 13 years ago

    Somebody really really needs to try this out. I wish I could, but I can’t.

    • Kent_dieGo
    • 13 years ago

    Step 7 is wrong. You need to do Custon Instatll>Clean Install, not in-place upgrade. §[< http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=5932<]§

      • Anonim1979
      • 13 years ago

      Yes you are right!

    • Generic Ninja
    • 13 years ago

    It is unlikely that this would work. One of the requirements to perform an upgrade is a previous OS that is activated. By installing without a product key the first Vista installation will not be activated and thus when the upgrade is launched from within that environment I expect that the option to upgrade will be grayed out. I certainly have been unable to perform upgrades on VLK Windows XP corp systems here at work. They were not activated and thus only clean installation was available.

      • d2brothe
      • 13 years ago

      I suspect you are right…microsoft must have seen such an obvious workaround…(maybe only obvious in hindsight, but MS is thorough)…I’d like to see it work first.

      • grug
      • 13 years ago

      It definitely works.

      Step 7 is wrong. You don’t perform an in place upgrade, you perform a Clean Install. It lets you despite the “Upgrade” status because you’re already running Vista, even if you’re unactivated and within the 30 day grace period.

        • alex666
        • 13 years ago

        Have you actually tried it out, i.e., a full install on a blank hdd with the upgrade dvd and then the reinstall from within vista and finally activating it successfully?

    • Anonim1979
    • 13 years ago

    *[<8. Once setup has completed for the second time, you should be able to activate Windows Vista normally. r[

    • Jigar
    • 13 years ago

    TR is not doing this right .. [/microsoft]

      • Logan[TeamX]
      • 13 years ago

      They’re reporting the news, that’s all.

    • nstuff
    • 13 years ago

    It has apparently been confirmed here:
    §[< http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=5932<]§

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 13 years ago

    so…is this the first BUG ? ROFLMAO

    • morphine
    • 13 years ago

    Maybe this is intentional.

    Possible scenario, 3 years down the road: you bought a new PC, and want to reinstall Vista. However, your spiffy new SATA3-enabled motherboard doesn’t have XP drivers. You’re suddenly stuck. This workaround enables you to get past that, and might been purposedly left that way.

    Buying a Vista upgrade license and then using it all by itself would be illegal anyway (and easily detectable I bet, it probably keeps data somewhere about which OS it was installed over).

      • ludi
      • 13 years ago

      Bingo…and suddenly one day, you find yourself required to install a WGA update without which you will no longer have access to Windows Update. Upon installation, your system demands to see a valid XP key, or go into lockdown mode, or you can immediately type your CC# and security code in the provided box and Microsoft will kindly let you pay the difference between the upgrade and full-retail versions.

      Oops. Almost like cracked Corporate Edition all over again, except now your data are the hostage in the middle.

    • Vrock
    • 13 years ago

    Wow. If true, that’s a pretty significant oversight on MS’s part.

    • alex666
    • 13 years ago

    Whoa, so if it works and you don’t need XP at all, a huge hole like that through which you could drive a truck and which affects $$$ will probably be quickly, uh, “patched” by MS. That’s incredible.

      • alex666
      • 13 years ago

      Or will they somehow be able to detect this at activation?

      Aargh, I meant to respond to Freon. I’ve noticed others have had problems like this as well, trying to respond to somebody and the posting ends up somewhere else.

    • Freon
    • 13 years ago

    I’m kinda surprised to see you guys post such a clear exploit on front page news. This would allow someone with no legitimate claim to upgrade at all to install it, even without a previous XP disk check, if I’m reading correctly.

    The real question is (assuming it works), what will Microsoft’s response be. Can they tell on their side that someone did this later on? If not, all they can do is repress the DVDs with an updated installer, but all the old DVDs out there will continue to let you do this indefinitely.

      • Madman
      • 13 years ago

      If you haven’t opened the Vista box and started the setup you can’t know if the license agreement allows or forbids that. It’s just the information without DRM crap comming out of it’s butt.

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