Windows 7 Upgrade Guide for RC (Release Candidate) Users

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polemic

Your "workaround" delivered perfectly.  Thanks. 

 --- Sam Redman

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cheeseglue

Hmm.. maybe I'm the only one who has no issues upgrading from Win7RC. Just booted from DVD, chose clean install and voila. Activated it as soon as it finished installing. Worked on 3 systems so far...

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bootz

This method of upgrading over the Win7 RC is widely posted on the internet. Alas, like many things posted on the internet it is not true.I have tried this on three widely different machines, all of which also have a valid/activated copy of XP or Vista installed on another bootable partition, and it simply DOES NOT WORK.

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Gary LJ

Since reading the information pertainng to using the upgrade Win7 disc to perform a clean install on a fresh drive, I am not clear if the program key should be entered or skipped during the install process?  I have been working with a spare HHD off line to test your procedures on my computer.  I loaded Win7 and skipped entering the program key.  I made the registry correction to MediaBootInstall and re-armed the activation sequence.  I then rebooted and entered my program key and received the dreaded error 0xC004F061.  I read through the posts and noticed a post indicating that creating a Windows.old file in the root directory had worked to accomplish activation.  When I looked in the rooot directory Windows.old file was already there, along with a temp folder both dated prior to the Win7  installation.  I thought that the HHD was completely blank, but I can only imagine that the two files were from prior use of the HHD.  I deleted the temp file and the two entries in the Windows.old file.  This file then updated to the date of my Win 7 installation.  I then re-armed the activation sequence, rebooted and entered my program key.  Since I was off line, I received the notification that Win7 could not connect to accomplish activation.  However, it passed the edits built into Win7 and I believe it would have activated if I had connected to the internet. My concerns are not at the present time, as I have an activated retail version of XP installed on my primary HHD, and I can use the MS method to install Win7, although I am not happy with that method.  My concerns are with what will happen in the future if I should need to replace the motherboard or make other repairs or upgrades to the computer that would require the OS to be re-installed.  I understand from reading the MS Win7 forums that the XP key is not deactivated with the Win7 upgrade, but it is limited to use only on the computer on which Win7 upgrade was installed.  Normally, after a Mobo swap I would be able to re-install my version of XP, however, now that I have used XP for the upgrade to Win7 and it is dedicated to the Mobo that was in use at the time of upgrade, I am of the understanding that I would not be able to re-install XP, on the new Mobo to perform the re-install of Win7.  If this is true it certainly isn't right.  I believe the upgrade procedure was poorly handled by MS.  I understand their concerns to prevent piracy; however, when they invent a procedure that makes upgrade by a legal user difficult and extremely time consuming it seems questionable if the upgrade version is a viable option.  It might well be better to discontinue the upgrade version and lower the price on the full version.  There must be a better method for MS to verify ownership of a previous OS.  To require installation and activation of an old OS to enable upgrade to a new OS is just too much to ask of legal users.  In addition, I own a second computer that I recently rebuilt, new Mobo, CPU, memory, and HHDs.  I installed Win7RC on this computer.  It was previously running an OEM copy of XP which I had purchased with a new HHD.  This copy of XP was already in use on a second Mobo, a call to MS allowed activation on the second board without a lot of hassle.  However, since this copy of XP was alredy on a second Mobo, I decided to bite the bullet and purchased a full version of Win7 to upgrade this computer.  I am not trying to beat the system or anything else;  I just want to be able to use my copy of Win7 upgrade in the future, should I need to re-install the OS.  I also believe the present upgrade procedure required by MS is asking too much of the legal users.  I have subscribed to MaximumPC for several years, I enjoy reading the magazine, and I have ofter found answers to my computer problems.  Keep up the good work. This was a good article that might provide and option for me in the future.  Thanks!

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mrk4me

mrk4me - I recently installed Win 7 HP 64-bit after ordering the pre-pay upgrade in July.  I recently upgraded much of my hardware and had been running Vista HP and Win 7 RC 7600 in dual-boot mode.  My upgrade came with both 32- and 64-bit disks.   Trying to experiment, I loaded the 64-bit as a new install and was surprised to find it loaded without a problem.  I was even able to activate it.  My real question now is:  Can I use my 32-bit disk for my laptop if I've already used the product key for my 64-bit install?  Any input would be appreciated.

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mdkplus

Microsoft only allows the key to be used for one computer, whether you chose the 64 or 32 bit. So, in short, no.

