Upgrade version of Windows Vista DVD with upgrade license or product key cannot be used to clean install or fresh install Windows Vista on your computer. Microsoft offers retail upgrade edition of Windows Vista as a cheaper option of existing users of Windows operating system such as Windows XP to upgrade to Windows Vista without paying the full price. However, the Vista upgrade DVD or upgrade key requires users to first install their previous version of Windows OS and then upgrade in-place to Vista.

Install old version of Windows OS and then upgrade install Windows Vista again over the old operating system is time consuming, although there is likely to be no problem of leaving behind a lot of unwanted files and unclean system due to new installation mechanism used by Vista installer, which essentially just like wiping out the old OS and perform an install that is very much like a clean install Vista from scratch.

It’s possible to use the Windows Vista upgrade DVD media and product key to fresh install a clean Windows Vista, as suggested by a Microsoft’s internal documentation. By following this Vista upgrade hack and workaround, you don’t even need the CD of your existing Windows, which normally need during the Windows setup process to verify that you own an existing copy of previous version of Windows OS.

  1. Boot up your computer with Windows Vista Upgrade DVD.
  2. Click on “Install Now” to start the Windows Vista installation process.
  3. Do not type or enter any product key when setup asking for product key for activation. Simply click on “Next” button.Product Key during Vista Setup
  4. When prompted, select the Windows Vista product edition that you have purchased or owned.
  5. Continue to complete the Windows Vista setup process.
  6. Once Windows Vista has been installed, boot up and log on to Windows Vista.
  7. Put in the Windows Vista upgrade DVD into DVD drive, and restart the Windows Vista setup again, but now from within Windows Vista (Vista should auto launch the Install Windows welcome screen or dialog).Windows Vista Installation Welcome Screen
  8. When prompt to type your product key for activation, enter your valid and genuine product key for Vista.
  9. When prompted for option to choose which type of installation do you want, select “Custom (advanced)” to install a clean copy of Windows Vista, and do not keep any files, settings and programs.Windows Vista Setup Options
    Select Custom to install fresh Vista during second install of Vista setup.
  10. Complete the installation and you will have a clean and fresh Windows Vista when done. Files from first Windows Vista installation will be moved to Wndows.old directory that you can safely removed.
  11. Activate Windows Vista as per normal.

NEW: Even easier hack method to clean install Windows Vista with upgrade key in just one install!