Performing a Clean Install with an Upgrade Version of Vista

While most Windows Vista product editions are available in both Full and Upgrade versions, the differences between each aren’t widely understood. The more expensive and seemingly more capable Full versions are designed to be installed only in a so-called “clean” install. That is, when you purchase a Full version of Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate, you’re expected to install the software on a PC from scratch, and not upgrade an existing version of Windows to Windows Vista.

The Upgrade versions of Windows Vista, despite their apparently lower status, are in fact more powerful than the Full versions, because they can be used in different ways. Yes, you can use an Upgrade version of Vista to upgrade an existing version of Windows to Windows Vista, but you can also use an Upgrade version of Windows Vista to perform a clean install of the operating system.

The process for doing so, alas, is fairly convoluted. This wasn’t always the case: In previous versions of Windows, you could boot a PC with the Upgrade Windows Setup disk and, at some point during setup, be prompted to insert the Setup disk from your then older Windows version to prove that you qualified for Upgrade pricing. With that bit of legal maneuvering out of the way, you could then proceed with setup and complete a clean install using the Upgrade media.

Unfortunately, Microsoft disabled this upgrade compliance capability in Windows Vista, leading some to believe that it was now impossible to use Vista Upgrade media to perform a clean install. Microsoft’s own support documentation says as much. In Knowledge Base article 930985, the company notes that “you cannot use an upgrade key to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.”

Fortunately, there are workarounds. One is documented by Microsoft and will likely be unacceptable to most users. The other is documented here and should work for just about anyone, though the process is admittedly a bit time-consuming.

Microsoft’s Documented Method for Clean-Installing Vista with Upgrade Media
According to Microsoft, the only way to perform a clean install of Windows Vista using Upgrade media is to do so on a computer on which a previous version of Windows 2000, XP, or Vista is already installed. For this to work, you need to insert the Vista Upgrade disk while running the previous operating system, run Setup, and then choose Custom (Advanced) at the appropriate place during setup.

This method is perfectly acceptable for users who wish to install Windows Vista in a dualboot setup. But if you want a cleaner system that’s free of previous-OS detritus, there’s a better way—a secret way.

Is this process legal? After all, anyone could purchase an Upgrade version of Windows Vista (thereby saving a lot of money compared to a Full version) and use it to perform a clean install even if they don’t own a previous, compliant Windows version.

If you own a previous version of Windows, yeah, it is legal. If not, no, it isn’t legal. It’s that simple. From a technical standpoint, Microsoft designed Windows Vista to support upgrading from a previously installed copy of Windows 2000, XP, or Vista. It’s not a hacker exploit but rather a supported process that was deliberately programmed into the setup routine. It’s perfectly okay to do… as long as you are indeed a licensed user of a previous version of Windows. So go forth and upgrade. Legally.

Undocumented Method for a Clean Install of Vista with Upgrade Media
To perform a clean install of Vista with Upgrade media, you need to install Windows Vista once using the Upgrade Setup disk, but without entering your product key during setup. Then, once you’ve loaded the Vista Desktop for the first time, you can run setup again from within Vista and choose Upgrade (even though you’ll be “upgrading” to the exact same version of Vista). Allow setup to complete a second time, and then you’re good to go: You can enter your product key after the second setup routine is completed and activate Windows Vista successfully. These instructions work with both the original version of Windows Vista and the version that includes Service Pack 1. Here are the complete instructions:

Step 1: Install Windows Vista
Boot your PC with the Windows Vista Upgrade DVD. After the preliminary loading screen, click Next to skip past the language preferences screen and then click the Install Now button to trigger Vista Setup. In the next screen, you are prompted to enter your product key, but leave the Product Key field blank, deselect the option titled “Automatically activate Windows when I’m online,” and then click Next. Vista Setup will ask you whether you would like to enter your product key before continuing. Click No. On the next screen, you’ll be presented with a list of the Windows Vista product editions you can install. This list may vary from locale to locale, but you’ll see options such as Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, and some N editions. Choose the product edition you actually own. You’ll be asked to verify that you’ve chosen the correct version. Do so and click Next. On the next screen, agree to the End User License Agreement (EULA) terms and click Next again.

On the next screen, you select the type of install. Choose Custom (Advanced), not Upgrade. Next, you choose the partition to which Windows Vista should be installed, and you can perform some basic disk-related tasks. If you’re installing Windows Vista to a new PC, you can simply continue. Otherwise, you can format and partition the hard drive as needed before proceeding. I recommended formatting if a previous OS is installed.
Once Vista is successfully installed and you are logged on, you’ll be presented with your new Vista Desktop. Don’t get too comfortable, however, as you’re about to do it all again.

