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Can I safely use a Windows 7 Ultimate disk to repair an installation of Windows 7 Professional?

The details: I'm trying to use Virtualbox to set up a Windows 7 Professional guest VM on a Linux host as in this page http://www.rajatarya.com/website/taming-windows-virtualbox-vm. I got to the last step where I need an install disk, but I don't have a Win7 Pro disk, I only have a Win7 Ultimate disk.

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3 Answers

If the W7 installer on that disc does not give you the choice of Professional during the repair procedure, then no, it may fail or may do an upgrade to Ultimate and invalidate your Pro key.

You can however unlock that install DVD to give you a choice of which version.

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Windows 7 Professional is one step below Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise. check the comparison. http://www.neowin.net/news/main/09/04/30/windows-7-whats-the-difference-between-the-editions

In my expert opinion, the Ultimate disk can be used to repair any windows 7 installation, including Professional. It most likely will let you repair any installation since the instructions ask you to hit "Repair Installation" and not the "Install" option which comes afterwards and there you would need to select either pro OR ultimate, But since is repairing, it will auto-detect that you have Professional and repair the boot sector so you can boot.

"Quote from the Virtualbox VM Linux instruction page"
-Set the VM to mount the DVD drive and put in your Vista DVD. Start the VM. Press F12 and select the DVD drive to start (c). Let Win7 setup start, pick a language, and then click the ‘Repair installation’ option. Go through automatic repair, and then let the VM restart. This time it should go into Win7 running off the raw disk. <=--- it says "Vista DVD" - it meant "Windows 7 DVD"

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@Abei FYI: if you associate your SO and SU accounts (you might have to register both with an Open ID if you haven't done so already) then you should regain ownership of this answer (and so can edit and gain rep on it as per usual). –  DMA57361 Apr 19 '11 at 14:51
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So the short answer to this is "maybe" or "sometimes". In my case, I think the Win7 Ultimate disc would have worked just fine.

It turns out that repairing a Win7 install can be more complex than just Pro/Ultimate/whatever. Apparently (http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/3413-repair-install.html), you have to pay attention to whether your install and repair disc both have SP1 (my guest does, my disc doesn't).

So I booted VM from the Ultimate disc and clicked through to the "Repair", "Cancel" or "view details" dialog (sorry, I didn't think to take a screenshot). The gist of the repair steps was that it wanted to repair the boot sector. Not wanting to take any risks, I cancelled out & shut down the VM.

I restarted the host and booted back into Windows 7 natively in order to burn a Recovery disc. After that, I restarted Linux, booted the VM from the recovery disc, and let it get to the same dialog as before. The repair steps looked the same as from the Ultimate disc - it wanted to repair the boot sector.

This time I clicked "Repair", and after letting the repair disc do its thing the VM rebooted itself, and things just started working! I can reboot into Windows natively or I can use VirtualBox, whatever I like.

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A note about rebooting natively. When I do boot Win7 natively, Windows does a system repair (no CD necessary) and then boots. After this, booting the VM requires me to repair the install again. I don't expect to need to boot Windows natively again so this isn't a problem for me, I just wanted to note this issue. –  KJP Apr 26 '11 at 15:11
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