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Windows 7: Upgrade from Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Pro

07 Dec 2009   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate
Upgrade from Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Pro

Hello people, as I've been researching online that there is ONLY one way of going to from version to version when upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7. For example, Vista Home Premium to 7 Home Premium. You technically (In Microsoft's eyes) can't go from Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional. People bought the $30 Student 7 Professional from DR when it was available, and had Vista Home Premium on their laptop. Mistake? I don't think so. We are also assuming that you have a legitimate copy of Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional Upgrade. We also assume no liability for any damages or data loss this may occur from doing my tutorial..

First off we need things done before we can do the upgrades. (Yes Upgrades).

1. Backup everything you need saved (Make an image with Acronis or any backup program)
2. Have a copy of Windows 7 (Any edition works, I'll tell you why later)
3. Have a quite some time to do this (Upgrades took a total of probably half a day)

Assuming you did the first 3 steps continue....

So you have a DVD copy or image of Windows 7. Extract the image or copy the disc to a folder on the HD of the computer you are upgrading. We are going to be going from Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium as this is the only way we can do it (THANKS MICROSOFT).

View the extracted dvd/image on your HD. You will see a Sources folder, and you will see a ei.cfg. This can be edited with Wordpad or notepad, either one will do fine.
You will see this:
Remove Professional, and put HomePremium instead of Professional underneath [EditionID].
Make it look like this:
Save it and continue.

Run the setup.exe inside the directory where you extracted/copied the Windows 7 Installation. It will do the upgrade, warn you about any incompatibilities.

When it finishes the installation, DO NOT ENTER A KEY! Your Professional key will not work here.

Once done, we are going to go back to the DVD image extraction location (Where you copied/extracted the Windows 7 DVD).

Remember the ei.cfg we edited using notepad/wordpad? Well we need to change the [EditionID] back to professional. We can't do an anytime upgrade by using the Professional key because Microsoft made special keys for that purpose and the ones you received were not the correct ones.

Once you do that, save it, then run setup.exe.

You are going to go through the same steps as before, but at the end of the upgrade, it'll ask you for a key, put your Professional key in this time.

Wallah! Run Updates and Install/remove any programs that got blown away by the upgrade. It happens sometimes when parts of a program don't work properly on Windows 7. I was able to do this on 2 laptops for work.

To sum it up, we basically did 2 upgrades Vista to 7 HP, then from 7 HP to 7 Pro.
Why it works? Probably because when you don't put a key in, Windows 7 has a default key it inputs automatically.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2009   #2
Microsoft MVP


It works also because an Upgrade only needs to see an OS when first scanning the HD to allow upgrade key.

If you don't put the key in upfront and it continues the install, it is allowing you 30 days to input the key at Computer>Properties.

I figured someone would put this together when I saw this popular workaround which worked for me on RTM > 7 Home Premium: UNAWAVE - Downgrade Ultimate to Home Premium or Professional
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2009   #3

Windows 7 x64 finally!

This is only needed if you want to do an in-place upgrade. As you are going through the trouble of backing everything up and considers having to reinstall applications later, the best is to do a clean install. Safer than editing your image. And the end result will probably be better than an upgrade which carries all the junk accumulated in the registry.

As one can see on this MS page, you can go from Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional, you just have to do a clean install

You can do a clean install with an upgrade DVD, provided you have a previous valid Windows version (XP or Vista), independent of the version. This article explains that quite well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Dec 2009   #4
Microsoft MVP


Good point, Wally. This fix is only to enable in-place which is second-best to clean install.

Now that I remember, the Home Premium Upgrade pre-orders I downgraded from RTM were done because I was doing Remote Desktop to OKC and Boston. My friends there will need the superior clean install in the spring.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2009   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate

No, the issue is that everyone should be safe and have a backup. The only reason why you would do this if you didn't want to reinstall and lose programs and other information. Why do you think I would post this. Clearly I wouldn't have wasted my time writing this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2009   #6
Microsoft MVP


Nitoxys, no one is doubting that you have presented a valuable workaround to in-place Upgrading Vista Home Premium to Win 7 Pro previously not available for in-place Upgrading.

I have been watching for similar workarounds since I first saw and posted here the Unawave workaround to downgrade Windows 7 Ultimate to Premium or Pro.

Wally is only making the equally valid point that an in-place Upgrade is itself often problematic, and that a Custom clean install is a better choice when one can get around to reinstalling their programs.

We see so many failed in-place Upgrades here every day that Experts and Gurus on this board I've read are nearly unanimous that a clean install is always preferable to an in-place.

Thank you for sharing your hard work. It is quite an accomplishment and the first one of its kind that I have seen monitoring these Windows 7 workarounds. Those needing it will find this here by Googling for many years to come.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2009   #7

Windows 7 x64 finally!

NitOxYs, as Greg explained well, your input is valuable. But somebody using it needs to be computer literate and willing to modify the installation files.

That is a small percentage of the readers here. I wanted to make sure that people knew that is one of the possibilities when you are moving to Windows 7. There are other simpler and (IMO) safer ones

You are obviously experienced with computers and your input can be very useful to this site. Stay around and help us help others. That is the spirit here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2010   #8


NitOxYs, I now this is an old post but I am hoping you can answer this. How do you avoid the screen, after you change it back to Professional and run set up, that informs you that you must use Windows anytime and then closes out the installation program
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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