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Windows Operating Systems Software

Install Vista Upgrade Without Preexisting XP 196

Posted by kdawson
from the loophole dept.
Johannes K. writes "It has previously been claimed that to install Windows Vista from an upgrade DVD requires having Windows XP installed on your computer. DailyTech reports on a workaround: no previous version of Windows is required at all." Anyone know whether this workaround moots the finding by LXer that during upgrade Microsoft invalidates your original XP CD-key?
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Install Vista Upgrade Without Preexisting XP

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  • Much worse (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mr. Samuel (950418) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @10:41AM (#17842762)

    Anyone know whether this workaround moots the finding by LXer that during upgrade Microsoft invalidates your original XP CD-key?

    It's actually much worse. I tried this trick and went out grocery shopping. When I returned, all the locks on my house had been changed.

  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @10:47AM (#17842844)
    Intentional or not? I wonder if this will end up increasing the value of Vista upgrade coupons on eBay, or if this will be patched before more are mailed out.

    Ryan Fenton
  • Wow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by T-Bone-T (1048702)
    Isn't this kind of thing one of the most basic ways to try to cheat the system? How could something this obvious slip through?
    • by Detritus (11846)
      You've been assimilated by the Borg. You're assuming that all customers are thieves and must be prevented from cheating by the vendor's software.

      For many software vendors, everyone get the same installation media, regardless of whether it's a full version, upgrade, or special license.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by T-Bone-T (1048702)
        Are you familiar with the saying "When you assume it makes an ass out of u and me"? In this case it is making an ass out of you. I didn't even hint that "all" customers are thieves. I'm just saying that if, for some reason, I decided to try to install the upgrade without actually upgrading this is probably the first thing I would try. This method isn't supposed to work. It is way too easy. It is so easy a caveman can do it. Most of the hacks I've seen involve changing registry values. Most of the pe
  • by Sancho (17056) * on Thursday February 01, 2007 @10:56AM (#17842972) Homepage
    I've seen many blogs that proclaim that XP keys are invalidated after upgrading with Vista. They always link to a discussion of the EULA, which claims that the license is invalidated.

    Is there any evidence whatsoever that Microsoft will invalidate XP keys for their WGA check (because they'll certainly still work to install the media) if you upgrade that installation of XP to Vista? Has anyone actually tried it?

    Certainly, Microsoft could probably link the two installations, if you do an actual upgrade. If they can do that, what do you think they'll do to 'upgrade' copies that were installed using the Vista->Vista trick? Maybe they'll wait awhile, then decide that these copies are 'pirate' installations, and lock you out of upgrades (possibly drop you down to degraded mode) until you pay a fee to convert your installation to a Full install.
    • by teslar (706653) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:06AM (#17843126)

      Is there any evidence whatsoever that Microsoft will invalidate XP keys for their WGA check (because they'll certainly still work to install the media) if you upgrade that installation of XP to Vista? Has anyone actually tried it?
      Nope. And the clause itself is nothing new, as said even on the link provided in the summary - XP had the exact same one. But hey, it sounds shocking and just the thing Evil(tm) Micro$oft would do, so it must be true.
      • by toleraen (831634) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:21AM (#17843368)
        XP had the exact same one

        The only problem is that when you upgraded to XP, MS had no way of "deactivating" your old copy of Win98, since you weren't required to register 98 to use it. Now they have the ability to flat out deny your registration of XP the next time you install. It's probably still FUD, but who knows.
        • by phayes (202222)
          +1 insightful!
        • well, *i* know. (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          installed vista upgrade over valid XP. attempted to install XP using same key on another computer - denied activation (the expected behavior, else activation would just be more useless than it already is). deinstalled vista, then attempted to install XP using the same key again - activation successful.

          ta-da.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by toleraen (831634)
            When you say "deinstall"...do you mean you formatted and just installed XP, or is there a roll-back feature built into Vista that lets you drop back? More specifically, would there be data sent to MS saying you're no longer going to use Vista? If you just formated, I assume that your ability to restinall XP was due to the way MS registers your computer. They denied your install on another box because the hardware you had registered to that key differed from what you were installing on.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gstoddart (321705)

          The only problem is that when you upgraded to XP, MS had no way of "deactivating" your old copy of Win98, since you weren't required to register 98 to use it. Now they have the ability to flat out deny your registration of XP the next time you install. It's probably still FUD, but who knows.

          See, my fears with this are what I'm usually skeptical about with 'upgrade' installs of Windows operating systems.

