Clean Install From Upgrade Vista

How to Do a Clean Install of Vista with a Upgrade Version
This will show you how to do a CLEAN install with a Express or Retail Upgrade Version of Vista instead of having to install your previous OS (EX: XP) then Vista. This will prevent compatibility issues between the previous OS and Vista.
How to Do a Clean Install with a Upgrade Version of Vista

information   Information
This will show you how to do a CLEAN install with a Express or Retail Upgrade version of Vista instead of having to install your previous OS (EX: XP) then Vista. This will prevent compatibility issues between the previous OS and Vista.

Note   Note

  • A OEM Recovery installation DVD can only do a clean install. It is just a clone of the hard drive that will set your computer back like it was from day one. The installation process is basically the same though.
  • A Express or Retail Vista can be installed on any one computer at a time for as many times as you like. A OEM Vista may only be able to be installed on the exact same computer as many times as you like. The product key number for the Vista 32 bit version is the same one for it's 64 bit version. You can only have the Product Key activated on one computer and version of 32 bit or 64 bit Vista at a time. See: Microsoft: License Terms for Software Licensed from Microsoft
  • Sometimes people have problems installing Vista with more than 2 GB of RAM installed. If you have this problem, then you should install Vista with a maximum of 2GB of RAM installed and add the rest of the RAM after Vista is fully installed.
Some Common Installation Problems:

Windows Help and Support: KB935806 Troubleshooting Stop error messages that may occur when you try to install Windows Vista


Windows Help and Support: KB929777 Error message when you try to install Windows Vista on a computer that uses more than 3 GB of RAM: "STOP 0x0000000A"

warning   Warning

  • If you do not have a legal copy of XP with your corresponding or better Upgrade Vista, then you have violated the EULA and it is considered theft which you may face prosecution for. For the license terms for Vista, see: Microsoft: License Terms for Software Licensed from Microsoft
  • You can upgrade from your current edition of Microsoft Windows XP to a corresponding or better edition of Windows Vista by purchasing and installing an upgrade copy of Windows Vista. Go to this link for details on corresponding versions: Windows Vista: Upgrade Paths from Previous Versions
Tip   Tip
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS FOR VISTANOTE: For more information, see: Microsoft Windows Vista: Recommended System Requirements

Vista Home Basic
  • Processor: 1GHz (32 or 64 bit)
  • System Memory (RAM): 512MB
  • Hard Drive: 20GB with 15GB available for Vista
  • Video Card: 32MB Memory and DirectX 9 Support
  • DVD-ROM Drive
Vista Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate
  • Processor: 1GHz (32 or 64 bit)
  • System Memory (RAM): 1GB
  • Hard Drive: 40GB with 15GB available for Vista
  • Video Card: 128MB Memory, DirectX 9 Support with: WDDM Driver, Pixel Shader 2.0, 32bits per pixel
  • DVD-ROM Drive


warning   Warning
Before doing this clean install, you should download and save all of your device drivers to a USB flash drive, another HDD\partition, DVD, or some other media, to have them handy to make setting Vista back up easier after installation.

1. Boot the computer from your Vista Upgrade installation DVD.
NOTE: Make sure that the CD/DVD drive is selected first in the boot order in the BIOS.
2. When prompted, press any key to start Vista from the installation DVD. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: You will only have about 8 seconds to press this key. If you miss it, you will have to restart the computer.

3. Set up your language preferences and click on Next. (See screeshot below).​

4. Click on Install Now to start the installation. (See screenshot below)​

5. Select Do not get the latest updates for installation. (See screenshot below)​

6. Do not type in a product key. (See screenshot below)​
7. Leave the Automatically activate Windows when I'm online box unchecked.​
8. Click on Next.​

9. Click on the No button for the Do you want to enter your product key now? prompt. (See screenshot below)​

10. Select which version of Vista you have. (See screenshot below)​
11. Check I have selected the edition of Windows that I purchased and click on Next. (See screenshot below)​

