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VISTA ULTIMATE UPGRADE activation problem

Posted on 2015-01-01
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Last Modified: 2015-01-01
I am soooo frustrated with MicroSoft right now! A customers machine had a problem with the Hard Drive, I backed up data, did a low level format of the drive. He had Vista Ultimate Upgrade, so I installed a temp copy of Vista Home Prem, and then from Windows ran the upgrade.

Everything worked fine. I bypassed activating for the moment, and got Data transferred.

I'm getting ready to take the machine back, I attempted to activate. It comes up with an error saying I can't activate because the key is for an Upgrade not a Full Version! I went round and round with MicroSoft. Even though the copy checks out, their only solution was for me to either pay $99 for another Vista Ultimate, or $149 for the Tech to logon to my computer and modify some registry keys!

So, I'm pleading! Does anyone know what the registry keys are to change so the OS thinks it's an Upgrade instead of a Full Version?
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Question by:StarThunder
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40526733
I think this is because Vista is dead. I tried upgrading a Vista Starter machine a year ago and it could not be upgraded (confirmed with Microsoft at the time). I was able to fix the machine to keep the user going.

Now a year later, you need to upgrade from Vista to something newer.
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Expert Comment

by:n2fc
ID: 40526741
Something sounds fishy, as it seems you followed the correct procedure below (but I would try this again):

To do this, just open Computer and double click on the icon for the DVD drive that contains the Vista Upgrade media. Run Setup again, this time from within Vista. Choose Install Now, and then "Do not get the latest updates for installation" in the next screen. Then, in the now-familiar Product Key phase, enter your product key. It's on the back of the pull-out Vista packaging. You can choose to automatically activate Windows when online or not, it's your choice. In the next screen, accept the Windows EULA.

Now, choose the Upgrade option. Windows will install as before, though you might notice that it takes quite a bit longer this time. (Upgrade installs seem to take up to 45 minutes, compared to 30 minutes or less with clean installs, and reboots at least one additional time.)

Source: http://winsupersite.com/article/windows-vista2/how-to-clean-install-windows-vista-with-upgrade-media-128230

Additional questions that may have caused issues:
1) Are you using the proper "bit-type"? i.e. 32 vs. 64 bit versions?
2) Which version of Vista is the key you are using?  Are you (for example) attempting to activate an Ultimate with a Home key?  THAT WILL NOT WORK!
3) You can ONLY upgrade "up"... Seems obvious... but you cannot do an "upgrade" from Ultimate to Home !

Note also:  All legitimate Vista install disks contain all versions of Vista!  You select the version you need based upon the key you are using, but the DVD itself contains the material to install ALL versions!
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Author Comment

by:StarThunder
ID: 40526774
Thanks for your answers so far...

The original OS was Vista Home Premium 64Bit, I used the Vista Ultimate 64Bit Disk.
The key is the Yellow Label inside the Vista Ultimate Container.

I would think that if MicroSoft can go into the registry to change it from showing FULL VERSION to UPGRADE. Someone must know how to do that. I know it sounds strange, but I did follow the right procedure, and John you may have the unfortunate answer.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40526780
If you get a copy of Recover Keys, it may show you the KEY you need. (Possibly)
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Accepted Solution

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n2fc earned 500 total points
ID: 40526787
This procedure might be what you need...
Since you refer to this as a "customer's PC" I presume you are comfortable with editing the registry...

1. Run the registry editor (regedit)
2. Find the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE
3. Change the value for MediaBootInstall from 1 to 0
4. Open an elevated command prompt (run as admin)
5. Run the following command: slmgr -rearm
6. Reboot

Note: In step 3 above, you MAY also need to change RetailInstall from “1” to “0”
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Author Closing Comment

by:StarThunder
ID: 40526804
Wow!

That did the trick!

Successful Activation of Windows Vista!

Thanks all for your comments.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40526826
StarThunder - I am glad to know you got Vista working. Good news.
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Author Comment

by:StarThunder
ID: 40526985
Thanks John... :)
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