I got a free promotional copy of Windows Vista at a Microsoft Event a while back. I'd like to upgrade to Windows 7 - how can I find out if this is possible (from a licensing/legal point of view)? Has anyone with the same sort of promotional version managed to upgrade successfully?

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Short answer: You can upgrade to W7 Ultimate. It works and you should do it.

I believe I had the same promo copy (techdays or something). Mine was a full version with a good faith mention of you only using it for one year. It won't ever bomb out on you, it was just a request by MS not to run it forever.

Upgrading to Windows 7 Ultimate works, I did it with my copy. I'd guess you've probably installed the copy of Vista you got on a machine that was previously running XP. As XP is eligible for an upgrade license/legal/moral issues should be nil (infact I'd argue upgrading to 7 is better than running Vista for more than a year .. and that's ignoring vista being inferior).

If your machine wasn't origingally XP (or even licenced) you buying the 7 upgrade still puts more money in their pocket than you continuing to run Vista or returning to your old os.

  • Hmm that's a good point - the laptop I was going to install it on originally came with XP so I'd be elligible for an upgrade anyway. Thanks. – Tom Robinson Apr 28 '10 at 20:47

You absolutely can upgrade this to Windows 7 Ultimate. I do not think you can upgrade to a Home operating system though because you would be "going sideways".

  • Can I ask what you are basing this answer on? Have you done it personally or is it just a guess? – Tom Robinson Apr 28 '10 at 10:56
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    I have done it personally. I won a promotional copy when Windows Vista first came out and Microsoft was still giving presentations. Everyone had to take a ticket and they drew a number at the end of the presentation. – James Watt Apr 28 '10 at 12:46
  • Great, thanks. Did yours look like the one above or different? My copy is from the UK so there may be licensing differences. – Tom Robinson Apr 28 '10 at 20:44
  • Mine looked slightly different. It was not SP1. However, I can tell you from experience of doing Windows 7 Upgrades, if your upgrade key does not work there is a simple solution: Call Microsoft (number will be listed if activation fails) and tell them you did an upgrade from Vista to Windows 7. They do not ask for the Vista key. I have to do this ALL THE TIME because I refuse to do an "Upgrade", I like formatting the drive and doing a clean install. This confuses the upgrade key and it takes about 15 minutes on the phone for MS to fix. There is nothing illegal about it. – James Watt Apr 29 '10 at 0:27
  • Also, since you are in UK, make sure to not purchase Windows 7 N as it does not look like you have Windows Vista N. N in an alternative version of Windows 7 which is sold in the UK and it does not include Windows Media Player. – James Watt Apr 29 '10 at 4:07

There should be directions in the install (when running Vista, you can go to Windows Update and find out how). If not, I would recommend doing a Google search for Upgrading Vista to Windows 7. Microsoft's site should have this info too.

  • I'm not really sure if this answers my question directly - I am specifically referring to upgrading the particular promotional copy shown in the question. – Tom Robinson Apr 28 '10 at 20:45

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