Windows 7 upgrade question

So I want to upgrade from XP to Windows 7. There appear to be ‘upgrade’ editions of Windows 7 that are cheaper then just buying the OS, so obviously I’d like to go that route if possible. But, I’m worried that Microsoft will limit the disk somehow so that people won’t get the “upgrade” just to do a clean install to save money. So two questions:

How does it know that I have XP on my computer already? Do I need my XP liscence number? I have the XP disk and the CD key, but I’m not sure if I still have the booklet with the liscene number on it.

And if I do successfully put Windows 7 on the computer, can I use the disk in the future for clean installs. Like if my current Hard drive blows up, and I need to buy a new one and reinstall the OS, will it let me do so even though I will obviosuly not have XP on the new HD?


You can’t use the upgrade version with XP, only Vista.

Microsoft says you can purchase the upgrade version if you have Vista or XP, but with XP you can only use it to do what basically amounts to a clean install. From their website:

But hence my question. How does Microsoft determine if I have a “genuine version of Windows XP”, and will I still be able to reinstiall the OS from the upgrade disks if I replace my current version of XP with 7.

You can do a clean install on a blank hard drive with just the upgrade media. I’ve done it myself. I had a Vista license but I hate in-place upgrades because it leaves so much junk on my HD.

The ways to do it are outlined here:

First of all, do you have a legitimate copy of XP? If so, it will just ask you for your old install CD or scan your computer for a legitimate XP product key before it installs Windows 7 as a clean upgrade. An upgrade CD is a full install CD that just has some additional checking for previous licenses on it. If you somehow ended up with a problem and it refused to install because of licensing reasons, you would have to call Microsoft. They have special support for these types of issues. The upgrade CD isn’t really disabled in any way because there are a lot of scenarios in which you may not have the old XP media or something like that but that can be worked around. Once you do the first Windows 7 install, you have the same thing as someone who bought the non-upgrade version.

Yes you can. I did. I used that super cheap deal for students though if it matters.

I did not need my XP key or anything and luckily, because it was not a legit copy. Win7 installed just fine though.

Ah, ok. You can’t do an upgrade of XP but you can use the upgrade version.

OK, sounds like I should be alright with the upgrade version. Thanks for the help.

Just to reinforce what has already been said: I owned XP home edition. I needed to upgraded to 7 Pro (or better.) I bought the upgrade version, upgraded to 7 Ultimate. It turns out to be a clean install but their tools do help migrate some data and settings. For instance, all of my cookies and passwords and stuff for Firefox migrated fine. (Do use their migration tools.)

Are you sure it asks for your old CD or key? I installed Win7 clean install on top of Vista and I never registered Vista. I skipped the part where you put the key in in Vista thinking I’d have to do it later and had no problems.

If you are just concerned about finding the original product key there are many programs out there that do this easily. And most are free

I like Product Key

Here’s a another list of free product key programs from About.Com

Related question–I bought a laptop pre-loaded with Windows 7 and now have no installation disc. If I need to install XP or some other OS on this system for software compatibility reasons, and then decide to revert it to Windows 7 later on, is there a way for me to do this? I made a system repair disc, but I don’t know if it will work the same as a normal installation disc. I would hate to accidentally permanently lose my legal installation of Windows 7 by fooling around with my laptop…

You cannot however upgrade from Windows 7 beta to Windows 7 full version. That was an irritating development…

As it happens, I had problems with my new PC which runs under Windows 7 refusing to install some of my old XP programs (in particular, my FORTRAN compiler). The problem and the solution that has worked out just fine for me is discussed in this thread.

The solution ended up being to upgrade my copy of Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional (done online in ten minutes for about $90), then installing Microsoft’s free Virtual PC and XP Mode software and installing my old FORTRAN compiler in a virtual XP PC running under Windows 7.

Works like a charm.

On my wife’s computer, she can make Windows 7 installation disks. It initially says she can use CDs or DVDs, but when she tried with CDs it wouldn’t let her, so she hasn’t actually done it yet.

Yes you can: Clicky I upgraded from Windows 7 RC to Windows 7 retail.

If this is covered elsewhere here, I apologize, but is there a good reason to upgrade to Windows 7? I have XP and it works pretty well for what we do - write a lot, surf the web occasionally, watch porn. No gaming, no elaborate CAD or anything. Is there a draw to 7 for the average user that I’m unaware of?

Internet Explorer 9 will require Windows 7, but hopefully you’re not surfing porn with IE anyway.

Uh, yeah, I am. How’s that a problem?

IE is ~60% of the browser market and therefore will be the largest target for virus and malware writers. Later versions of IE seem to be better about security, but at some point MS will stop giving attention to fixing IE8 security problems, expecting users to upgrade to W7/IE9.