Clean install with Dell branded Vista Upgrade

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Bob Levine, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. Bob Levine

    Bob Levine Guest

    I'm not planning on installing this upgrade for a while, but I would
    like to know if anyone has tried doing this as a clean install.

    Of course the direction from Dell don't mention the install it and then
    install it over itself workaround which I'm well aware of, but I'm
    wondering if that will even work with this disk.

    Bob Levine, Mar 12, 2007
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  2. Bob Levine

    Hank Arnold Guest

    Google for install instructions. You basically can't do it directly.

    Hank Arnold
    Hank Arnold, Mar 13, 2007
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  3. Bob Levine

    Bob Levine Guest

    As I said, I'm aware of the workaround for clean installs with retail
    upgrade disks. But I've not used a Dell branded CD for a Vista install
    and I'd like to get some feedback from those who have.

    Bob Levine, Mar 13, 2007
  4. Bob Levine

    buddyb Guest

    Brian Livingston is editorial director of the Windows Secrets Newsletter
    and the co-author of Windows Vista Secrets and 10 other books.


    Use Vista's 'upgrade' version to clean-install

    The secret is that the setup program in Vista's upgrade version will
    accept an installed copy of XP, W2K, or an unactivated copy of Vista
    itself as evidence of a previous installation.

    This enables you to "clean install" an upgrade version of Vista to any
    formatted or unformatted hard drive, which is usually the preferred
    method when installing any new operating system. You must, in essence,
    install Vista twice to take advantage of this trick. But Vista installs
    much faster than XP, so it's quicker than installing XP followed by
    Vista to get the upgrade price.

    Before you install Vista on a machine that you don't know is 100%
    compatible, you should run Microsoft's free Upgrade Advisor. This
    program — which operates only on 32-bit versions of XP and Vista (plus
    Vista Enterprise) — reports to you on any hardware or software it finds
    that may be incompatible with Vista. See Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor

    Also, to see which flavors of XP Home, XP Pro, and 2000 officially
    support in-place installs and clean installs of the different Vista
    editions, see Microsoft's upgrade paths page.

    Here's a simplified overview of the steps that are required to
    clean-install the upgrade version of Vista:

    Step 1. Boot the PC from the Vista DVD.

    Step 2. Select "Install Now," but do not enter the Product Key from the
    Vista packaging. Leave the input box blank. Also, turn off the option
    Automatically activate Windows when I'm online. In the next dialog box
    that appears, confirm that you really do want to install Vista without
    entering a Product Key.

    Step 3. Correctly indicate the version of Vista that you're installing:
    Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate.

    Step 4. Select the "Custom (Advanced)" install, not the "Upgrade"

    Step 5. Vista copies files at length and reboots itself one or more
    times. Wait for the install to complete. At this point, you might think
    that you could "activate" Vista, but you can't. That's because you
    haven't installed the Vista upgrade yet. To do that, run the DVD's
    setup.exe program again, but this time from the Vista desktop. The
    easiest way to start setup again is to eject and then reinsert the DVD.

    Step 6. Click "Install Now." Select Do not get the latest updates for
    installation. (You can check for these updates later.)

    Step 7. This time, do enter the Product Key from the Vista packaging.
    Once again, turn off the option Automatically activate Windows when I'm

    Step 8. On this second install, make sure to select "Upgrade," not
    "Custom (Advanced)." You're not doing a clean install now, you're
    upgrading to Vista.

    Step 9. Wait while Vista copies files and reboots itself. No user
    interaction is required. Do not boot from the DVD when asked if you'd
    like to do so. Instead, wait a few seconds and the setup process will
    continue on its way. Some DOS-like, character-mode menus will appear,
    but don't interact with them. After a few seconds, the correct choice
    will run for you automatically.

    Step 10. After you click a button labeled Start in the Thank You dialog
    box, Vista's login screen will eventually appear. Enter the username and
    password that you selected during the first install. You're done
    upgrading to Vista.

    Step 11. Within 30 days, you must "activate" your copy of Vista or it'll
    lose functionality. To activate Vista, click Show more details in the
    Welcome Center that automatically displays upon each boot-up, then click
    Activate Windows now. If you've dismissed the Welcome Center, access the
    correct dialog box by clicking Start, Control Panel, System &
    Maintenance, System. If you purchased a legitimate copy of Vista, it
    should quickly activate over the Internet. (You can instead activate by
    calling Microsoft on the phone, which avoids your PC exchanging
    information with Microsoft's server.)

