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When reinstalling Windows 7, does the language, version, architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) or source (OEM, retail, or MSDN) matter?

Unthinkingly I installed Windows 7 Enterprise on my development box at work rather than the Ultimate version. Now windows is complaining that it is unable to activate because it can't contact a KMS (Key Management Service) which my company doesn't have.

Is there any way to change this install such that it believes it is Windows 7 Ultimate and will take an ultimate key? I have MSDN so the licensing is not an issue.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

You should be able to get an activation key from MSDN for the Enterprise edition that works fine to activate your installation over the Internet without changing editions. I used a partner activation key with Win7 Enterprise and it worked fine. It should be the same for MSDN. In fact, I can generate a key in the MSDN subscriber downloads website also.

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slmgr -ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx from the command line is a quick way of activating. – Kez Dec 12 '10 at 11:58

there is no 'Anytime Upgrade' path from Windows 7 Enterprise to Ultimate.

however, there is the old 'Vista trick' that might work with Windows 7.

run regedit.exe

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

Change the key ProductName from "Windows Vista ™ Enterprise” to “Windows Vista ™ Business”

Change the key EditionID from "Enterprise" to “Business”

change Enterprise to Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Starter. any of these versions allow for 'Anytime Upgrade'.

backup the registry keys before making changes.

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I'm just downloading the ultimate iso now, I'll let you know how it goes. – stimms Sep 16 '09 at 19:34
Didn't work I'm afraid. – stimms Sep 17 '09 at 17:16
sorry to hear, but as mentioned elsewhere, reinstalling windows 7 isn't such a big deal, in fact the windows migration tool should make it a breeze. – Molly7244 Sep 17 '09 at 17:22

I'm not aware of an official one.

You might try this:

There is a way to upgrade Windows Vista Enterprise to Ultimate (not enabled by default)

Before inserting the Windows Vista Ultimate CD

Go to, Start, Run: and type: regedit.exe

Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

Change the key : ProductName from "Windows Vista ™ Enterprise” to “Windows Vista ™ Business”

Change the key: EditionID from "Enterprise" to “Business”

It's instructions for Vista, but it might work for 7 as well.

It also only takes around 30 minutes for a full reinstall anyway :).

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10 minutes here :-) – Joey Sep 16 '09 at 18:26

I had the same issue with my enterprise version. My network admin provided me with a MAK (multiple activation key) which did the trick. According to MS, you are supposed to use the MAK keys up first before turning on the KMS.

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