          They sell you the upgrade to go from the old and busted to the new hotness. You can only upgrade the old

          • by gfxguy (98788)
            Well, two days before Vista was released, I finally ran into a piece of software that wouldn't install on 2000 and required XP. So this is an incredibly interesting story to me. I ordred an XP-Pro upgrade from Newegg; one of the bonuses was that all XP packages until sometime in Febuary or March... maybe even April... entitle you to a Vista upgrade.

            So I install my XP upgrade last night, but I didn't actually install it "over" 2000... 2000 was there, but I used the XP install to delete and recreate the par
          • by gfxguy (98788)
            Oh, I should probably have thought it out a bit more before responding...

            If you can upgrade an unactivated XP, then you could buy the upgrade and use any old or pirated XP disc. But you asked about installing, and XP certainly lets you install.

            Still, with this new hack, your fears should be put to rest. And to the guy who "asked slashdot", if it's a clean install, then it can't be tied to your old key (unless you got the upgrade to free, as I mentioned in my other post, in which case I still don't know).
          • by Criterion (51515)
            I seem to remember sometime in my past, when I was still working tech support, that while doing OS upgrades we always started from scratch, and it simply asked to see the disk from the prev version. Am I halucinating, or does anyone else remember doing this specific activity?
    • It's not likely that they'll lock these out since this workaround actually came from Microsoft in the first place.

      Though I imagine it's also not impossible for them to do something to discourage people from this...
      • by Sancho (17056) *
        Most of their 'lockouts' are temporary, anyway. Call them, explain the problem, and it goes away. I guess they might not force the issue of the money, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they don't make it slightly harder on people who use this trick. After all, it effectively cuts the price of Vista for people who are willing to install it twice in a row.
  • Easier way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Agelmar (205181) * on Thursday February 01, 2007 @10:57AM (#17842982)
    If you bought Vista Ultimate, and have a 64-bit CPU, there's an even easier way... install Vista Ultimate 64-bit version.

    The 64-bit DVD booted fine and let me do a clean install from the upgrade CD. I typed in my ugprade CD key, hit next, and it prompted me to accept the license. (The 32-bit CD would not let me do a clean install, I did try that out. It said I had to start the process from within windows.)
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      since all you need is a basic xp install, isn't it simple just to do that first? It takes my machine 20 minutes to install xp.
  • Wouldn't the simpler way of ensuring a legitimate upgrade be to take your old XP key alongside the Vista upgrade key, then check them both with WGA? Considering that there's still no real Vista activation crack, it's probably even secure.
  • by james_bray (188143) * on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:02AM (#17843074) Homepage
    God I hate when submitters force you to read an entire article, so heres the important bit:

    1. Boot with the Windows Vista Upgrade DVD.
    2. Click "Install Now."
    3. Do not enter a Product Key When prompted.
    4. When prompted, select the Vista product edition that you do have.
    6. Install Vista normally.
    7. Once the install is complete, restart the DVD-based Setup from within Windows Vista. Perform an in-place upgrade. 8. Enter your Product Key when prompted.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:08AM (#17843158)
      God I hate when submitters force you to read an entire article....

      Explain this "reading an article" to us here on Slashdot.

    • by fermion (181285)
      The game MS plays with upgrades is one of the annoying thing about dealing with their products.

      The saving grace is that there is always a relatively cheap way around it, as long as you time is worth nothing.

      I recall that in the time of diskettes, when installing MS software truly was a day long labor intensive task, the MS office upgrade software also needed a previous version already on the machine. This meant that if a hard disk died, installing office became a two day task. Install the old version

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 3choTh1s (972379)
      Just to clarify as per the article. Number 7 should be Once the install is complete, restart the DVD based setup from Vista. Choose "Custom" install so that you can do a clean install.

      Just saying perform a in-place upgrade could lead to misunderstanding and confusion.
  • Well, it sounds like this is (half) a step in the right direction. I wonder how long it will be before someone finds a way to convert the "trial" install to a full version without needing to rerun the entire install process. It seems like there must be a way to run oobe.exe or something to validate/convert your trial version.
    • Exactly, a bit compare of two installs on the same machine should result in a Registry Hack to enable the OS. However, with WGA such an exploit would quickly be discovered and the offending OS disabled by Microsoft Remotely.
  • by robosmurf (33876) * on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:09AM (#17843178)
    I've still not managed to get a clear answer to whether the EULA for Vista means you can never re-install it.

    The problem is that the upgrade version invalidates the agreement for XP, which means you are not allowed to re-install XP, which is needed to re-install Vista...

