How To Install Windows 7 Upgrade On An Empty Hard Drive (Windows 7 Upgrade Clean Install)


25.10.2009

If you want to perform a clean install of Windows 7 but you only have an upgrade version, this article will provide several ways for that. Read on to find out more.

There are two license types for Windows 7: the full package product license (FPP) and the upgrade license. The upgrade license can only be used if you have a Windows Vista/XP license, while the FPP does not have this restriction.

The problem is that, in order to upgrade to Windows 7, the installer must be ran from Vista/XP and detect an active, registered version of the OS. If the Windows 7 installer does not detect a registered version of XP/Vista, you will get a “Invalid Product Key” message.

So what can you do if you want to install Windows 7 with upgrade license on an empty hard drive (a clean install)? The official method is to install the Vista/XP OS first, activate it and then run the Windows 7 setup. But this is a pain for most users.

Fortunately, there are several ways to work around this issue. This is possible mainly because the ISO Images or DVDs of the FPP and upgrade license versions are pretty much the same.

How To Install Windows 7 Upgrade On An Empty Hard Drive (Windows 7 Upgrade Clean Install)

DISCLAIMER: These steps are meant to provide solutions for those of you that possess a genuine Windows XP/ Windows Vista product key. Do not use these methods so you can buy the Windows 7 Upgrade version instead of the FPP.

Solution #1 for a clean install of Windows 7 with upgrade license:

Note: if you downloaded Windows 7 ESD installation files, you will need to create a bootable Windows 7 ISO image first.

1.Boot from the Windows 7 DVD disc (you might need to make some changes to the boot sequence so your computer boots from the DVD first).
2.Follow the instructions given by the Windows 7 Install Wizard, but do not enter the Windows 7 Upgrade product key when it asks you to.
3.Make sure the “Automatically activate Windows when I’m online” box is not checked when the option appears.
4.When the Windows 7 install process is finished, enter the Windows 7 upgrade key manually.

For most users, this is basically how to perform a clean install with Windows 7 Upgrade license. There are situations when this does not work (the “0xC004F061″ error message is shown). Fortunately, there are other ways to activate your Windows 7 with Upgrade license.

Solution #2 for installing Windows 7 (with upgrade license) on an empty drive:

1. Log in as administrator, go to Start->Run and type in “Cmd”. Press enter. An elevated command prompt should now appear.
2. Type in “slmgr -ipk “your_Windows7_upgrade_product_key” (Replace the quote with your actual Windows 7 Upgrade Product key). Press Enter.
3. Now type in “slmgr -ato” and press Enter to activate your Upgrade version of Windows 7.

This will solve the problem for a lot of users. If this did not work either, continue to solution #3.

Solution #3 for a clean install of Windows 7 with upgrade license:

1. Make sure there are no pending Windows Updates tasks.
2. Download the file here and run it.
3. Log in as administrator, go to Start->Run and type in “Cmd”. Press enter. An elevated command prompt should now appear.
4. Type “slmgr -rearm” and press enter. Now restart your computer.
5. Open the Activate Windows utility (go to the Start Search field and enter “Activate Windows”).
6. Now enter your Windows 7 upgrade product key.

Tags: windows, upgrade, install, license, enter, clean, product, there, type, version, press, activate, drive, empty, solution, does, users, first, slmgr, hard, make, start, vistaxp, work, ways, elevated, only, command, should, fortunately