12. Click on Custom (advanced). (See screenshot below)​

13. Select the hard drive you want to install Vista on and click on Drive Options (advanced). (See screenshot below)​

14. Click on Format to format the hard drive. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If you have more than one partition on this hard drive and want to get rid of it to make one big drive, then click Delete for each partition. Now click on New and adjust the partition size to what you want, then click on Format.
15. Click on Next when it is done formating the hard drive.​

16. Follow any instructions left until Vista is finished installing and has rebooted to the final welcome screen on the Vista desktop.​


17. When this first install is done, run the Vista Upgrade installation again from within the First Install (STEP ONE) of Vista this time.​
WARNING: Do not boot from the Vista DVD this time. Leave the Vista installation DVD in the CD/DVD drive.
A) Click on Computer in the Start menu.​
B) Click on the DVD drive to open a window with the DVD files.​
C) Click on Setup to start the 2nd install.​
D) Repeat steps 4 and 5 above.​

18. This time, type in your product key for Vista and click Next. (See screenshot below step 8)​
NOTE: If you are upgrading from Vista to another version of Vista, then type in the product key for the new version.
19. Leave the Automatically activate Windows when I'm online box unchecked. (See screenshot below step 8)​
20. Check the I accept the license terms box. (See screenshot below step 21)​
21. Click on Next.​

22. This time, click on the Upgrade option. (See screenshot below)​

23. To setup Vista, see the STEP TWO section here: How to Do a Clean Install with a Full Version of Vista
24. Remove the Vista installation DVD.​
25. Run Disk Cleanup.​
A) Check Files discarded by Windows upgrade. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: These will be the leftover upgrade files, C:\$INPLACE.~TR and C:\$WINDOWS.~Q, that did not get copied over.
B) Click on OK to delete it.​

26. Update your WEI score.​
27. Now all you need to do is to activate Vista.​
A) Right click Computer (Start Menu) and click Properties, or open the Control Panel (Classic View) and click on the System icon.​
B) Scroll down a bit and click: Activate Windows Now. (See screenshot below)​

NOTE: Now you have a clean install of the Upgrade version with no remnants of XP, or previous OS, to mess you up later.

That's it,



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New Member
Hi, I read thru this and it does not look like anyone asked this.

I am trying to upgrade from 32bit to 64bit (both are Vista Ultimate)

I have tried doing the boot from DVD part but that message does not come up.

I have a dual processor mother board 2.40Ghz on both processors. The system says 6600 @ 2,40Ghz 2.40Ghz and I have 2 Gig Ram

If the Boot from CD/DVD message doesn't come up, what can I do? It wont let me gfo back to XP either. I am somewhat familiar with computers, I have an A+ Cert from CompTia, I got before Vista came out. I just got the computer from a buddy I served with, taking from the depths of hell WIN98 to this hell, lol.

I did press the space bar after the start up screen and it gave me a list of options to choose from for booting but nothing about installation or upgrade.

Boot Logging
lower resolution
last known good config
Debugging and few others.


Staff member
Hello Vetelmo, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Technically you cannot upgrade from a 32-bit to 64-bit OS, or the other way around. You can only do a clean install instead.

Boot into your BIOS settings (should see what key to press to boot to it briefly at startup) and double check to make sure that the CD/DVD is listed first in the boot priority order list, then the hard drive that Vista is to be installed on.

Hope this helps,


New Member
I think I am screwed then..... It is already set up that way. Does it matter that the CD/DVD drive is also the third one?


Staff member
I would recommend to only have it listed as the first option. If you do not have anything for a 3rd option, then you can usually set the 3rd option as disabled or none. However, it still should have booted from the CD/DVD if it was listed first. You only have 8 seconds to "Press a key to boot from CD" at boot before it continues the startup though. Do you think you may have missed it? Are you able to boot from the disc on another computer?


