Switching Windows Versions – “Downgrading” to Enterprise

So I recently bought a new laptop and asked the IT people at RBA about which version of Windows to install on it. They said it was all on our network so I went out and saw we had both Ultimate and Enterprise versions. Being a sucker for marketing gimmicks I grabbed the Ultimate version because it sounded cooler.

Unfortunately, I chose wrong. I should have used the Enterprise version because that’s what we are licensed for. In the end, they are the same version, but Enterprise is sold only to businesses and Ultimate is sold to home users.

So you think it would be an easy task to switch from one to the other, but the only officially supported way is to completely reinstall and start over. I had just spent the entire night setting up all my software, so I didn’t really feel like doing it twice two nights in a row.

Luckily, there is a way to workaround the limitation, I’ve pulled and simplified from here: http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/11/03/hack-to-in-place-downgrade-from-windows-7-ultimate-or-professional-to-less-premium-editions/

The condensed version is to:

  1. Run RegEdit on your computer and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version
  2. In the right hand side change the word “Ultimate” to “Enterprise” under both the EditionID and ProductName entries
  3. From there I inserted the Windows 7 DVD and ran setup and chose upgrade and everything worked flawlessly

Note: I reran the setup from inside of Windows. I did not boot from the DVD to do the upgrade so I don’t know if it works that way or not.

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