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How to switch between Windows 7 Editions?

I have Windows 7 Ultimate RTM installed on my laptop. It's currently on a 30 day trial (I'm an MSDN subscriber through work). Well, at work we now have Windows 7 Enterprise available (this is a work laptop).

Is it possible for me to somehow use my Win 7 Enterprise key to activate my Win 7 Ultimate installation? I don't mind having it "reduced" to the Enterprise version...I just don't want to have to re-install.

I tried activating Win 7 Ultimate on my system with the Enterprise key and it won't take it. It knows it's for a different edition.

Any ideas?

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marked as duplicate by Diago Sep 20 '09 at 20:40

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It is not possible to "downgrade". In fact you would hardly be doing a downgrade on this case. Windows 7 Enterprise is just like Windows 7 Ultimate. The difference is that Enterprise can only be activated with a volume license MAK or KMS key. Windows Ultimate, on the other hand, is activated through the normal means.

If anything, you would be upgrading your Windows 7 Ultimate single license to a VL. But since the windows versions are hard-wired to their activation mechanism (you don't even access the same activation servers or use the same activation code), I can't see how you could do this. And a reinstall is unfortunately necessary.

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Unfortunately there is no official or supported way to do this besides a format and reinstall. I have yet to see a hack or workaround to do this either and I suspect we won't see one, as there probably isn't a huge demand for this type of thing.

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There is no functional difference between the Ultimate and Enterpise editions. It is pretty much just the activation and licensing mechanism that is different. If you have a valid MSDN subscription then the simmplest thing to do would be to just use the MSDN website to generate an activation key for Win7 Ultimate. If you do that, then you don't have to face a reinstall.

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