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I am currently downloading Win 7 home premium from MSDN, which I intend to try out on a Vista PC that is in dire need of a clean install. However, I have also pre-ordered a copy of Win 7 home premium which will arrive in October and is intended for that PC. I am wondering if I can install the one I download from MSDN today and update it to use the new key in October without the need of a reinstall. I found this blog post which seems to suggest that it is possible to change keys in Win 7.

Another complicating factor might be that I am in Europe so the one I ordered may be an "E" Home Premium version (whatever that will actually mean), whereas the one from MSDN is the standard Home Premium version.

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I believe that the "E" editions have been got rid of, if you ordered one, you'll actually get the standard version - theregister.co.uk/2009/08/03/microsoft_ditches_windows_e_plans –  Sliff Aug 6 '09 at 18:07
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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can change product keys for like SKUs. If you're downloading the RETAIL (as opposed to Volume License) version of Windows 7 Home Premium from MSDN, and you have purchased the RETAIL version of Windows 7 Home Premium, then (usually) yes, you can change the product key. I say usually, because there have been some products that know they are the MSDN version and will not use a "regular" retail key. I doubt Windows 7 is one of these (I'm downloading it now as well, so I do not yet know).

Not sure how the E version will play a role, but I suspect it will not work as it is not a product you can upgrade to. Update: the E version has been cancelled, so this scenario is no longer an issue.

In any event, take backups. If it doesn't work, install the new copy you have purchased and restore your backups.

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My Win 7 arrived this week, and the key change went smoothly. thanks. –  Mark Heath Oct 23 '09 at 19:59
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You can typically use the OEM tools to "reset" the activation and key of a computer and force the computer to ask you again on startup for the key. These OEM tools are available in the "OEM Preinstallation Kit" that you get when you buy Windows 7 in multipacks. Its probably available for download somewhere on Microsoft's website too.

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I'm running the Ultimate version of the release candidate, and on the system properties dialog, at the bottom where it displays the activation status and product ID there is a link to change it. I don't know about Home versions, but I believe I recall seeing that link on my wife's laptop which was running vista home premium before I upgraded it.

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you can use a simple yet very handy tool like Windows 7 Key Changer

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Yes you can since they are both Ultimate version. I run an Ultimate version now, but can not change license to Entreprise version....need to reinstall

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