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Windows Vista upgrade clean install workaround

You had to know it would be a matter of time. Not long after I wrote about the limitations of Vista’s upgrade version I found this. First let me reset. Previous versions of Windows upgrade versions would allow you to do a “clean” install (format the drive) if you had the previous versions install media at hand. The install would stop to validate the install media and you could proceed. Very handy if recovering from a full hard drive failure, virus infestation, etc. Well the word was, Vista upgrade requires the previous OS version that you upgrade from to be installed on the Hard drive. This makes the rebuild process from such failures sound VERY nasty and tedious (read: just go buy a new pc…) However….


There is a workaround for the vista upgrade process. It doesn’t sound pretty though. Essentially what is involved is the following…

Boot from the upgrade DVD and start the setup program.
When prompted for your product key DON’T enter it and just click next – this installs the 30 day trial version.
When prompted select the version of vista you’ve purchased and next. (I guess you choose between home basic/home deluxe/business/ultimate).
Once setup completes and you are at the desktop start the installer from WITHIN vista.
Type in your product key when prompted
You’ll be asked to choose between upgrade and custom installs – choose custom for a clean install. (Time for the SECOND installation routine…)
Now you should be able to activate vista normally and even delete the windows.old directory that had the 1st vista install.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this “breaks” when the first service release of Vista install discs come out, but it may not….

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Posted by on February 27, 2007.

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Categories: Computers, Software, Tech Support, Windows, Windows, Windows Software, Windows Tech Support

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