December 04, 2009

Clean Install Windows 7 from an Upgrade Disc

I was fully ready to "upgrade" from an old copy of Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 today when I found out the XP or Vista license isn't really required.

Using a Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade disc I re-formatted the Bootcamp partition on my MacBook and installed a fresh copy of Windows 7. All went well until it restarted and asked for my product key. I entered it but it refused to use the code stating that it was not "valid."

I knew it was a valid key so I called Microsoft support toll free (866-234-6020) and reached a very helpful individual working in the call center in India. He spoke English very well and was very helpful. He inquired about the circumstances and I told him all that I had done. Apparently, the product key will not work from an upgrade disc on a "clean install" without some help from Microsoft. He instructed me to remove the product key from the field and proceed without it.

Once the computer restarted again he had me run a program called msdt. You can find it by entering it in the search box in the Start Menu and pressing Enter. It asks for a passkey from the support personnel. I entered it and Windows activated and the installation was need of the XP product key. I asked about entering the XP key and he indicated it would not be needed. I asked about replicating the process later if need be and he indicated that the passkey he gave me should work if the hardware was the same. However, he said they would gladly re-issue the passkey if needed.

So, do you want to install Windows 7 on a budget? Buy the upgrade disc and call support. I'm assuming the Microsoft is just glad I paid for a couldn't be that much trouble to program in a request for the XP product key, could it?