Vista Upgrade Licensing Loophole

I was reading Windows Secret’s latest article on how to save $100 on  Vista by purchasing the upgrade cd and then doing a full install. He’s right – the loophole is there, but it is intended to aid users in doing clean installs when upgrading without requiring that the previous OS be installed first.

Ed Bott has it totally right – just because the loophole is there, it doesn’t mean that everyone can take exploit it and stay within Microsoft’s licensing agreement. Ed argues the point much better than I could, so I invite you to head over there and read it.


I wrote about this way back in February 2007, when the same sources issued the same breathless reports. Nothing has changed since then. If you qualify for an upgrade license, this technique allows you to do a clean install, legally. If you don’t qualify for an upgrade license, then doing a clean install with this technique is technically possible but violates the terms of the license agreement. Tha distinction seems to be lost on the folks who are dredging up this old story. So allow me to explain, again.