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lostcause64

I have to say thank you for this article! Due to my financial situation right now, I won't be upgrading from the Win7 64bit RC I've been running since it released for a while yet. However, I've been working on a solution to get my scanning functions to work on my HP c4580 AIO printer. I'd been able to get printing to work fine with limited drivers I could find on HP's site, but no scanning capability. With Win7's official release, I decided to check HP again for a specific driver meant for my system and sure enough it was there... Except it will not install on my older version of Windows 7. It errors out saying I must have version 7600 or newer to install this driver. Then I remembered this article and did some digging. Sure enough, I found what I needed in the Autorun file, similar to what you describe in this article, and changing the 7600 to 7100 in two different lines has netted me properly working drivers and software for my printer. I've always been a hardware guy, so this area was very new to me, but it worked like a charm.

 

Thanks again!

John

Have you ever wondered why intelligence can normally be found in an individual, but runs screaming in terror from a group? Though, there are exceptions...

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dark218

I know the differences, but there's one I can't clear up:

 

 I know with OEM versions you can't install again with another motherboard, but is this true for the Upgrade version, too?  Unless I'm mistaken, this can be done with the Retail version.

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mkarias1

 Check out this article.  Not sure if this really works but perhaps someone can comment on this.  This guy claims to do a clean install using W7 upgrade without the need of having a prior installed OS (Vista, XP 0r W7 RC).  It can save you from doing double install.  

 I will try this once I get my copy of Home Premium.  I do have Windows XP already installed but I bought a new hard drive and want to install W7 on the new hard drive. 

http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_media.asp

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exaltedbladder

Wait, but I heard that because the RC is Windows 7 Ultimate you can only upgrade to Ultimate and not Home Premium. Is this true? Because I'll get the Family Pack if I can upgrade from Ultimate to Home.

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exaltedbladder

okay thanks for the info guys!

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unitymind

I used the family pack as listed on the forms and below. Not a problem at all - did a clean install with it. No hacks or anything. Just had the RC installed and active (which I have been using for months) - drop in your disk and do a custom install to delete and reformat. Perfect!

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penguinboy

There's directions here: http://icrontic.com/articles/upgrade-the-windows-7-rc-to-retail

I wouldn't be surprised if you run into more oddities going this way though.  I successfully did it going from the RC to Enterprise and haven't had any problems in the few hours I've used it, but for all practical purposes Enterprise is also Ultimate.

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arkarkwin

I got myself $39.99 upgrade coupon from microcenter in the summer. Since I also bought a new HD for my Dell xps 435, I did the clean install. I tried putting the old vista 64 key after I used it for one day and it didn't work so I put a key I found it in Window7 upgrade. I want to know why my old cd key didn't work because the way I understand is that this is the THE upgrade version, right!so why it is acting like a stand alone product?

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skhills

The install doesn't care about your old windows XP/Vista keys.  You just have to have an activated copy of windows on your system to use the upgrade version, then you can use your Windows 7 upgrade key.

 I am glad that it acts as a standalone product because when I reinstall 7 every once in a while, I don't want to have to reinstall XP or Vista first.  It may be that a clean install will also work with the upgrade DVD on a blank hard drive in a new system, but that doesn't matter because no one should be trying to use the upgrade version as a full version.  If you're going to do a new build, get the OEM full version for about the same price as the retail upgrade.

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BaggerX

Is this saying that it's possible for me to upgrade my x64 RC system to the full x64 RTM version (from Technet) without having to reinstall all my stuff?

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skhills

"...if you don't mind the risk of additional headaches down the line."

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MeTo

I ran compatibility check and my HP C4480 all in one has a ? by it and my back up software won't work with Win 7 so uninstall it before you install win 7. I will stick with Vista i am tired of the upgrade games of Microsoft. Could be they will get it right with Win 8 at least that is what we always here wait till the next version.

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mkarias1

That is incorrect.  I have a HP C4480 and the compability check confirmed it is good.

If you are still leery, check out HP's website.  The drivers for W7 are there:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareCategory?lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&product=3418705&lang=en&

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Skillz_n_Magic

Get a new backup program.  It's not MS's fault the software you use doesn't have an update....or does it.  I bet you didn't even check before you posted.

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windbane

You can upgrade to the retail version of Win7 with the upgrade dvd. You just have to do a custom install, which will put your old user and windows files into a folder called windows.old, and then proceed to install a fresh copy of itself. I did two installs this weekend of the Win7 upgrade, and everything is purring along nicely!

