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This has probably been asked before, but I want to be 100% sure before buying: if I have a laptop with an OEM version of Windows Vista Home Premium installed, can I buy the Windows 7 professional upgrade and install it ? I don't care whether it will be an actual upgrade or a clean install (that would actually be even better), what I'm curious is whether this is actually legal (going from home to professional).

And if this is possible, how does it work ? Do I have to have Vista installed when upgrading so that the installer can check that I actually do own a genuine copy or does it ask for the vista key (which I'm not sure I have, since it's an OEM version) ?

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Although this is perfectly legal, I suggest buying the "retail" version if you can swing it. The "upgrade" license technically becomes tied to the OEM license, and therefore tied to your laptop. The retail license can be transferred to different computers with no problems. –  Joe Internet Mar 12 '10 at 11:41
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Short answer is yes. The upgrade version only requires a genuine licenced version of Windows to have been present to tick the necessary legal box, which the OEM version is. Having just upgraded myself if you boot from the DVD it will detect an existing licensed copy of windows and allow you to format the drive and clean install. The licence key can then be entered after the installation has completed and all should be sweetness and light.

I had no problems going from Vista Home 64 to Win 7 Ultimate 64 but did have the following websites in reserve in case I did get some issues.

http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_media.asp

http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/10/27/clean-install-windows-7-with-upgrade-media-and-product-key-on-formatted-or-empty-blank-hard-drive/

Hope this helps.

EDIT: Bit of further reading suggests that you will only be able to perform a clean install upgrade. Apparently the in-place upgrade from vista home to 7 pro is not viable. As mentioned booting from the DVD will be fine.

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7install/thread/5ab43965-9825-4748-b1f6-80aa2ff424be

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To my knowledge you would be fine when buying the "windows 7 professional" upgrade when currently running vista home.

I can't find anything saying you need a specific vista (or xp) version to upgrade to Win7 professional.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/buy/

Have a look around there, i can't link you to the direct articles because they will be in my native language (dutch). If you want to be 100% sure give Microsoft a call:

http://support.microsoft.com/

i'm sure they can tell you what to do/get

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