Microsoft “Helping Us Out” Yet Again

If you are like me, you like to a reinstall of your systems whenever they start to slow down or develop problems, or just to try something new, but it looks like Microsoft will be blocking that to. While most people will use an upgrade license to just upgrade their system, lots of us like to do a fresh install on an upgrade, and in the past this has been possible because you could just supply your “qualifying CD”, the install CD for the previous OS, and away you go. Not sure if this is to prevent users from getting a really cheap copy to install on a different machine, since most manufacturers will send you and upgrade disk if you purchased your pc in the past couple months. I have an upgrade copy coming for my laptop, so I will be seeing for myself really soon I hope.

Microsoft’s quest to closely control the way Windows Vista can be used on PCs has taken a turn for the worse as new information indicates that the company is breaking tradition when it comes to Windows Vista upgrades. With Windows Vista, users will not be able to use upgrade keys to initiate completely new installations. It is a change that will affect few users, but enthusiasts will certainly be amongst those pinched.

One again, Microsoft appears to have made licensing decisions without considering how people actually use their products. Last fall the company trotted out changes to its retail licensing that would have punished users who frequently upgrade their PC hardware had the company not relented. Now Microsoft seeks to complicate our ability to start a crisp, new install with an upgrade version. Why? Source: Ars Technica

This will “probably” prevent users from getting a free copy of Vista for a different machine, but will surely cause them some more bad press from enthusiasts, much the same way they did when they tried to change the licensing terms, which would’ve prevented some users from upgrading their machines more than once. Luckily they relented after many users, of which some were beta testers, complained about the new terms. This time, I doubt there is anything they will do.

From the KB article;

You purchase an upgrade key for Windows Vista. Then, you try to use the upgrade key to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista by starting from a Windows Vista DVD. However, Windows Vista does not let you perform a clean installation by using the upgrade key, and you cannot upgrade to Windows Vista.
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CAUSE
This problem occurs because Windows Vista does not check upgrade compliance. Therefore, you cannot use an upgrade key to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.

RESOLUTION
To resolve this problem, use one of the following methods.

Method 1
Upgrade to Windows Vista from an earlier, supported version of Windows that is already installed on the computer.

Method 2
Purchase a license that lets you perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.