Windows 7 Upgrade or not upgrade

My home PC has been running Windows XP and an old Ubuntu Linux for a few years now. It was time to upgrade that thing with a new install of the most recent versions of everything.

Upgrading from XP to 7 is not possible. Only Vista users can get upgraded. But the Microsoft Store clearly indicates that XP users can buy the Upgrade version even though they’ll have to reinstall all their apps. That’s fine with me.

So, the next logical step was to clean my biggest hard disk, partition it fifty-fifty between Linux and NTFS and run the Windows 7 setup… It took 2h30m. Then, it asked a few usual questions including the product key…

Invalid product key. WHAT ?

In fact, the setup of Windows 7 looks for an existing Windows XP copy to accept the upgrade¬†product key. So the “solution” from Microsoft is to reinstall XP on the new disk, perform an upgrade and select some option to reformat the disk in the process. Thanks Microsoft, you just wasted the very first few hours of my time with your OS. I just bought your software and I already regret it. Would it have been so hard to put a warning in the store or when I started the bloody setup ?

Update 2012-01-05:

My solution:

  • Plug the old disk
  • Boot Linux
  • Create a dummy partition on the new disk of the same size as the old one (200Gb)
  • dd if=/dev/sdb1 of=/dev/sda2 bs=(size of the hard disk blocks)
  • Restart Windows 7 setup on the clean partition, it found the old install and accepted my product key. Activated Windows.
  • Delete the temporary partition and setup Linux.


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