    I suppose this work-around does allow you to re-install Vista, but they may well remove this in the future.

    I submitted a support request to Microsoft about this a few days ago, but they haven't responded.
    • by gfxguy (98788)
      No no! If you haven't already lost your XP key by doing the install Microsoft's preferred way, you can use this "hack" to install Vista upgrade without having ANYTHING previously installed. Someone can build a brand new box and go out and buy the Vista upgrade and install it with this hack, you DON'T lose your XP key.

      The last line of the article:

      ... this means that any retail upgrade DVD can be used as a fully functioning full retail copy of Vista.
    • See this is where MS is stupid. They are making things a lot more complicated than they have to be. MS offers the upgrade version for two reasons:

      1) People that have XP don't want to lose their files and apps when installing Vista
      2) XP is good enough that people don't want to pay the full amount for Vista which is arguably only marginally better

      So this upgrade fulfills reason #1, but for people that are in group 2) that want/need to do an install from scratch, they are making things more complicated than th
  • by drooling-dog (189103) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:10AM (#17843184)
    Oh, my... Will the spyware require me to have a valid Fedora Core 5 license to install my new FC6? Or will I have to go out a buy a whole new laptop that can handle all of that awesome power?

    Heh heh - Just kiddin'.
    • by sjwaste (780063)
      No, you'll just have to go buy all new hardware that's actually supported.

      Sorry, my frustration is running high with the awful component out support for my Nvidia 6200 under Linux (MythDora). The output looks very blue and I can't figure out how to configure it properly, it looks fine on a monitor :)
  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:11AM (#17843208) Homepage Journal
    Five years, a couple of hundred million dollars and they still do installs like it's 1989?

    Dear Redmond;

    A few tips on how modern install media should work:

    1) Ask no questions except to put in the install key upfront. Run everything else with basic assumptions. Run the config AFTER installation.

    2) Allow for the easy and well documented input of a param file to create an install script on the fly.

    3) Do a hardware seek FIRST instead of preloading every old SCSI driver and whatnot. Look, you guys do a bad job of supporting that stuff anyway, so why bother?

    4) Provide a tool to EASILY and automatically move the install CD to a thumb drive and install from there. We are building machines that have neither floppy drives nor CD drives either.

    5) For god's sake provide some kind of reasonably good toolset to recover a drive from an alternate boot medium. Enough is enough already that your OS 'can't run' from Boot Floppies and whatnot to run critical tools like fixboot and fixmbr. Just write some damn tools that DO work. Or write a console that runs in toto from some source other than the install CD which many of us NEVER GET.

    6) Learn to work with LILO already. Would it actually kill you?

    7) Look at a calendar. This is 2007, start acting like there's been some improvement in installation tools in the last 20 years.
    • 1) Ask no questions except to put in the install key upfront. Run everything else with basic assumptions. Run the config AFTER installation.

      Actually, I'd find this to be far more archaic and worse. A 2007 install should work the way you want it right out of the box. Everything should be changeable afterwards, but an install shouldn't bother installing internet components on a non-internet connected machine (for example).

      It's not the 90s any more, only installing with 'basic assumptions' is no longer acceptable.

      By the way, does Vista dump if you change your motherboard like XP does because of the IDE drivers only being changeable during an in

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by giorgiofr (887762)

        does Vista dump if you change your motherboard like XP does because of the IDE drivers only being changeable during an install?
        That has never been the case, you can simply disable your current drivers, swap mobo and it will work just fine. It will install the correct drivers on first boot. I've done it a few times in a row and it never fails. Well I suppose it would fail if you put in an unsupported chipset, in which case just install the drivers before the swap.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by markild (862998)

        By the way, does Vista dump if you change your motherboard like XP does because of the IDE drivers only being changeable during an install?

        Earlier today I read on a Norwegian tech site that vista is counting points for different hardware changes, and then, when it reaches 25, you will be booted and need to reactivate. This will be possible on the full retail version, but not the OEM version. (Dunno about upgrade)

        Translation may be a bit off, didn't understand a few of the details

        • CD-ROM/CD-RW/DVD-ROM (1
      • by gelfling (6534)
        Yeah but it's irrelevant. I don't want to babysit the installation so I don't forget to specify the timezone on installation step 132-b and all of the other silly interruptions randomly disbursed through the process. On the other hand the sometimes LONG LONG CHORE of specifying every nit like some Linux distros want is just insipid. don't ask me to choose the order of the disk paritions. I don't really care about a great deal of it. And to be fair, we should be able to run any number of complex post-install
    • Five years, a couple of hundred million dollars and they still do installs like it's 1989?

