Windows Anytime Upgrade

Aren’t happy with the features you have in Vista? Want more?

Microsoft allows the user to upgrade from one version of Vista to the next without having to pay the full purchase price for a new copy of Vista.

Vista Home Basic –> Vista Home Premium
Vista Home Basic –> Vista Ultimate
Vista Home Premium –> Vista Ultimate
Vista Business –> Vista Ultimate


– Doing the Windows Anytime Upgrade does NOT simply unlock the features you want. It requires an in-place Upgrade installation. Just like if you were upgrading from XP to Vista.

The Windows Anytime Upgrade procedure will load special software that will start the Vista upgrade program when you insert your disc. It will then reboot the system and re-install the entire OS over itself.

Make sure you don’t need access to your system for at least an hour! A clean install of Vista may finish up in 30 minutes, but an upgrade install may take an hour.

– When you pay for the upgrade, you are NOT given a new CD-Key. Nothing to write down, no email with information, etc.

You can use something like Magic Jellybean Keyfinder to read your new key from the registry. After the upgrade to Ultimate, the Keyfinder gave me a key that was different than my printed Business key.

It isn’t a normal Vista CD Key though!

– You can not do a clean install with the key.
– You can’t even do an Upgrade install of Vista from another OS.

It’s a special WAU Product Key.

If you try to use it for a normal Vista install or even an upgrade install, you will get this message: “The product key you entered cannot be used when installation is started from this edition of Windows.”

From Microsoft:
– You have to install the version of Vista that your original key is for (such as Business).
– Activate it.
– Then use the “WUA Product Key” to Upgrade.


– The upgrade/purchase is supposed to end up in your Digital Locker. You can view this from going to Control Panel and searching for “locker” or through the Microsoft Digital Locker website.

After I made the purchase, it did NOT appear in my locker. This had me worried at first. Microsoft has already responded to my support email though. They said:

“If you purchased your software from Windows Anytime Upgrade, the Windows Anytime Upgrade you bought will appear on your Digital Locker three days after your date of purchase.”