If you have bit the bullet and purchased an upgrade version of Windows Vista, you will be glad to hear there is a workaround that allows using the upgrade version to perform a clean install of the operating system. This is good news if you have tested the upgrade (or upgraded already) and do not like the results.
According to Paul Thurrott who posted the instructions on WindowsITPro website, the work around to perform a clean install of Vista is not to enter the Product Key during the upgrade installation. As Paul states, he has not tested the following install procedure.
Before starting read install instructions carefully.
- Using the Windows Vista Upgrade media, boot your computer.
- At the setup screen click "Install Now" to start a new setup and install Vista normally.
- When prompted to enter your product key, do not enter it. Click Next to continue with the setup (this will install the 30 day trial version).
- At the next prompt, select the Windows Vista product you have purchased (Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, etc…) and install Vista normally.
- After setup has completed, and your PC has booted into Vista, restart the Setup again from the Vista DVD (do not reboot, run setup while running Vista) and perform an in-place upgrade.
- When prompted, enter your Product Key and click next.
- When ask to perform an Upgrade or Custom install, select Custom which will perform a clean install of Vista.
- The install will complete and you will boot into a clean install of Vista and can now activate Vista.
This procedure, essentially installs Vista twice, once as an upgrade, then as a clean install. Make sure you do install any applications in between installations since you will lose anything that was installed.