Windows 7 - Install Windows 7 Home premium with Windows 7 Ultimate disk

Asked By Josiah on 23-Jan-11 06:03 PM
I have a Dell Studio 14 Laptop.
I would like to re-install the OS on it.
I have lost the disk.
I cannot do the factory restore because the hard drive has been replaced and did not ship back with the restore image.

The OS is Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.

I have a Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit disk. (OEM)

Can I install Windows 7 Home Premium onto my laptop with the Windows 7 Ultimate disk and my Windows 7 Home Premium product key?

Thanks in advance.  :-)

No - Robbe Morris replied to Josiah on 23-Jan-11 07:58 PM

Your product key needs to match your OS.  The different versions of Windows have different features and price ranges.  I would suspect that the validation of the key after install would fail.
Josiah replied to Robbe Morris on 23-Jan-11 08:22 PM
Okay, My question now is "How sure of that are you?"

I've done some research online.
It seems that the Windows 7 disks all contain pretty much the same stuff.  Depending on the product key that you enter however, it will choose the correct version to install and features offered in other versions are just "locked" until you upgrade to a higher version.

I also saw this question on the site.

It seems that you cannot use an OEM key to activate a retail install.
However, a retail key can be used to activate an OEM install though.  That would be what I am trying to do.

So if that link is correct, then it should work since Windows Vista is very similar to Windows 7.

Robbe Morris replied to Josiah on 23-Jan-11 10:10 PM
There are different flavors of Windows 7.  Ultimate I believe is the most advanced and feature complete version.  Knowing that versions are more expensive than others (like home edition), why would you expect a key for a cheaper version to automatically work on a more expensive version like Ultimate?
Josiah replied to Robbe Morris on 23-Jan-11 10:52 PM
Let me clarify.

I do not want to install Windows 7 Ultimate with a Windows 7 Home Premium key.

I want to install Windows 7 Home Premium with a Windows 7 Ultimate disk.

It looks as if all Windows 7 disks are the same.  The only difference being that your key determines what version you install.

So when I insert the disk and begin installation, it will ask for a product key.  I would then like to enter the Windows 7 Home Premium key from the bottom of my laptop.  Ideally this would then install Windows 7 Home Premium.  Non-ideally, it would not install, or I would be left with Windows Ultimate on my computer and unable to activate it within the 5 days or 30 days or however long you get until you have to activate.

But after more research, I have discovered the answer.  You are partially correct in that I cannot just use the Windows 7 Ultimate disk to install Windows 7 Home Premium with a Home Premium key.  However, you are wrong as to the reason.  It does work.  But only after you create a new disk in which the "ei.cfg" file under "Sources" on the Ultimate (Or whatever version you have) disk is either altered using notepad, or removed entirely, in which case you will be asked during installation what version you would like to install.

This proves difficult though, as we now have to move the files minus the ei.cfg file onto a new disk and make that disk bootable.  Making a disk bootable is hard to do.

This is one of the references that I found.  There are many more.

Robbe Morris replied to Josiah on 23-Jan-11 10:58 PM
Hmm, it is January 2011 and that blog post was written in July 2009.  My guess is your major issue will be activation.  Hard to imagine Microsoft letting a pretty big hole like this go unplugged.

Good luck with your install.  Post your success or failure back here.  Would love to hear your results.
Matty W replied to Josiah on 24-Jan-11 03:13 AM
Can I install Windows 7 Home Premium onto my laptop with the Windows 7 Ultimate disk and my Windows 7 Home Premium product key?

I should think not, after all. You're installing with a Windows 7 Ultimate disc, I would think that it only copies and makes Windows 7 Ultimate activation files when installed, it probably also only enables Windows 7 Ultimate keys to be entered

Mike Manny replied to Josiah on 24-Jan-11 10:30 AM
Being that you bought a dell, if it's not a dell issues OEm disk it most likely will not reinstall.  
Even if it lets you install it (see my ASUS laptop) it could eventually fail product valadation and trigger it's unregistered. 

Josiah replied to Josiah on 24-Jan-11 12:21 PM
Hi guys,
Thought I'd announce my success.
Here's how I did it.

1. I copied the files from my Windows 7 Ultimate disk onto my computer.
2. I then removed the "ei.cfg" file from the "Sources" folder.
3. Then I followed the steps here: to create a bootable flash drive.
4.  After the steps at that link, I just copied the files minus the "ei.cfg" file to the flash drive.
5.  DO NOT BOOT FROM THE DRIVE.  Open iin in "My Computer" and double click the "setup" file.
6.  Install as normal.
7.  At some point during the install, it will ask what version of Windows 7 you would like to install.
8.  Choose the correct version that you have the key for.
9.  Enter your key when it asks for it.
10.  Activation is the only tricky part.  You cannot activate through the internet.  You have to use the phone call method.

So it works.

Thanks!  :-)
Mike Manny replied to Josiah on 24-Jan-11 02:41 PM
Just keep in mind, that it will do checks in the background.  I did a similar thing with my ASUS laptop ( I think i said acer in previous message) and yet, every few weeks, it would fail windows genuine check in the background and turn unactivated again.  I highly suspect you are nto out of the clear, and would get the proper oem disk. 
Sharath Govindappa replied to Josiah on 25-Jan-11 10:42 AM

On the windows 7 DVD, do you have anything written as widnows anytime upgrade?

Usually OEM Windows 7 DVDs are shipped with Windows anytime upgrade feature. They would have a list of all the versions of windows 7 in it, all you have to do is purchase a product key and then keep on upgrading.

Most DVDs would have all versions listed, it unlocks the features of the version depending on what product key you have inserted.

So i would suggest booting off the dvd and then check if all versions are listed, if yes select the version you wanna install, enter the product key and proceed installation.

Hope it works out well

- Sharath