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I'm a Linux person, so when I bought this computer I formatted it immediately into separate partitions so I could use Windows Vista/7 for games.

I finally got around to installing Vista (my Win7 upgrade disk came in the mail), and I go to activate my key for Vista and it keeps saying "Key is in use".

Is it possible that by formatting the whole drive immediately I caused an issue with the licensing? Who would I contact for this sort of thing anyway (obviously Microsoft, but their site is confusing to me).

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I'm confused, you have VISTA or WIN7? Both have different licenses, but have similar activation methods. Please clarify what you actually have by editing your question. – Jakub Dec 9 '09 at 23:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If the computer is OEM, from a major brand, that is, perhaps someone is using the key that came on the sticker on the outside of the computer. In that case, i would call Microsoft and explain the situation - they are usually good about this. (I'll bet that if I lied they would give me a free key.)

In terms of calling MS, usually the activation window has an Activate by Phone option. Use that number and when the robot on the other end prompts, try to get through to a human who can help. If there is no option, just keep entering info that it "can't understand" and it will forward you to a human. The only thing is that you should try during standard business hours.

And regarding the format - I doubt it has to do with it.

(OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. That would be Dell, HP, Asus, Acer etc.)

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I called up Microsoft and after bouncing around from department to department they gave me a new key, then that one didn't work as well... They told me to contact some other number within Microsoft (not sure why they couldn't have forwarded me, but whatever), and at this point I just said screw it I'll try using the update disk anyway. Apparently the Win7 Upgrade disks are actually full installers for Windows 7. I'm now running Windows 7 and never had to enter my Vista key. Thanks for the help! – BCable Dec 11 '09 at 14:27
Your Welcome. Glad to hear you got your problem solved. Regarding the upgrade disks being full installs, i could've told you that. Once again - You're welcome Enjoy Windows 7. – Moshe Dec 11 '09 at 14:29

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