Upgrading from RTM to Professional

Hi guys,

My windows 7 x64 RTM trial just expired, and I am getting the "you must activate this product" message.

My boss gave me info for the MSDN account we have, and I downloaded the Win 7 x64 VL professional build.

I have a bunch of applications, each with their own cached data (not all programs have an easy profile export like mozilla's software) and I would really hate to reinstall all of them.

I have been using a 60gb SSD for my C drive, but also have a 186GB E drive for storage (separate IDE HD). I've been running low on space lately with the SSD and have been installing some applications on my E drive.

I know when I install applications, they often make a registry entry...but I would really like to have a separate hard drive with all my applications so that I can reformat as often as I wish without having to reinstall 300 programs...

I have 3 questions:

Do I need to reinstall in order to use my VL professional build license keys? (I also have 1 enterprise key)

Is it possible to have applications on a separate hard drive - that persist after a clean install of the O/S on the C drive? Is it possible to copy portions of the registry (aka whatever entries the applications have made)? So that I don't have to reinstall my applications every time I reformat my C drive?

Would it greatly affect my load times / FPS in video games if I install them on a separate (slower IDE) hard drive from my O/S?

Please keep in mind that I am a gamer with a good deal of IT / Development experience. Writing a windows script that stores registry info would not be beyond me if I had some hand-holding.


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  1. Best answer
    1) You can try to enter your VL Pro or Enterprise key, but I suspect it won't work. Most copies of Win7 downloaded before its official release were installed as Ultimate. A Pro or Enterprise key won't activate Ultimate. Now, if you can burn the downloaded Win7 Pro VL to a disk, you can probably use it to do an "Upgrade" install with, in which case it will transfer everything to the new installation of Pro.

    2) Because of the Registry issue, any program that relies on the Registry to run will not work after a clean install. (An Upgrade install as mentioned in 1 will preserve that data.) It is possible to back up the entire Registry: within regedit, and with no keys or folders selected, click File>Export. That will export the entire Registry into a single file that can then be restored to another Windows installation. The problem is that, if anything is the slightest bit different, it can cause problems to restore an exact copy of an old Registry. There will be irrelevant entries, wrong paths, etc. I wouldn't recommend it. But if you do want to try, use CCleaner to clean up the Registry after restoring it to the reinstalled Windows. Note that you absolutely should not backup and restore registries between different versions of Windows (e.g., RTM Ultimate>Pro, x64>x86, etc.).

    3) It depends on how much slower the IDE drive is, and how demanding on the HDD that particular game is. Certainly going from an SSD to an IDE mechanical drive will affect load times, but if the IDE drive doesn't have much other input/output it should be bearable. (Would be for me; I don't know how impatient you are! :D ) Use something like HDTune to benchmark the two drives in their read speeds and access times to see approximately the difference. Regarding FPS, you would see basically no difference. Games, once loaded, are not very taxing on the HDD unless the system is so low on RAM that is has to rely on the pagefile. If you have at least 4GB of RAM on a 64-bit OS (you should list those portions of your system specs in your Member Configuration, btw), you should be fine on this point.
  2. Best answer selected by ampedal.
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