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XP->Win7 using upgrade media when old OS is broken RRS feed

  • Question

  • I bought a windows 7 upgrade DVD and I intend to use it to make a custom/clean installation on a computer that currently has a broken XP installation on it.

    I have not tried to install it yet because read in the upgrade FAQs that if an old OS is not present, Windows 7 can't be activated, so before starting I'd like to know whether I need to fix my XP installation before I start the windows 7 installation, or whether it is enough that the old files are on the HD for the installation program to identify that the computer has a previous OS on it. What parts of the old OS must be present for the new installation using an upgrade DVD to succeed and what might make it fail?

    Thursday, May 3, 2012 7:18 AM

Answers

  • "To install an upgrade version of Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP must be installed on your computer. If you formatted the drive before starting the installation process, you won't be able to use the upgrade product key to activate Windows 7. To activate Windows 7, you'll  need to install your previous version of Windows, and then reinstall Windows 7".

    Ref: Microsoft Article ID: MSW700057  Windows 7 activation error: invalid product key


    Carey Frisch

    Thursday, May 3, 2012 7:48 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Thank you. What I was trying to figure out was what was necessary for the upgrade process to recognize the old installation, and whether problems in the old installation might prevent it from being recognized. The article you mentioned seems helpful. Thank you very much.
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 9:15 AM
  • Yes, an upgrade Setup does require recognition of a qualifying copy of Windows.  Windows 7 upgrade Setup requires you to keep XP on the hard drive before starting the upgrade.  Do NOT format the drive first.  Start the computer with the dvd and then enter your product key.  Setup will search the computer and find XP and then it will let you proceed.  There will not be a message.  It will simply let you proceed.  You can use the Disk Tools to partition and format the target drive once you reach the installation type screen and see the Disk Tools link in the lower right since the verification process will already be done.

    While Dominic is correct that only ownership of a qualifying license is required, doing a classic clean installation (formatting first) will cause issues and you may have to use phone activation.  It is much simpler to let Setup work the way it is written.  It is written with a typical user in mind, who knows little about preping and formatting a drive.  You can still do it, just don't get things out of order and Windows 7 will activate online without any further fuss.


    Colin Barnhorst Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on DIY with 6GB ram.



    Thursday, May 3, 2012 2:49 PM
    Answerer
  • "Cbarnhorst" wrote in message news:927990a1-b3b0-4a44-9bbc-a3db87288168...

    Yes, an upgrade Setup does require recognition of a qualifying copy of Windows.  Windows 7 upgrade Setup requires you to keep XP on the hard drive before starting the upgrade.  Do NOT format the drive first.  Start the computer with the dvd and then enter your product key.  Setup will search the computer and find XP and then it will let you proceed.  There will not be a message.  It will simply let you proceed.  You can use the Disk Tools to partition and format the target drive once you reach the installation type screen and see the Disk Tools link in the lower right since the verification process will already be done.

    While Dominic is correct that only ownership of a qualifying license is required, doing a classic clean installation (formatting first) will cause issues and you may have to use phone activation.  It is much simpler to let Setup work the way it is written.  It is written with a typical user in mind, who knows little about preping and formatting a drive.  You can still do it, just don't get things out of order and Windows 7 will activate online without any further fuss.


    Colin Barnhorst Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on DIY with 6GB ram.



     
     
    With respect, Colin.....
    The 'Clean install using Upgrade media' route is well-established and supported by MS - and if done properly does not require any phone-call to MS.
     
    There is NO need to install the qualifying system prior to the upgrade (and in fact I would recommend against it, in the case of Vista as qualifier).
     
    The legal requirement is that you possess a qualifying license - NOT that it is installed.
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 7:33 PM
    Moderator
  • I am well aware of the legal requirement and you know that.  He is not reinstalling XP.  It is already there.  It is easier to let Setup work the way it is written. 

    Colin Barnhorst Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on DIY with 6GB ram.

    Thursday, May 3, 2012 7:44 PM
    Answerer
  • "To install an upgrade version of Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP must be installed on your computer. If you formatted the drive before starting the installation process, you won't be able to use the upgrade product key to activate Windows 7. To activate Windows 7, you'll  need to install your previous version of Windows, and then reinstall Windows 7".

    Ref: Microsoft Article ID: MSW700057  Windows 7 activation error: invalid product key


    Carey Frisch

    Thursday, May 3, 2012 7:48 PM
    Moderator
  • While I don't have any problem if bdyn, Colin, Noel and Carey wish to continue troubleshooting this issue in this thread.  However, I just wanted to point out that the 'Install, Upgrade and Activate' section of the Windows 7 Answers Forum (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install) would be a more appropriate place for the discussion. 

    Thank you,


    Darin MS

    Thursday, May 3, 2012 8:08 PM
  • Thank you all for your answers. I learned what to expect and what to do if things don't go as they should and now I am ready to go ahead and install the new operating system.

    I still haven't got an answer (which is now more a matter of curiosity than of practical necessity) to the question what it is that the upgrade process looks for on the HD to determine that an older version of windows is installed: whether it is certain files, or all the files that make up a full operating system, or specific registry keys that attest a previous operating system was successfully activated, etc.

    As to whether the question should have been asked on another forum - I am sorry, this is the first time I am using this site, I am not so familiar with it yet, so I may have not chosen the most appropriate forum. As far as I can see I am not able to move the discussion somewhere else by myself.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 6:27 AM
  • I don't know if Microsoft publishes that or that they even need to.  Older versions of Setup verified the existence of some core files but I haven't seen anything on the subject since XP. 

    Colin Barnhorst Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on DIY with 6GB ram.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 6:41 AM
    Answerer
  • To attempt to answer your question, the installer looks to check that the OS it is upgrading is properly validated, and a qualifying OS for the install - nothing more.


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth

    Sunday, May 6, 2012 10:34 AM
    Moderator