I purchased a Windows 7 Professional upgrade. I have a legitimate copy of Vista Ultimate so am legally OK with buying the upgrade. What I wanted to do however was install the Windows 7 upgrade onto a new hard drive I just purchased for the same laptop and not do an in place upgrade.
The install went great (did a custom install) until it came to the product key. It would NOT accept the product key that came in the package. The Error code was 0xC004F061, License not for clean installations. I did overcome this issue by speaking to Microsoft for over an hour on the phone. The guy at MS I spoke with was from Bangalore India, and he spoke jolly good English!!
Here is the full procedure from an empty hard drive to activated Win7.
1. Install using custom option to partition and install windows 7 as you see fit.
2. At the product key prompt do not enter anything and un-check the auto activate check box.
3. Windows 7 now operates great, except it is not activated. You have 30 days.
4. Run regedit and visit the following key
and change the value of MediaBootInstall from one to zero.
Update 2009:12-02 Follow the registry mod with the following at a command prompt
The product should activate now. If not continue with step 5 below.
5. Put the Windows 7 upgrade DVD in the drive and perform another Windows 7 installation. (You may have to reboot prior to the install starting successfully).
6. Be sure to not update the install automatically and be very sure to select ‘Upgrade‘.
7. After the install finishes enter the product key. It should be accepted and you can activate from windows once it logs in again.
Prior to calling Microsoft I tried everything from having the original Vista install CD in the drive during activation, to attaching my old HD via an external HD enclosure. The activation process does not recognize the old Vista either as install CD or the old installed version.
Making a drive image now that it is activated using Acronis True Image is the way to avoid this again should something go awry with my HD or OS.
Update 2009-11-20: For more options for performing a clean install using upgrade media, visit Paul Thurrrott’s supersite for windows. It appears that the Microsoft support technician left out an important step during the registry hack which necessitated the double install. The second install could have been avoided.