Problem with windows installation

I've got a friend who recently purchased a new PC. Don't ask me how, but he somehow messed up and got an upgrade edition of Windows 7 rather than a new version. He installed (custom install) and got to the point where he has to enter his product key, which obviously doesn't work as it's a brand new PC. So he ordered a retail copy which is due to arrive soon. But will he be able to just enter his product key in the partial upgrade installation, or does he need to do something else?

It's such a bizarre situation I just can't come up with a sensible answer...
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  1. He purchased a new PC and it came with an upgrade edition? Or did he build his new PC and purchased the upgrade? As long as he has a previous copy of XP or Vista, he can use that as a valid license for the upgrade. However, you have to have XP or Vista installed on the PC and activated in order for the Windows 7 installation to work.

    However, there are work arounds to allow a clean install without having to have XP or Vista installed first, but because I don't know if he has a previous copy, all I can say is you can have him Google how to do it. Otherwise, installing and using the Upgrade edition of Windows 7 w/o a previous copy of XP or Vista is violating the license agreement with Windows 7.

    If he doesn't have a previous copy, then he'll have to wait until his full copy comes in and then he can use that key without having to reinstall Windows 7.
  2. He purchased the upgrade separately, because he could get an employee rebate at certain stores.

    He has a copy of Vista lying around, but when he boots up the PC, even with the Windows Vista disk in it, he re-enters the 7 installation process a few steps before the point where he has to enter his product key (at the point where he has to enter his desired username I believe).

    And yes, I know there are ways of installing an upgrade version on a new Pc, but they're illegal and I nor he like that...

    But when the retail copy arrives he can simply enter the product key, even with the upgrade version partially installed (up to the point where the product key has to be entered?)
  3. Best answer
    Yup. As for the work arounds, as long he has a copy of Vista, I don't find it illegal if you do the workaround, which usually consists of installing Windows 7, not entering the key and then performing an upgrade within Windows 7 which means reinstalling Windows 7 over Windows 7 and then entering the key. It works. Or, he install Vista, activates it and then upgrades it to Windows 7. You don't do a clean install over Vista, it MUST be an upgrade.

    But, since he already has the retail full version on order, then yes, he can just enter the key and it should work. I know that I was using my MSDN version for testing purposes (my MSDN license doesn't allow me to use it for production use, only testing). Once my copy of Windows 7 came in, I just change the key on my MSDN version to the Upgrade key and it took. I have a previous copy of XP and Vista, so technically, I'm not in violation of my license. Some might frown on it, but regardless, I satisfy all the requirements of having the upgrade version of Windows 7.

    The same can be said of your friend.
  4. Well, I'll tell him that he should just wait till he gets the retail copy. He's about as tech savvy as an oyster and that is the simplest and safest solution.
  5. Best answer selected by Silmarunya.
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