How can I reinstall Windows 7 when I upgraded from Windows Vista and only have the upgrade version?

Bob W. December 31, 2010

My hard drive is failing and I’m not sure how to reinstall Windows 7. I upgraded from Windows Vista and I only have the upgrade version of Windows 7.

I plan on getting a new hard drive. My files are backed up and I created a “Windows 7 Repair Disk.” Not sure how to go through the process of getting my computer back to normal without spending for another Windows 7 DVD.

  1. Anonymous
    January 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    The deal with upgrade media is simple, an existing, and activated copy of Windows must exist on the hard drive prior to installation, or be prepared to start over.

    Upgrade disc are generally meant for those who are upgrading from a previous operating system. If you perform a clean install using the upgrade media and try activating Windows, it wont work. There is a way arround

    open regedit.exe with Start Menu Search and navigate to:


    Change MediaBootInstall from "1" to "0".

    Open the Start Menu again and type cmd to display a shortcut to the Command Line utility. Right-click this shortcut and choose "Run as administrator." Handle the UAC prompt.

    In the command line window, type: slmgr /rearm

    Then tap ENTER, close the command line window and reboot. When Windows 7 reboots, run the Activate Windows utility, type in your product key and activate windows.


  2. Mike
    January 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

    The Windows 7 Upgrade DVD is no different from the "Full Install" DVD.

    Basically you can perform a full clean install using the same DVD by selecting "Custom Installation" instead of "Upgrade".

    The only pointers I want to give at that point is to NOT enter the Upgrade Key during installation and DO NOT let Windows activate automatically. Boot into Windows 7 after the installation and try activating your product from there.

    "Using the Custom installation option if no operating system is installed" at

    If default Activation says your key is invalid read up on the following article

    For everyone else reading up on this ~ information is provided assuming you legally qualify for an Upgrade installation.