Vista Clean Upgrade Install Makes Waves

April 25, 2008

win3vistaSusan blogged today regarding installing a clean installation on a workstation using a Vista upgrade disk, and whether or not doing so is legal without the upgraded operating system being installed to disk first.

This post stems from an article published at the Windows Essentials site:

The clean-install trick requires that an end user pay for a licensed, retail copy of Windows Vista — not a free, hacker copy. One comment posted by Matthew P. on Eric’s blog provides a perfect example of a legitimate reason to use the clean-install method:

  • I bought Vista. The ‘loophole’ in question was the only way I could get Vista to install. When I (down)graded to Vista, it was completely unstable and many things didn’t work. Rather than reloading my ghosted XP and trying for a third time, I went ahead and used this workaround. I have a legal, purchased OEM Windows XPHome that had only ever been run on this machine.”

Some Microsoft executives would say that Matthew had violated the Vista EULA because XP was not running when the Vista upgrade was installed, as is normally required. Do I think that what Matthew did is piracy? Of course not.

which in itself was in response to a heated comment Eric Ligman (a Friend to our community by the way) made.

If they continue to tell you that, “But I can get it to physically install, so it must be legal,” this further shows their complete lack of comprehension. Just because something will install does not make it legal. For example, a pirated piece of software will (usually) physically install; however, running pirated software is 100% illegal (and who knows what else it will install on or do to your computer). If you don’t believe me, try calling 888-NO-PIRACY and letting them know that you are running pirated software throughout your company. Explain to them that you feel it is legal to do so because you got it to physically install, so it must be legal and ask if they would mind auditing your company to verify the legality of this. Let me know how that turns out for you.”

I’m not taking a position on this in my post. This once again comes down to the confusion that Microsoft Licensing leaves, sometimes seemingly forcing users to break the rules even if they don’t break the rules.

I guess at the end of the day, If i KNOW I’m legal, then I’m legal. If I find out I’m not – then I will rectify the situation. But if a company on one hand publishes a KB article telling me HOW to do a CLEAN upgrade with an upgrade disk, and then publishes a post saying that I’m pirating software by doing so… then I’m taking the easier of two evils.

Anyway the point is moot. i STILL can’t get Vista to upgrade my Windows 3.0 machine!



  1. You missed the point as well.

    What Brian has argued is that buying the upgrade version is all you need to be legal to then install the Vista on a blank harddrive.

    As long as you have “some” prior version that is not tied to hardware (like OEM) then yes you are legal to buy the upgrade version and use the trick to install on a bare hard drive.

    What Brian has argued for is that you can install the upgrade media on a clean harddrive without any qualifying media.

    His arguement is that the install over the install in and of inself is the qualifying purchase.

    It is not.

    As you say if you know you are legal, you are legal. Be we all know that buying the upgrade version and install it on a blank harddrive with no other qualifying purchase is not legal.

  2. I don’t agree he’s saying that. He doesn’t make it very CLEAR that he’s saying being legal means owning the previous OS that will be “pinned” to that specific Vista upgrade, but I also don’t see him saying that you don’t have to own a previous version to use the clean install of a Vista upgrade.

    Maybe we need to ask him to clarify – but in the end, as we have both agreed, “buying the upgrade version and install it on a blank harddrive with no other qualifying purchase is not legal”. In the end I think that’s all that matters.

  3. Go back in Brian’s earlier articles on the subject and he’s clearer there about his intent on the clean on top of clean.

    (Which is what prompted Eric Ligman’s initial post)

  4. […] from:Vista Clean Upgrade Install Makes Waves Tags: anti-piracy-software, april-2008, january-2008, makes-waves, microsoft, nogeekleftbehind-com, […]

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