How to Install a Vista Upgrade on a Blank Hard Drive

Illustration for article titled How to Install a Vista Upgrade on a Blank Hard Drive

I love Microsoft. We had just started to resign ourselves to the fact that we were going to need Windows XP on our hard drive if we ever had to reinstall our upgrade version of Vista. Then they came up with a solution left open a gaping loophole. That's right, you can install the upgrade version of Vista on a blank hard drive. The bad news? The workaround's almost as much of a pain in the ass as the original problem, requiring multiple installs...

Basically, start the setup for your upgrade version of Vista on a blank hard drive, but don't enter the product key. Instead, install it as a 30-day trial. Once Vista's up and running, run setup again, entering your product key this time. Do a clean install, then pat yourself on the back for saving $80 not having to keep XP around in case you want a new hard drive at some point.

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Act fast, cause there's no telling how long this little hole's going to stay open.

Workaround Discovered For "Clean Install" With Vista Upgrade DVDs [DailyTech via digg]

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DISCUSSION

@Gizmodo

This never crossed my mind; brilliant, really. Thanks for reporting on this.

@UoflTom

They can't determine which particular parts have or haven't been activated before. As proof, you can change enough components in your system - while still maintaining the same motherboard - that the activation gets tripped in XP.

Besides, no one has actually said the copy of XP had to be activated. You have 14 days to activate, I believe, similar to the way you have 30 days for Vista. In theory, you should be able to install a copy of XP but not activate it, and then upgrade to Vista (though you'd still need an XP CD key, but it wouldn't have to be unused since you won't use it to activate anyway).