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skhills

I went from 32 bit RC to 64 bit upgrade version.  It does require a clean install, so back up anything you care about.  If you try to use the 64 bit upgrade disk from the desktop of a 32 bit version of windows, it will give you an error message.  I booted from the 64 bit upgrade disc and went through the installation.  When it asked for my product key during installation, I left the field blank and continued  (this is probably not necessary).  After I was into my desktop, I manually activated using my upgrade key with no problems.

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unitymind

Really - 64bit is the only way to go imo - add more memory and I have not had any problems finding driver for newer hardware which most of us who even look in MaxPC direction usally have anyway. 64 is also snappier - running a i7 with 6gigs in tri is just fun with Photoshop/Lightroom 2.

Any games I would play today also work just fine - Warcraft, Left for Dead.

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TechJunkie

I was running the 64bit RC version of win 7 ultimate and popped in the 64bit home premium upgrade version and it Said it couldn't do an inplace upgrade and must do a clean install. So I did the clean install and after it finished, it let me activate it without any problems.

I then used the backup app included with win 7 to do an image burn of my system onto DVD. This way, I can have a clean install without having to load any OS.

 

 

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FRAGaLOT

Using an imaged backup is only useful if you're using the exact same hardware, as you had when you first got Win7. Honestly I don't go around reinstalling Windows that often, maybe once every six months to a year. In that time your PC would have evolved, been upgraded, added new hardware, etc. In fact if you upgraded/changed your motherboard, or built a new PC you don't WANT to use that old imaged version of win7.

It will be
a huge headache since you'll get driver errors since your hardware has changed. Drivers will be outdated by then. and service packs would likely have been released
already making it more troublesome than if you just followed these simple workarounds, with a CLEAN install, allowing you to install new drivers and aps normally rather than dealing with constant error popups and system instablitly and slowness because you used an old image backup.

Also, if you installed Win7 Retail with your old windows install already on your hard drive, be sure to DELETE the "windows.old" folder, which is a backed up copy of your old OS before you installed windows 7.  It's probably taking up about 100GB, and likely ended up in your imaged backup just wasting space.

 

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kowal

I preordered the 49.99 upgrade copy last summer when it was on special.......Then i was lucky enough to be chosen as a "house party" host so i got the free copy of "ultimate" too.

I installed the "ultimate" free edition on my desktop gaming rig......i had xp-mce 2005 installed on my HTPC and wanted to install the upgrade version on it.....but i wanted to dual boot with my HTPC xp-mce/seven........so i created a partition for seven on HTPC and proceded to install seven on it.....the only problem i had ....was when i attempted to activate it online.....i was denied and prompted to do the annoying call in avtivation method.

I did the call in "annoying" method and all went good .....i now have the "ultimate seven" on my desktop/gaming rig.......and XP-mce/seven updrade on my home theater pc.

So that is my experience.........i realy like the netflix streaming incorporated into the meda center of 7.

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downlinx

What happens if you just bought pro edition and didnt buy the ulitmate edition 64 bit. will it get rid of all the unnecissary files from the RC ulimtate.

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unitymind

I was running RC 64 Ultimate on 2 computers and did a clean install with Win7 RC on computer easily. I bought a family pack home Win7 64 and just dropped the disk in the computer turned it on. I selected custom and deleted any parts and formatted a few times. Went through the rest of the set up and skipped adding CD key etc. Just made a login with PW. Updated all that Windows had on site and restarted. Entered CD key & Activated Windows and everything went smooth. No problems at all and installed on a clean disk. Search turned up no widows.old. Glad I could do it off of that instead of going back to load Vista/XP OEM's.

Installing 64 over 32 you will have to do a clean install and the same goes for the other way. Vista is the only in place upgrade I know of that works with Win7 install but has to be the same bit 32/64 or you we have to do a clean install. XP users must do a clean install.

Doing a clean install is really the best way to do if you can. Just move all your files you want to keep onto another hard drive or USB key and format the "C" etc for you main operating system.

I have a core i7 system and Windows found just about everything right away with exception of updated video drivers for Nvidia.

What I did here: http://www.maximumpc.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=99327

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pjehyun

cool, thanks

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pjehyun

if im using 32 bit RC then is it possible to do this with a 64-bit install disc?

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noobstix

As mentioned in the above posts (as well as some posts in the past), you can go from a 32-bit to 64-bit but only via a clean install.  If you try and do a simple in-place upgrade, it'll give you a message about not being able to do it.

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