    I'm not going into detail today on the merits of buying Vista at retail
    instead of buying a cheaper OEM copy. (The OEM offerings don't entitle
    you to call Microsoft for support, while the retail packages do.) Also,
    I'm not touching here on the least-expensive way to buy Vista, which is
    to take advantage of Microsoft's "educational" rate. I'll describe both
    of these topics in next week's newsletter.

    Why does Vista's secret setup exist?

    It's reasonable for us to ask ourselves whether buying an upgrade
    version of Vista, and then installing it to an empty hard disk that
    contains no previous version of Windows, is ethical.

    I believe it is. Microsoft itself created the upgrade process. The
    company designed Vista to support upgrading it over a previously
    installed copy of XP, W2K Pro, or Vista itself. This isn't a black-hat
    hacker exploit. It's something that's been deliberately programmed into
    the approved setup routine.

    Microsoft spent years developing and testing Vista. This upgrade trick
    must have been known to many, many people within the development team.
    Either Microsoft planned this upgrade path all along, knowing that
    computer magazines and newsletters (like this one) would widely
    publicize a way to "save money buying Vista." Or else some highly placed
    coders within the Vista development team decided that Vista's "full"
    price was too high and that no one should ever have to pay it. In either
    case, Vista's setup.exe is Microsoft's official install routine, and I
    see no problem with using it exactly as it was designed.

    We should also think about whether instances of Vista that were
    installed using the clean-install method will continue to operate. I
    believe that this method will continue to be present in Vista DVDs at
    least until Microsoft begins distributing the Service Pack 1 edition of
    Vista around fall 2007. Changing the routine in the millions of DVDs
    that are now in circulation would simply be too wrenching. And trying to
    remotely disable instances of Vista that were clean-installed — even if
    it were technically possible to distinguish them — would generate too
    many tech-support calls and too much ill will to make it worthwhile.

    Installing the upgrade version of Vista, but not installing over an
    existing instance of XP or W2K, probably violates the Vista EULA
    (end-user license agreement). If you're a business executive, I wouldn't
    recommend that you flout any Windows license provisions just to save

    If you're strictly a home user, contributing editor Susan Bradley points
    out that Microsoft's so-called Vista Family Discount (VFD) is an
    economical package that avoids any license issues. If you buy a retail
    copy of Vista Ultimate, MS lets you upgrade up to two additional PCs to
    Vista Home Premium for $50 each. For example, if you buy the upgrade
    version of Ultimate for $225, the grand total after you add two Home
    Premiums is $335. That's about $133 less than buying three upgrade
    versions of Home Premium. Details are at Microsoft's VFD page.

    Microsoft did revise a Knowledge Base article, number 930985, on Jan. 31
    that obliquely refers to the upgrade situation. It simply states that an
    upgrade version of Vista can't perform a clean install when a PC is
    booted from the Vista DVD. A clean install will only work, the document
    says, when the Vista setup is run from within an older version of
    Windows (or if a full version of Vista is being used).

    This article doesn't at all deal with the fact that the Vista upgrade
    version will in fact clean-install using the steps described above.
    It'll be interesting to see whether MS ever explains why these steps
    were programmed in.

    Personally, I consider Vista's ability to upgrade over itself to be
    Digital Rights Management that actually benefits consumers. It's almost
    cosmic justice.

    I invite my readers to test Vista's undocumented clean-install method
    for themselves. There certainly must be aspects of this setup routine
    that I haven't yet discovered. I'll print the best findings from those
    sent in via our contact page. You'll receive a gift certificate for a
    book, CD, or DVD of your choice if you're the first to send in a tip
    that I print.

    I'd like to thank my co-author of Windows Vista Secrets, Paul Thurrott,
    for his research help in bringing the clean-install method to light.

    Brian Livingston is editorial director of the Windows Secrets Newsletter
    and the co-author of Windows Vista Secrets and 10 other books.
    buddy b
    buddyb, Mar 15, 2007
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