      Dear Redmond;

      A few tips on how modern install media should work:

      1) Ask no questions except to put in the install key upfront. Run everything else with basic assumptions. Run the config AFTER installation.

      So you advocate the install media making its own decisions about how to repartition and reformat my harddrive? Sounds like a bad idea to me...
      • by gelfling (6534)
        No not unless you're a high end user. For the vast majority of the world that's simply not the case.
        • by Nebu (566313)
          I think the "Ask the user before irreversibly erasing all the data on the hard drive" software design guideline has priority over the "Don't bother the user with pesky questions" software design guideline.
          • by gelfling (6534)
            Print in great big letters on the box so that even a consumer can understand it: "This will wipe out whatever is on your computer already by default. If you don't know what 'Default' means, please look it up or get someone to help you."

            I know we all laugh at crazy warning labels but let's get serious for a moment.
    • Do you still have to hit F6 to install drivers, or can you load drivers from the screen that tells you it didn't find any storage devices?

    • 7) Look at a calendar. This is 2007, start acting like there's been some improvement in installation tools in the last 20 years.

      It's 2007.. why don't you just image your machines?

      How server process is this:
      1) Network boot system
      2) Image new server/pc
      3) reboot and answer sysprep prompts

      A new server/pc is ready in 10 only minutes.

      People that try to complain about the window's installer make me laugh. They've already dumbed it down to where you only click 'next->next->finish', yet people still whine.
  • by HxBro (98275) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:21AM (#17843384) Homepage
    What you need is a copy of legitcontrolcheck.dll from any validated and activated copy of XP on a partition anywhere on your machine, then:

    1.) create \windows\system32\ on any partition you want (even extended partitions)
    2.) copy a validated 'legitcontrolcheck.dll file into the directory.
    3.) you might need ntdetect.com and ntldr in the root, (try without)

    (I've not tested this)
  • WV_SP1 (Score:3, Funny)

    by Sfing_ter (99478) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @11:30AM (#17843518) Homepage Journal
    This WILL be fixed with an install of Windows Vista - Service Pack 1 - Warm and Crunchy Edition. Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply. ~Collective
    Why do you resist? We only wish to raise quality of life for all species. ~Locutus :)

    On a good note, this means that you will be able to re-install a year later when the system gets bogged down, or have they moved the "Detect and Repair" to the operating system...hmmmmm

    Will this cause Bill to run away from more interviews...
  • I can just see it now: ... (somewhere in the vista source)

    # upgrade check module

    if 1=1 then #only for testing! remove in production! -boss
                            #heh heh, can you imagine if this made it into the gold master? -dilbert
                            #we don't have to imagine...*merged to gold master* - catbert ... (do upgrade)
  • by Joe U (443617) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @01:21PM (#17845626) Homepage Journal

    If you choose to purchase an upgrade version of Windows Vista to upgrade XP, you will no longer be able to use that version of XP. Either on another system, or as a dual-boot option. The key will be invalidated, preventing activation.


    Actually, it deactivates your XP Key.
    Actually, it causes your XP CD to melt.
    Actually, it sends all your personal information to Microsoft to make sure you don't re-install it.
    Actually, it makes lawyers show up at your door if you touch the XP CD again.
    Actually, it uses alien mind-ray technology to make sure you forget your XP key.

    Actually, it doesn't do anything, it's just there to "legally" stop you from running both XP and the Vista upgrade at the same time.

    Now stop making stupid assumptions. Remember, when you assume, you make an ass out of yourself (leave me the hell out of it).
  • by Lumpish Scholar (17107) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @02:55PM (#17847658) Homepage Journal
    WindowsSecrets.com's latest newsletter also has this information [windowssecrets.com]. "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." (Emphasis theirs!) They also address the ethics issues.

    Why is this important? Because a clean Vista install is strongly preferred to an in-place upgrade install (munging your existing XP installation so it's now a Vista installation); but Microsoft does not allow this [microsoft.com]: "you cannot use an upgrade key to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista". This same Microsoft Knowledge Base article then provides a workaround, the same thing discussed by DailyTech and WindowsSecrets: "Start the installation from a compliant version of Windows, such as Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP, or Microsoft Windows 2000. After you have started the installation, you can select Custom at the installation choice screen to perform a clean installation."

    I'm glad for this particular huge security hole, but it makes me wonder how many more they are.

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