I have the following CD's:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium (Upgrade)
  • Windows Vista Ultimate (Full)
  • Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade)

I would like to install Windows 7 on a mac with boot camp. It seems that Apple doesn't support installations via upgrade discs.

From what I understand, this means that I can't simply begin the installation using the Windows 7 CD, since it is an upgrade version. What I didn't understand, though, is if I can upgrade the OS once it is installed. For example, if I install the full version of Windows Vista Ultimate, could I then upgrade it to Windows 7? Or is my only option to purchase a full edition of Windows 7?

2 Answers 2


Actually, it's not that Apple won't let you install Windows from an upgrade disc—it's Microsoft that won't.

Think of it in terms of a blank hard drive on (what will be) a Windows PC. You can't use an upgrade disc to install Windows, as there's no OS there to upgrade.

However, once Windows is installed, you can then upgrade to a later version of Windows. This is covered in the Boot Camp Installation & Setup Guide (pdf), page 15+.

  • Just to make sure I understood you correctly... are you saying that I can install the full version of Vista, then upgrade it to Windows 7?
    – Senseful
    Jan 19, 2011 at 5:07
  • @Senseful - that's what the Guide says. Page 15: "You can upgrade… Windows Vista to Windows 7." Page 16: "6. Insert your Windows 7 installation or upgrade disc." @Martín almost definitely knows much more than I do about how well it works; I'm just saying that Apple clearly supports this upgrade path.
    – Dori
    Jan 19, 2011 at 5:35

What @dori said is correct. The ability (or lack of) to upgrade a Windows edition to another, is restricted by Microsoft. If what you have is correct, you could install Vista Ultimate and then upgrade to Windows 7, however, this is a bad idea in terms of final results.

Windows 7 "upgrades" haven't been too smooth according to users doing that both in Virtual Machines, Bootcamp and Native PCs. In fact, I have some Microsoft friends who recommended that I perform fresh W7 installs.

If you still want to try it, you can follow Microsoft's guide about Upgrading from vista to w7.

  • What kind of problems are you referring to? Is it just problems during the upgrade process itself? Or will there be problems in the resulting operating system after the upgrade process (e.g. it will be unstable, slow, buggy, etc.)?
    – Senseful
    Jan 19, 2011 at 5:08
  • @senseful Most of the problems were in the resulting operating system, as you correctly described. It's important to note that most of these were more prone to occur with machines that were not "fresh installed". I.e. full of crappy stuff and then upgraded. In any case, Windows Vista has been a terrible OS in terms of "everything", so I strongly suggest you try a "clean" install of W7 when possible. W7 is very light and works fine, but thinking about having a Vista "before" that gives me the creeps. :) Jan 19, 2011 at 10:37

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