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Clean install Vista with upgrade DVD via loophole

Clean install Vista with upgrade DVD via loophole

It turns out that you can do a clean install of Vista using an upgrade disc, but we wonder how long for...

An internal document from Microsoft has revealed that there is a workaround that will allow end users to use a Vista Upgrade disc to complete a clean install of the new operating system.

On Monday, we reported that Microsoft would prevent this from happening with Vista, as it disabled disc checking during the installation. Instead, it required end users to install and activate a copy of Windows XP or Windows 2000 before upgrading to Vista using an upgrade disc.

Paul Thurrott, one of the most well-known Windows experts, has exposed a workaround that has come from one of the software giant's internal documents and DailyTech has confirmed that it works.

The process described is as follows:
  • Boot to the Windows Vista Upgrade disc and click "Install Now";
  • Do not enter your product key when prompted and then select which edition of Vista you have - this installs Windows Vista as a 30-day trial;
  • Once the installation is completed, restart the setup programme from within Windows Vista and enter your product key when prompted;
  • Choose either an Upgrade or Custom (advanced) install - the latter will complete another fresh install of Vista;
  • Once complete, you should be able to activate Vista as normal.
It does sound like a lot of hassle to us, but doesn't look particularly difficult to follow. It's strange that Microsoft left such a strange loophole wide open, but it means that any upgrade DVD can be used as a fully functional retail Vista disc. We wonder how long it'll stay like this though. Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

14 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
rupbert 31st January 2007, 14:03 Quote
How can they stop it though without forcing the serial number to be entered on installation?
Hepath 31st January 2007, 14:03 Quote
Standard MS product testing!

Mind you glad of this as having to reinstall 2 operating systems would have been a right royal PITA!
Paradigm Shifter 31st January 2007, 14:26 Quote
Hang on, does the 30 day trial allow you to enter a serial at the end of it, or does it lock you out irrevocably and require you to reinstall? If it's the former, why the double install hassle? Surely a single install then clocking the date forward to force serial entry/activation will be sufficient... :)

Of course, if it's the latter, then it doesn't work. ;)
rupbert 31st January 2007, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
Hang on, does the 30 day trial allow you to enter a serial at the end of it, or does it lock you out irrevocably and require you to reinstall? If it's the former, why the double install hassle? Surely a single install then clocking the date forward to force serial entry/activation will be sufficient... :)

Of course, if it's the latter, then it doesn't work. ;)

It's the former.
Phil Rhodes 31st January 2007, 15:18 Quote
Hi,

I think it's fairly clear this is the sort of thing that'll be closed down fairly soon, so we'll end up doing two installs.

What really gets up my nose is that this is all based on the ridiculous, arrogant Microsoft fantasy that you don't have to reinstall yearly. Obviously, Windows is so perfect and longlived that you never have to reinstall it, so this isn't a problem, is it!

Oh, no. Just a sec.

Phil
rupbert 31st January 2007, 15:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Hi,

I think it's fairly clear this is the sort of thing that'll be closed down fairly soon, so we'll end up doing two installs.

What really gets up my nose is that this is all based on the ridiculous, arrogant Microsoft fantasy that you don't have to reinstall yearly. Obviously, Windows is so perfect and longlived that you never have to reinstall it, so this isn't a problem, is it!

Oh, no. Just a sec.

Phil

Yeah personally I reformat every 8 months; I use an image that I create after the initial install and setup and just use Acronis DriveImage to quickly shadow it onto the drive...
Mother-Goose 31st January 2007, 15:42 Quote
rupbert, might have to ask you about how that works at a later date me thinks. Am I right in thinking it is only the OEM version that is affected by this lockdown or is it retail as well?
Paradigm Shifter 31st January 2007, 15:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rupbert
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
Hang on, does the 30 day trial allow you to enter a serial at the end of it, or does it lock you out irrevocably and require you to reinstall? If it's the former, why the double install hassle? Surely a single install then clocking the date forward to force serial entry/activation will be sufficient... :)

Of course, if it's the latter, then it doesn't work. ;)
It's the former.
OK. :D

So I just discovered an even easier work around?

And how exactly, did this "workaround" spread around the web when there is an easier (and even more obvious) way? :?
Tim S 31st January 2007, 15:49 Quote
I don't know whether the latter works because you're not "upgrading" anything. :)
Mother-Goose 31st January 2007, 16:10 Quote
I'm assuming people buying the upgrade ed. would get the retail version as the full OEM isn't much more?!
Paradigm Shifter 31st January 2007, 16:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
I don't know whether the latter works because you're not "upgrading" anything. :)
Well, yes, exactly. :) I've not got a release copy of Vista to test this - last build I've got is RC2. :)
DXR_13KE 31st January 2007, 21:54 Quote
i think the OEM version is cheaper than the upgrade.....
The Bart Man 31st January 2007, 22:44 Quote
The OEM version should be the same as the retail version only you don't get any support. The upgrade version is cheaper then te retail but more expesive then the OEM. But if this workaround works (witch is a verry simpel one) that could safe a lot of money. Would it be possible for microsoft to track you down if you installed it this way?!
Constructacon 1st February 2007, 00:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bart Man
The OEM version should be the same as the retail version only you don't get any support. The upgrade version is cheaper then te retail but more expesive then the OEM. But if this workaround works (witch is a verry simpel one) that could safe a lot of money. Would it be possible for microsoft to track you down if you installed it this way?!
Why would they bother? You've bought a legitimate version of the software and installed it (even if not exactly how they wanted you to). The PR fiasco would not be worth their time (or loss of profits) if they shut down people who bought legitimate software and stopped them using it for something this silly.
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