Step 2: Upgrade
If you try to activate Windows now, it will fail because you’ve performed a clean install of Vista and you have only an Upgrade product key. That means you have 30 days during which you can run this nonactivated version of Windows Vista, but why wait 30 days? compliant version of Windows, such as Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Windows
2000.” Well, you just installed Windows Vista, so why not just upgrade from that install? That’s right: You’re going to upgrade the nonactivated clean install you just performed, which will provide you with a version of the OS that you can, in fact, activate.

To do this, just select Computer and double-click on the icon for the DVD drive that contains the Vista Upgrade media. Run setup again, this time from within Vista. Choose Install Now, and then Do Not Get the Latest Updates for Installation on the next screen. Then, in the now-familiar product-key phase, enter your product key. It’s on the back of the pull-out Vista packaging. You can choose to automatically activate Windows when online; it’s your choice. On the next screen, accept the Windows EULA.

Now choose the Upgrade option. Windows will install as before, though you might notice that it takes quite a bit longer this time. (Upgrade installs take up to 60 minutes, compared to 30 minutes or less with clean installs, and reboot at least one additional time.)

Because you’ve just completed an upgrade install, you won’t be prompted to enter your user name and so forth (only the Automatic Updates and time zone screens are presented). Then you’ll move to the setup performance check (again). When that’s completed, enter the user name and password you created during the fi rst install and log on to Windows. Now that you’ve “upgraded” Vista, product activation will actually work. To activate Vista manually and immediately (unless you told it to do so during setup), from the Start Menu, right-click Computer and choose Properties. Then, at the bottom of the System window that appears, click the link titled Activate Windows Now.

Source of Information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

How Google Sites Fits with the Other Google Apps

Google Apps ( is made up of five fully-functioning online applications: Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Talk, and Sites. Communicating with other people on the Internet is a snap with Gmail and Talk, and collaboration is simple with Calendar, Docs, and Sites. Each of these apps are fully functioning programs that allow you to do your work, such as e-mail and word processing, from any Web browser, instead of relying on your computer’s other installed software. Additionally, you can quickly access information you store online by using mini versions of the apps called gadgets. There are different editions of the whole Google Apps package, depending on your organization and needs. These include:

- Team Edition: If you already have a school or work e-mail address, this edition adds Calendar, Docs, Talk, and Sites to the mix. Plus, you can instantly start connecting with other users in your organization that have already signed up. (Click the link for Coworkers or Classmates.)

- Standard Edition: If your group or business is just starting out or is switching from another service, such as Outlook, this free edition of Google Apps lets you use all five services with your existing domain name with minimal e-mail advertisements. (Click the Business IT Managers link, click the See Details and Sign Up button, and then click Compare to Standard Edition)

- Premier Edition: This edition costs $50 per user per year, but adds more functionality and security than Standard Edition, more storage space, provides 24/7 support, and gets rid of the ads. (Click the Business IT Managers link.)

- Education Edition. This is just like Premier Edition, but free for universities, schools, and other nonprofit organizations. (Click the School IT Managers link.) These apps just so happen to play nice with each other, too, by allowing you to easily share information from one app with another. Some of the features we talk about in this book include alerts, which are sent to your e-mail account, and embedded calendars, which help your team members know what’s coming up. In the next few sections, we give you a taste of what each of the other apps does and provide examples of how you can include them in your sites by using gadgets.

Google Calendar ( keeps track of your events. You can easily add new calendar items and access them from anywhere, including your BlackBerry or iPhone. In Calendar, you can create separate calendars for your personal and team-related events and share them with other members of your team. Displaying your team calendar is easy in Google Sites, thanks to the Calendar gadget. From your site, everyone can quickly find upcoming events or follow up on meetings that happened.

Create, edit, and store documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online with Google Docs ( Google Docs features a surprisingly powerful word processor, spreadsheet editor, and presentations app that provide most of the tools you need. One of the cool things about Docs is that you can share your documents with other team members and work on them at the same time. This way, any changes you make are automatically updated and everyone else can see them right away.

It should be no surprise, then, that you can include your docs on GoogleSites, too. Beyond simply creating links to your individual docs, Google Sites uses gadgets to place the content of your docs directly on your pages. For example, use the Spreadsheet gadget to include a list you have stored in a spreadsheet or the Presentation gadget to play an animated slideshow of a quarterly report.

