There are finally Windows 7 Netbooks available, but they come with Windows 7 "Starter". Can I upgrade "Starter" to Windows 7 Ultimate using a normal retail DVD (and its new licence key)?

What about special Netbook drivers? Will they be replaced by an in-place upgrade? Does Windows 7 even have a way to upgrade to another edition or will I have to delete and re-install?

If I delete and re-install, how will I get the special Netbook drivers to install again?

In my case it will probably be a HP Netbook (HP Mini 110-1115SA). Can I just install the drivers from the HP CD that comes with the computer?

Any ideas?


Yes, you can do an Anytime Upgrade with your lower versioned Windows 7 edition. To get started, follow the instructions found in Upgrade to another edition of Windows 7 by using Windows Anytime Upgrade. Do remember that some of the higher-end features of Windows 7 will tax lower end systems with slow processors and limited amounts of memory. Also, remember that you can only upgrade a 32-bit system to another 32-bit system and likewise with a 64-bit system.

I've upgraded a Windows XP Home to a Windows XP Professional before on the same machine. I did not loose any drivers and only gained the new functionality. I would assume an anytime upgrade would end up in the same fashion.

If you wipe out the system that you currently have, you will need to look through your documentation on how to recover your system so that all of the drivers that you need are installed. You should also be able to go to your netbooks vendor site and be able to download the drivers needed for the hardware.

Good luck, and hope this helps some.

  • Good tip about the Web site. I'll check with HP. – Andrew J. Brehm Dec 21 '09 at 15:56
  • I got the netbook and I managed to buy an Iomega USB DVD writer. The netbook booted Windows 7 Ultimate from the drive and I just went ahead and "formatted" the existing Windows 7 Starter C: partition and installed Ultimate. If any drivers are now missing I haven't noticed any problems. Everything works fine and Remote Desktop works in 1024*768. – Andrew J. Brehm Dec 24 '09 at 11:28

You don't need a USB DVD drive. Look for the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool from Microsoft; it makes a bootable flash drive from .iso files.

You'll just need a flash drive with free space - 4GB should be enough.

  • I found a USB DVD drive that worked. I looked into other solutions but the DVD was the easiest. I don't get why the HP Web store sold netbooks but not HP DVD drives! – Andrew J. Brehm Dec 29 '09 at 21:16

Refer to Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade editions.

So, yes. You could in place upgrade, but you'd have to do it twice to get to Ultimate.

  • You overread parts of my question. I want to use my Windows 7 Ultimate DVD, not buy an in-place upgrade from Microsoft. – Andrew J. Brehm Dec 21 '09 at 15:55
  • Yes, I did read your question. The link that I provided states: NOTE: You can use the Product Key from a Standard upgrade edition to accomplish an in-place upgrade(e.g. Home Premium to Ultimate). I suppose that this still might not help in the end, but I resent your assuming that I didn't read. – thepaulpage Dec 21 '09 at 20:29
  • Tehp, you are missing the point. I have a Windows 7 Ultimate DVD. The upgrade editions and the "anytime upgrade" is a different solution, not the one I asked about. It's academic now anyway. I bought the Netbook, I have the Windows DVD; now all I need is a USB DVD drive which is apparently a very rare beast in Ireland. – Andrew J. Brehm Dec 23 '09 at 16:42
  • Oh I see. it does still say edition. ...I read that like 4 times, I promise! In other news, I've seen some instructions somewhere for installing off of a USB drive, and you could probably find them in lieu of a usb DVD drive. – thepaulpage Dec 23 '09 at 17:41

Yes - I updated mine to Ultimate using a retail DVD with its product key. Windows AnyTime Upgrade will help you go through the rest of the tasks.

If you worry about the other drivers or software installed you have to back them up so you can restore it if anything bad happens. However all of my files were still there even though I hadn't performed a backup of my files. I don't know if HP has a recovery tool setup but Samsung does.

Now my netbook is much cooler with Windows Aero features!


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