Friday, February 3, 2012

Clean Install of Windows 7 with Upgrade Media

A few weeks ago I made a decision. I decided to upgrade my crappy HP Pavilion dv6000 laptop. Yup, you're quite right - that was a mistake.

My plan was to replace the laptop's internal 60GB hard-drive with a shiny new 320GB Western Digital 3.5'' hard-drive, and then setup a dual boot system with Windows 7 and Debian GNU/Linux.

After some research, I concluded that the safest way to setup a dual boot system would be to first install a vanilla Windows 7 system, check that it works right, and only then complicate matters by installing Debian.

Now, about a year and half ago, my wife purchased MS Office 2010 through her workplace, at a considerable discount. It came bundled with a Windows 7 Ultimate upgrade installation media, which remained lying in some drawer ever since, gathering dust. I was really itching to use it.

But scratching that itch required me to solve two problems: a legal one (am I allowed to do this?) and a technical one: according to the installation instructions, and unlike previous versions, the Windows 7 upgrade installer seems to require a working OS to already be installed on the target system. The prospect of first installing Windows XP and then upgrading to Windows 7, did not appeal to me one bit. A quick search provided me with a way out of this - I'd still need to perform a "double-install", but of Windows 7 only:
  1. when prompted by the Windows 7 installer, select a "custom" install - do not, at any time, enter any code, activate, or update the OS
  2. reboot when instructed to do so
  3. re-install from the same installation media, but this time "upgrade" the existing installation, and again, do not enter any code, activate, or update the OS
  4. reboot when instructed to do so
  5. activate the OS using the activation key provided with the installation media
  6. update the OS
and it seems that it's perfectly legal, as long as you do own a full version of an older Microsoft OS.

To be continued...

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