Gmail ( is Google’s solution to e-mail. It features a simple interface and a lot of cool innovations, such as conversations and labels. You can also use Gmail with your favorite e-mail program, such as Outlook or Thunderbird. Unlike other free e-mail services, which feature annoying graphical ads, Gmail uses text ads that are less bothersome.

With Google Apps, Gmail works with your group’s domain name. This means that your e-mail can still be, but you can use Gmail’s intuitive interface and have your e-mail hosted by Google. Google Sites uses e-mail notifications to let your group or team members know when something changes on your site. When a change is made to a page, Google Sites sends subscribers an e-mail showing exactly what changes were made and gives you a link to open that page directly.

When e-mail simply isn’t fast enough, use Google Talk ( Talk is a really cool instant messaging app that you can either download to your computer or run directly from your site. If you’re using Google Apps Team Edition, your co-workers or fellow students are automatically added to your contact list. When one of your contacts is online (they’ll have a green dot next to their name), simply click their name and start telling them why they’re the best member of your team. When you chat with more that one person, each conversation shows as a tab along the top of the Talk gadget. Add the Talk gadget to any page on your site, and you and your team members are signed in automatically each time you visit.

Source of Information : Google Sites and Chrome

Why Google Sites Is the Right Way to Do Things

Google Sites incorporates the best aspects of Web page, wiki, and file sharing technology into an easy-to-use online tool. But choosing Google Sites is about more than playing with a shiny new service — it’s also about saving you time and money.

Simplifying your life
The first thing you notice with Google Sites is Google’s trademark simplicity. Although other services may have more bells and whistles, Google Sites keeps it simple and gives you the features you need to get your work done without making you master a whole new complicated set of tools and features. With Google Sites, you can focus more on coordinating group activities to accomplish your tasks and less on figuring out all the extra stuff. Plus, you get all the training you need from this book. Now that’s simple!

Saving money
Google Sites is free. Talk about saving money. You don’t have to invest in expensive servers and software. All you need is an Internet connection and a Web browser, either of which you could get free at your public library, if you wanted.

All of your pages, wikis, and files are hosted for free, along with your other Google services. The exception, of course, is if you use Google Apps Premier Edition (, but in that case, your organization is really paying for the support. (Google Apps Premier Edition, along with all other editions of Google Apps).

Google can provide these services free because of the money they make on Internet search advertising. Next time you use Google Search, look for the sponsored links to the right of your results. That’s what pays the engineers to create these high-quality tools.

Source of Information : Google Sites and Chrome

Comparing Google Sites to Other Team Sites

Microsoft Office Live Workspace
Microsoft Office Live Workspace ( — a free service that’s probably the most similar to Sites — offers users the ability to share files easily and to comment on projects. Unlike Sites, however, there’s no Web page tool, so creating a wiki site isn’t part of the package.

The main advantage to using Office Live Workspace is that if you use Microsoft Office, you can download a plug-in that gives you easy access to save your Office documents directly to the site. Office Live’s big brothers, Groove and SharePoint, offer additional features for larger companies but also require expensive servers and software. To use Office Live Workspace, you need a Windows Live ID and password, which you can get free at

Blackboard and Moodle
Blackboard ( and Moodle ( are both great tools for teachers to keep track of classes, handouts, quizzes, and grades. They provide tools for pretty much any aspect of your class needs. But they’re also very complex and require extensive training every time a new semester rolls around.

Blackboard and Moodle both require servers to run on, and someone to maintain them. You also have to pay a license fee for Blackboard. If your school already uses either one, they have gone ahead and taken care of the cost. In cases where you don’t need all the bells and whistles or if you use other publisher-provided tools, Google Sites gives you the basics to share all of your classroom information with the students in your class. For an example of using Google Sites for a classroom.

Adobe takes a slightly different approach to sharing files. They offer five services through their Web site,, which allow you to create and share individual files with others:

- Buzzword is an online word processor similar to Google Docs.
- ConnectNow lets you host online conferences and share your screen over the Internet.
- Create PDF is a tool to transform your documents into portable document format.
- Share lets you upload and invite others to see your documents.
- My Files gives you a place to keep your files and access them from anywhere.

Instead of using a wiki-like interface, Acrobat gives you the option to enter the e-mail addresses of your team members so they can keep track of your files. Although this is useful for individual documents, it makes running a whole team project a little difficult because every time you want to share a file, you have to remember the addresses of everyone on your team. Still, the black interface is very easy to use and is just plain cool.

Source of Information : Google Sites and Chrome

Cloud storage is for blocks too, not just files

One of the misconceptions about cloud storage is that it is only useful for storing files. This assumption comes from the popularity of file...