New Member
I do not have another to test it on as all of my computers have always been gifts, lol. So my last was a WIN98. I definitely did not miss it. I tired with the 32bit disc and then switching after I hit a key but it caught me and slapped my hand for doing so. I have restarted at least 10 different times staring without blinking and hitting a key at random times thru the boot process. That brings up a screen much like theone you get if Vista crashes and it asks wether you want to go into safe mode or boot normally. It gives abpout 10 options, none having to do with the set up process.


Staff member
It's hard to say for sure, but it looks like you may have a bad installation disc or hard drive. Does the screen you say that looks like when Vista crashes have any error messages on it? If so, what is the exact message?


New Member
Ok, I will do that again and write it down. I changed that third setting for the CD/DVD drivein the boot process. While I was there I lokked at the boot setting config and this what was there.

Case Openiong Warning Enabled
Quick Boot Enabled Enabled
Boot Up Floppy Disc Seek Disabled
Boot Up Number Lock On
Full Screen Logo Enabled
Halt On All but diskette

P.S. If Diskette is the 3.5", I dont have one but "could" switch one of my win98 but this ultra bad ass thing might turn a nose to it.....


New Member
ok... BTW, thank you for your time and help. :)

There are actually two screens that come up.
1st is a screen asking me which OS I want to start - only option is Vista
To specify option hit F-8
Tab to select tools
The only tools is the Memory Diagnostic

When I press F-8 the list of options I was speaking aboput before comes up.

Safe Mode
Safe Mode w/ Networking
Safe Mode w/ cmd prompt

Last Known Config (advanced)
Dir Svcs Mode
Disable Automatic Restart on System Failure
Disable Driver Sig enforcement

Start Normally

Can't I nuke this and make it start from scratch? lol


Staff member
It sounds like you are never booting to your Vista installaton DVD. Unfortunataly, you can nuke it and reinstall Vista if you cannot boot from the Vista installation disc. :(

I'm not sure what else to do unless you can confirm if the installation disc is any good or not by testing it on a friends computer. :(


New Member
Hmmm.... Rubs it really good and trys again, lol. It looks good. Does that count?? lmao!

It must be the CD because the other one does it and this one does not......


New Member
Wow, this sucks, lol. My computer crashed today and kept freezing at load up. I think I restarted around 17 times and THE only way to get her back was to put in that 64bit CD in the DVD drive.........


New Member
O k, swo I got it back to XP, yesterday but the CD won't do anything when I restart the computer...... I called Microsoft and of course THEY want money to tell me their little secret to getting it to work..... Im getting pissed off now.....


Staff member

It sounds like you CD/DVD drive itself may be the problem. You may need to get a new one. Test you CDs/DVDs on another computer to verify that they work fine on it. If so, then it's your DVD drive.


New Member
Im thinking it is the CD because the XP Cd and the Vista 32 bit will show the message but this one that has thge 32 and 64bit will not....


Vista Pro
Thank you shawn..... This turtorial worked a tread although I did find some of the instructions to be in the wrong order however it was not hard to work out I.e I had to go steps 1, 2, 4, 5, 3, 6 and so on
once I'm up and running fully I will try make time to explain the steps fully
well thanx again for the tutorial.... Once updated I'll be following your instructions on how to make a full backup of vista ;)


Vista Pro
Yes I thought that too.... but it was easy anough to work out.....
my install wen in this order though... not sure if the version and type seem to make any difference but.....

1. Boot the computer from your Vista Upgrade installation DVD.
2. When prompted, press any key to start Vista from the installation DVD.
4. Click on Install Now to start the installation.
Select Do not get the latest updates for installation.
3. Set up your language preferences and click on Next.

then everything else goes in the correct order intill you get to step 2 then the order repeats its self

My version of vista is Ultimate x64 Upgrade.

By the by 15. Click on Next when it is done formating the hard drive. seems to be also missing its attachement.... something you might want to fix :)


New Member
Dear Brink

Thank you so much for this very easy to follow tutorial. I was tearing my hair out and had given up hope of resolving my pc issues before I found it, but now both my desktop, and a laptop I'd assumed was beyond help, are up and running perfectly.

Thank you again :D