Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

So I'm thinking about purchasing the Windows 7 Upgrade through the student 741 deal they have for $29.99. Will the key I get also work with a regular, full install of Windows 7? I'm asking because I want to dual boot both XP and Windows 7, so I don't want to wipe out my version of XP.

share|improve this question

I bought the same $30 upgrade from 741. When I purchased it, they gave me my key and the download site had two options:

  1. An upgrade .exe (it only works if you're going from the Vista of the same type (home, pro, ultimate) and bit-type (32 or 64) = LAME
  2. An .iso file <-- This is what you want. Download this and burn it to a DVD using ImgBurn. This will allow you to do a Custom (read: Clean) install. Using this, it doesn't matter if you're coming from XP, Vista, Linux, get it.

I did ask about the .iso option before I bought the upgrade, so if the option isn't there for you, just send them an email and they'll provide the link.

BTW, I went from XP, wiped it, and Custom installed Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (technically it is an "upgrade" license, and I did technically "upgrade")

share|improve this answer
This doesn't answer the question - it sounds like you did a normal upgrade from XP to 7 (which involves replacing XP). – sblair Dec 15 '09 at 11:49
Through the same process they can use the Windows 7 pre-installation or some other partition program to install Windows 7 on a partition made from the free space of XP. Installing from the iso downloaded DID NOT require you have a previous version of Windows. In short, it says "upgrade" but is really a full install disc. But if Bill Gates comes to my door, I'll say I used my disc to upgrade. – valbaca Dec 16 '09 at 3:28
Interesting, so (in your case) asking for the ISO version of the download (instead of the normal .exe version) provides a download that is the full version (not the upgrade version) of Windows 7? This sort of confusion is exactly why Microsoft should have never complicated things even further by introducing Full vs. Upgrade versions. Surely most of the people who have ordered/will order Windows 7 already own a Windows PC, or a Windows license? – sblair Dec 21 '09 at 3:07

Microsoft Answer

I believe Microsoft would say that you have to upgrade XP to qualify for the upgrade license. This would mean that you can no longer use XP.

Alternative Answer

If your media is not limited to a specific version you could install the lowest version onto a nominated partition, then upgrade that copy of Win 7 with your license key.

See Paul Thurrots Win Super site for details on the clean install upgrade and My Digital Life for information on how to make your installation media capable of installing any version on Win 7.

share|improve this answer
You can "upgrade" windows just by providing eligible media during a fresh install. Since at least win 98 you've not needed to install over an existing installation of a lower version to utilize upgrade media (but that is an option). There's no trickery or shadiness necessary. – Tyler Dec 15 '09 at 3:33
Vista & 7 upgrades are different from Post-Windows XP Days. You don't have to supply media and from your comment I would assume you have not done a Vista era upgrade. XP is a valid upgrade path, but not a valid inplace OS upgrade. You must do a clean install to upgrade to Win 7. – Wayne Dec 15 '09 at 8:06
+1 Not sure why our answers were voted down; as "Jessica Microsoft Windows Client Team" kindly points out, we both appear to have provided the correct answer and a useful workaround... – sblair Dec 17 '09 at 0:23
Yes, I just ignored the -1 votes even though the answers are correct from a Microsoft Licensing point of view. When dealing with humans, you have to accept the fact that ego & emotions will come before fact! – Wayne Dec 17 '09 at 0:34

Yes it will work, the upgrade disc will allow you to do a clean install. That is the only option to upgrade from xp to seven. If you buy the 29.99 student upgrade, you can do either an upgrade installation if your machine was running vista, or you can do a clean install if your machine is running xp. When you go to load the os, you will notice that the "upgrade" option will be grayed out and the only option you can select is "custom". Once you have selected custom you will have the option to blow out (format) the xp install or partition the drive for a dual boot. Either way, the "upgrade" disc and product key will let you do a clean install to a machine with xp, or a machine with no OS for that matter.

Here's a link with info. XP to 7 upgrade.

share|improve this answer
The guide you link to specifies that you must select the XP partition to install with the upgrade media (obviously wiping XP), so I'm not sure if creating a new partition will work. You can install to a blank drive with the upgrade media, but Windows 7 will only allow you to use Windows on a trial basis; it will not accept the upgrade key (unless you use the registry-edit workaround). – sblair Dec 15 '09 at 11:37
after the clean install, about 30 days later, you will have to jump through a hoop of tricking the install into accepting the upgrade key as a clean install key. it will work though. – djangofan Dec 15 '09 at 22:31

No, it probably won't allow you to activate Windows if you do a clean install (i.e., a custom install on an empty partition) with an upgrade key, but there are ways around this. Method #2 worked for me.

share|improve this answer


The upgrade version of Windows 7 will allow you to perform a clean install however you will need to have a previously installed version of Windows XP or Windows Vista in order to validate the upgrade install and activate the upgrade product key. If you wish to have a dual boot system you will need to purchase the full version of Windows 7 if you wish to keep your previous XP installation.

For additional assistance with a dual boot configuration, Microsoft does have an official Windows 7 Support Forum located here . It is supported by product specialists as well as engineers and support teams.

Jessica Microsoft Windows Client Team

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .