Vista upgrade invalidates your XP key

If you choose to purchase an upgrade version of Windows Vista to upgrade XP, you will no longer be able to use that version of XP. Either on another system, or as a dual-boot option. The key will be invalidated, preventing activation.

From Vista's EULA found here (PDF) :

13. UPGRADES. To use upgrade software, you must first be licensed for the software that is eligiblefor the upgrade. Upon upgrade, this agreement takes the place of the agreement for the software you upgraded from. After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from.

View: Forum Discussion @ Neowin
News source: TomCoyote.org

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This has to be the most asinine thread I have ever read. Why no one has stepped in to inform the readers of the truth is ridiculous. Has anyone EVER upgraded Windows before? I just want to set the record straight for anyone who stumbles in here as I have.

The biggest problem here is the misunderstanding of how the upgrade works. It does not matter if your XP key has been "deactivated". This is because, in order to install an upgrade version of windows: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO INSTALL THE PREVIOUS VERSION FIRST!!! Yes I am yelling at you!!! A VISTA UPGRADE CAN BE INSTALLED ON A CLEAN DRIVE FROM THE VISTA DISK. AS LONG AS YOU HAVE A KEY TO XP, YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE XP INSTALLED!!!

Hope that clears up the confusion. You may continue now.

bsj2312

I don't know what everyone's so worked up about...when you UPGRADE something, you simply improve on what you already have. Doing this, you change what you already have to the NEXT VERSION. Soooooo.....How could you use BOTH, since the original does not exist anymore. You can, however, downgrade back to XP simply by reinstalling from your XP disk. You don't actually invalidate the XP license, it just changes to a Vista License. Just ONE...you don't get a license with the Vista upgrade, you just change the existing XP license to a Vista license. Nothing to get all bent out of shape over.

Like it's been said, here's the explanation.

You're upgrading from XP to Vista so why should your XP still be active? By upgrading, you've pretty much said that you've moved on. In the event that you don't like Vista, you uninstall it, and go back to XP.

It's so that you can't have regular XP and an upgraded XP->Vista on two separate computers.

You don't own the Software. You never did. You buy the license to run the Software. Don't believe me, ask a Lawyer.

Are you even allowed to use the upgrade with a VLK version? Normal consumers are not even allowed to have VLK versions and I can't imagine why a company with a volume license would upgrade to a retail version of Vista. Seems they'd be going with Vista Enterprise.

Where in that EULA quote does it say it invalidates your key? This news is bogus. It just says you don't have the right to install your upgraded XP on a system while you have the Vista upgrade installed.

Bingo, people are jumping the gun and making claims to things they obviously don't know anything about. I know a few people who formatted their machine after a vista install with activation and went back to XP and their keys work just fine.

I would remove XP from my pc, then do a clean install of Windows 2000 and then upgrade to Vista from Win 2000.

From : http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/...gradepaths.mspx

If you are currently using Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional x64, you are eligible for an upgrade copy to a corresponding or better edition of Windows Vista, but a clean install is required.

Upgrade copies are not available for versions of Windows earlier than Windows 2000. These earlier versions of Windows require you to install a full copy of Windows Vista.

If the edition of Windows Vista that you choose to install will result in a loss of functionality over your current edition of Windows, you will need to do a clean install, or install Windows Vista to a new partition on your PC.

Another advantage is it would do a clean install from Win 2000.

I thought they only made it so you can do an upgrade install from within XP?

I remember reading that on here somewhere a while back. That Vista wouldn't do an upgrade install from any Pre-XP OS.

I'm not saying it's true, just saying I remember a thread on here that was talking about that.

EDIT: Looks like you edited your post while I was making my post so nevermind

If I ever do get Vista it would be a full version anyway. Not some upgrade version. My upgrade version of XP Home was completely different from my newer full version. When you did an upgrade install of XP you didn't actually get all the features that you would in a full, clean install. Plus a clean install just runs a lot smoother anyway.

Exactly, me too.... just another reason to skip Vista. Maybe they'll become consumer friendly again if enough people felt the same way.

i do, by common sense, think that this process is not viable!
The upgrade license of windows vista must work with the cd by booting (clean install i mean) otherwise i dont see why one should opt for this method.. unless for the big discount of course.
But just that amount of work by install the previous xp and then upgrade to vista... have someone tryed if this is the only method?

edit: by this sentence i understand that one will never touch windows xp cd and license anymore, not even for the clean install - "After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from."

to all those people that are bashing the people that are complaining...

noone is complaining that they are not getting a second os license... the biggest complaint here is this:

user has xp pro... buys vista upgrade... installs upgrade and MS deactivates xp pro key

3 months down the road... formatting the hard drive would be nice... BUT what do you do ??

