Officially Windows 7 does not allow upgrade path from prerelease version of Windows 7 such as Windows 7 Beta or Windows 7 RC (Release Candidate) to Windows 7 RTM, which has the build version 7600.16385. When user attempts to directly in-place upgrade Windows 7 RC or Beta or any pre-release version from within Windows 7 desktop itself to final Windows 7 RTM gold release, the setup will load, but stop at Compatibility Report, which shows the following error

You cannot upgrade this prerelease version of Windows 7. Go online to see how to install Windows 7 and keep your files and settings.

Unable to Upgrade from Windows 7 Beta or RC to Windows 7 RTM

The blocked upgrade path is similar to Windows 7 RC, which does not allow in-place upgrade from Windows 7. The blocking of direct upgrade from beta, RC or prerelease builds to official RTM build is meant to avoid potential issues that may affect such upgrade path, as few tweaks and enhancements have been introduced during the development process, which may be skipped during build-to-build upgrade.

Microsoft recommends Windows 7 beta or RC users to perform a clean or fresh installation of Windows 7 RTM, and uses Windows Easy Transfer to save and transfer user accounts, Windows settings, program settings, personal customizations and files from current installation to newly installed Windows 7 RTM system.The mechanism built into Windows 7 RTM to block and prevent upgrade from all pre-release versions of Windows 7 earlier than build 7233 for client edition, including Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 and Windows 7 RC Build 7100. For Windows Server 2008 R2, users can directly in-place upgrade from Windows Server 2008 R2 RC.

However, the hack similar to upgrade from Windows 7 Beta to RC can be used to hack the Windows 7 RTM installation DVD ISO to circumvent and bypass the blockage, in order not to be forced to exit gracefully from the upgrade.

  1. Copy or download the Windows 7 RTM ISO to the computer that wants to perform the upgrade.
  2. Mount the ISO image onto a virtual DVD drive and copy the whole content of the image to folder which can be located anywhere (on any partition or drive on the machine running the pre-release build, or external hard disk or USB/FireWire flash drive connected to the computer).

    Alternatively, it’s possible to directly extract the content of the ISO to a desired folder using file extraction tool such as WinRAR.

  3. Browse to the sources directory.
  4. Open the file cversion.ini in a text editor such as Notepad.
  5. Modify the MinClient build number to a value lower than the down-level build. For example, change 7233 to 7000.

    Original content of cversion.ini:
    [HostBuild] MinClient=7233.0
    MinServer=7100.0

    Change it to:
    [HostBuild] MinClient=7000.0
    MinServer=7100.0

  6. Save the file in original place and original name.
  7. Double click on setup.exe from modified installation files to start Windows 7 installation, and choose Upgrade to in-place upgrade to latest RTM gold build of Windows 7. The version check will be skipped and bypassed.

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  • hamid

    hello, i want to upgrade windows 8 consumer preview to 8 pro… i do your instruction, but still the error apeare that ” you cant upgrade” what should i do?

  • Matjaz

    When I vont to ubgrade my pre-release version of windows 7 it reports:

    Your current version of Windows is more recent than the version you are trying to upgrade to. Windows cannot complete the upgrade.

    Indeed i have version Build 7601!

    What cann i do!

  • alaa

    i extract it using 7-Zip but how to convert it back to iso boot file

  • dementor

    How about expired date? RC Version is expires on June 2010. But RTM version is unlimited same as full version.

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  • Thank you so much, this worked for upgrading from RC build 7022.

  • Robert

    I just wanted to thank you for the tip. I had been running the RC for a month and a half and I didn't really want to reinstall everything. A few items are ok but I had a bunch of stuff. I got the RTM (downloaded from technet) and upgraded to it using your tip. It works great. I did have to reinstall a few items so here are pointers for the rest of you. Here is what I know you will have to reinstall… Daemon Tools, sptd driver (you will probably have to rip it out if you don't uninstall it pre-upgrade — delete sptd from non-plug and play drivers, run "sc delete sptd" from admin command prompt to remove service then reinstall), iTunes, VMWare (if you don't uninstall pre-upgrade then remove any extra vmware items fron non-plug and play devices after uninstalling it — bridge support will be broken until you reinstall — you won't lose any data), synaptics mouse driver and I think that was it. I'm sure I'm missing something but I don't remember what it was. Other than that it seemed to work ok. Prompted for the new key and the watermark is gone.

    @lewl: They block the upgrade because they want everyone on the same page (all "new" users will be doing clean installs or upgrading from vista anyways). There really don't seem to be any issues going from RC to RTM.

    @dinh du: seriously… it isn't even publicly available.

  • Steve R

    @pooja

    hey pooja thanks for the link…..

  • JMB

    Why do this ? If I choose to do a clean install, I'll have to reinstall Office 2007, Dreamweaver, Shareaza, VLC, Leechftp, MSE, Foxit Reader, 7zip, TASM 5, MASM, Olly debugger, Win32Dasm, Lingoes, Winhack, EditHexa, visual studio, paint.net, and a few more.

    Hence I'm gonna use the magic trick if you allow me!

  • dinh du

    I can't active Win 7 fianl RTM, share Key WIn 7 RTM ?

  • lewl

    seriously, why do this.. its just asking for problems really.

    Saving your settings takes little effort and a clean install performs so much better then an upgrade that isnt even meant to work in the first place.

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