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I've recently put together a new PC, and at the time decided it would be a good idea to buy Vista64 home premium as it came with a "free win7 upgrade"

I've sent off for the upgrade now, but does this mean if win7 doesn't work for me, that I can't go back to vista? Does the upgrade then invalidate the vista serial key? Or are Microsoft nice enough to let you continue to use both?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It doesn't invalidate the serial for Vista, it just upgrades the OS. You can reinstall Vista later if you'd like.

Note that the upgrade product key for Win 7 will only work as an upgrade though. You can't do a fresh install with an upgrade disc without having the physical media for a qualifying version of Windows. If you have one of those large recovery sets like Sony is notorious for making, or if you have a built in hard drive recovery like Dell has and didn't spring for the actual media you can't do a clean install.

With Vista (and I assume this still applies to 7 as well) you could install Vista without putting in a product key, allowing for a fresh install. Then do an in-place upgrade from fresh Vista to fresh Vista. This will give you a clean install of Vista without having previous media available.

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Wouldn't the upgrade install (trying to do a fresh install with it) just ask you to insert the older OS disk as proof of ownership? That's how older upgrades worked anyway - I haven't done this in years. Just curious... –  MetalMikester Oct 21 '09 at 12:03
    
Has Microsoft changed its upgrade mechanism for Vista? To do a fresh install with previous upgrade OSs, Microsoft just makes you either put the previous OS's install CD/DVD in the drive and/or requires you to type in its CD Key. –  Mr Fooz Oct 21 '09 at 12:03
    
I was under the impression that you needed to do a fresh install of win7 for this process, otherwise if you ever need to re-install for some reason you would have to put on vista, then upgrade to win7, that would be far too much effort, surely they won't force us to do this! –  user155695 Oct 21 '09 at 12:21
    
Edited for clarity. –  MDMarra Oct 21 '09 at 12:38
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