Ms has already changed the upgrading process ( you can't just stick in an xp cd to prove you own a legit copy and do a fully installation of Vista)

you would have to reinstall xp activate.. and upgrade to vista again ... anyone see a problem ?? YOU CAN'T FRICKEN activate xp anymore .. because the first time you did it .. ms deactivated the xp key.


unless we are all reading the eula wrong ... the average " i just want a good computer from best buy even though i know nothing about pcs" is going to get screwed..

signalpirate said,
to all those people that are bashing the people that are complaining...

noone is complaining that they are not getting a second os license... the biggest complaint here is this:

user has xp pro... buys vista upgrade... installs upgrade and MS deactivates xp pro key

3 months down the road... formatting the hard drive would be nice... BUT what do you do ??

Ms has already changed the upgrading process ( you can't just stick in an xp cd to prove you own a legit copy and do a fully installation of Vista)

you would have to reinstall xp activate.. and upgrade to vista again ... anyone see a problem ?? YOU CAN'T FRICKEN activate xp anymore .. because the first time you did it .. ms deactivated the xp key.


unless we are all reading the eula wrong ... the average " i just want a good computer from best buy even though i know nothing about pcs" is going to get screwed..

you are reading the eula wrong because i don't see anything about not being able to validate your xp. Please show me the part of the eula that says that? Please ...

Is there any true confirmation that the XP key that was being upgraded can not be activated again? The only source is from this blog, and the EULA doesn't say anything about making it so XP can not reactivate.

Ok, I have an old '95 Ford Taurus. It still runs well despite its 200,000 miles on it. I went to the dealer to trade it in the other day for a newer Ford Freestyle, and can you believe it, they wouldn't give me money for my trade in unless I actually gave them the car!!! The nerve of these people, telling me I couldn't trade in (upgrade) my ride unless I gave them the car. Here I thought I could get a great deal on a trade in and still keep my old car.

Some of the above comments are just stupid.

Upgrading means you you upgrade a single OS license, not gain an additional one.
If you were still able to use your old copy, it wouldn't be an upgrade, it would be buying a new copy at a discount because you had an old copy.

hey hey hey!!! if any big trouble? sell your licenses on ebay!! with cd and all... or sell it to your friend/neighbour/girl'boyfriend/pope/bush who ever... what a world are you living on guys?? of course this wold happen.. just remember that the previous versions of windows didn't do de activation thing... wille xp do and of course they'd invalidate the upgraded key!! obvious??

Looks like I will NEVER be upgrading to Windows Vista then. I paid for Windows XP - Full Version! If I upgrade to Vista and decide I do not like it, Microsoft has no right whatsoever to deactivate my XP key, none! What's the matter Bill Gates, aren't you making enough money already? Now you have to screw people over too by forcing people to buy the full version of Vista so they can keep their XP key valid? Shame on you!

lightstar said,
Looks like I will NEVER be upgrading to Windows Vista then. I paid for Windows XP - Full Version! If I upgrade to Vista and decide I do not like it, Microsoft has no right whatsoever to deactivate my XP key, none! What's the matter Bill Gates, aren't you making enough money already? Now you have to screw people over too by forcing people to buy the full version of Vista so they can keep their XP key valid? Shame on you!

What the hell are you talking about? Do you have any concept of what upgrading means? You upgrade a single OS license, not gain an additional one.

Skoogie said,
I want to "upgrade" my 2005 merc to a 2007 merc for half the price. Can I still keep my old merc? STUPID!

What's a merc?

This makes the decision easier; with Microsoft promised to speed up OS development (new OS every 2-3 years, like before XP), might as well keep using XP, wait for the next installment and skip the whole Vista era.

Yawn, why is this news? It would not be an upgrade if you could still use the old version.

If you want to keep running both then buy a license for both.

Hmm, depending on how you read this, there could be a problem.

If using a Vista upgrade completely invalidates your XP key (i.e. it will no longer activate) then what do you do if you need to do a re-install at some point in the future? Your XP key (may) no longer works, so you can't install and activate XP, so you now can't re-install Vista. :(

Therefore I (temporarily at least) call BS to this. I understand and accept that upgrading from XP ties the XP and Vista licenses together and thus it's not legally ok to try and use the XP license on another machine/partition.

Anyway, no problem to me, I have several Vista Ultimate full licenses.

Hmm well lets discuss what would happen if I decided I wanted to format my hard drive for whatever reason as we all do..... I would then need to re-install Windows XP to upgrade to Vista again but oh noes - my XP serial code has been disabled....

I'm sure you can call a nice support centre somewhere that will be happy so don't get me wrong they probably will try and help, but you shouldn't have to call support just to reinstall xp again.

Julius Caro said,
It depends on how you look at it. If the upgrade version was a "reduced priced version for old customers", then yes, it is theft!

you look at it incorrectly. Upgrade does not mean "reduced priced version for old customers", it means: reduced price version for older, yet within our limitations, operating system license'.

sigh, this has always been in the eula since the early days of windows! (and all the other software packets)

Think about it, it's very normal, and nowhere in the eula it says you can't use your key anymore. Another FUD article, neowin, get your act together please.

You can. You just can't use them at the same time. It's an upgrade not a full version. I think people are getting excited about something not massively important

furby said,
You can. You just can't use them at the same time. It's an upgrade not a full version. I think people are getting excited about something not massively important

So, your XP key, which remember, is now invalid, can be used again if you downgrade? Neat trick... I'd like to see proof of your claims. How do you activate your copy of XP again with an invalid key?

Davebo said,

So, your XP key, which remember, is now invalid, can be used again if you downgrade? Neat trick... I'd like to see proof of your claims. How do you activate your copy of XP again with an invalid key?

You're interpreting the EULA a bit incorrectly. Your XP key becomes invalid once you agree to the terms of the new Vista EULA (i.e. install Vista). If you don't install Vista (i.e. remove it and never use it's key again) then your XP key is no longer invalid. There is no electronic method to disable or invalidate your XP key to prevent it from activation.

So you mean they have actually 'fixed' the Upgrade option?

Previously I could just install Windows 2000 Professional on an older computer, and then use Windows 2000 install disk to validate the XP Upgrade disk on a clean install, inadvertently violating the license agreement whoops!

It seems like the upgrade choice has become much harder, install xp > then upgrade to vista every time. (not that I reinstall much anyway). Glad I have a full retail copy.

I dunno, XP has run it's course -customers should be able to upgrade and be allowed to keep the license for another computer IMO. Call it a loyalty system.

I don't know why you're whining about.

It always has been in the EULA anyway - upgrade means updating the operating system to the latest version and you can't use the original O/S on another computer.

billyea said,
difference being that this time you actually can't use it on another computer (activation)

Really? Because even as far back as Windows 95, the same was true, difference is it's being enforced now. An upgrade version does not entitle you to an extra licence, it UPGRADES your current licence to the new version.

And the totally unneccesary comment award goes to;

d4v1d05

In other news;

You're all talking as if you need to have them installed both at the same time. Why should you need a key for two operating systems? The average user who would be interested in upgrading would only need the one operating system.

If you're dual booting, then why not install Windows on the second partition before you upgrade your first partition to Vista? Oh wait, that's logical thinking.

This is exactly the same policy they have always had - people have only noticed now cause you actually have to have the os installed and can't "borrow" the cd to "upgrade" from a nice neighbour.

This doesn't seem possible. I don't doubt the fact that "After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from." from the EULA, but they cannot simply invalidate your XP cd key preventing activation.

For this simple reason: If you need to format and reinstall your Vista upgrade at ANY time, you'll have to REINSTALL & ACTIVATE XP TO REINSTALL VISTA.

From earlier this week it was stated that Vista Upgrade will require an install of XP, not just the CD.

prospero said,
This doesn't seem possible. I don't doubt the fact that "After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from." from the EULA, but they cannot simply invalidate your XP cd key preventing activation.

For this simple reason: If you need to format and reinstall your Vista upgrade at ANY time, you'll have to REINSTALL & ACTIVATE XP TO REINSTALL VISTA.

From earlier this week it was stated that Vista Upgrade will require an install of XP, not just the CD.


Correct; the EULA says it's illegal, but there is no system to deactivate your XP key

Freaky... upgrades sound more and more like a really bad idea. First you need XP installed to install Vista (which isn't that bad right now, but will be quite bothersome later), now you're not allowed anymore to use XP anymore (which is quite bothersome now already). I'm really glad I didn't get an upgrade.

If this is actually true, then you'll only be able to do a single install with an upgrade, as installation does require an activated XP to install, and you won't be able to activate XP anymore after you activated Vista.
This would make te upgrade much more restricted than the Oem version :confused:

Neobond said,
All of a sudden OEM upgrades don't look that appealing anymore.

That bs. Oem versions are no upgrades, you can only do a clean install with them.
There are obviously also no Oem versions of upgrades, as Oems are intended to be installed on bare-bone machines without anything on them.
Thus, it makes Oems look only still more favourable over upgrades

Aero Ultimate said,
Freaky... upgrades sound more and more like a really bad idea. First you need XP installed to install Vista (which isn't that bad right now, but will be quite bothersome later), now you're not allowed anymore to use XP anymore (which is quite bothersome now already). I'm really glad I didn't get an upgrade.

If this is actually true, then you'll only be able to do a single install with an upgrade, as installation does require an activated XP to install, and you won't be able to activate XP anymore after you activated Vista.
This would make te upgrade much more restricted than the Oem version :confused:


That bs. Oem versions are no upgrades, you can only do a clean install with them.
There are obviously also no Oem versions of upgrades, as Oems are intended to be installed on bare-bone machines without anything on them.
Thus, it makes Oems look only still more favourable over upgrades :cool:

A couple comments:

1. Take UPGRADE for what it's worth. You're upgrading your legal right to install Vista over XP... therefor your XP license is no longer valid
2. OEM versions of the OS come with ALL the restrictions of an OEM purchased machine. This means the license is NOT transferable; you cannot install the OS on one machine, than transfer it to another/upgraded machine.

I purchased an Upgrade of Vista Ultimate, put it on my computer with xp and then activated it. Then the next day I installed xp on my other computer with the key and it does work! my key was not invalid. So I think this is simply not the case.