Windows 7 Clean install with Upgrade license key Error Code 0xC004F061

I purchased a Windows 7 upgrade recently (my computer came with a full version of Vista). I got a new hard drive and did a clean install of Windows 7. When I attempted to use the key in the installation process, it told me the product key I was using was not valid. From the MS site it looked like I might have to install Vista first. Turns out this is not the case, it’s actually fairly easy around this.

*NOTE: Only follow these steps if you have a VALID Upgrade (I.e.: You legitimately own the previous full version you’re upgrading from)

This is what I did to solve the problem:

1. Do a clean install of Windows and do a keyless installation (I.e.: When it asks you to put in the key, just uncheck the “Validate Windows when I’m online” box and don’t enter the key; click “Next”)

Once you’re in Windows, you’re going to have to do some tweaking to “trick” it into letting you active Windows with the Upgrade key. To do this:
2. Once you’re at your desktop, run Command Prompt as Administrator (click Start, then type ‘command‘ in the Search box. You should see Command prompt on the list. Right-click it and click “Run as Administrator”. Click “Yes” on the Security Prompt).
3. At the command prompt, type: regedit
4. Once in Registry Editor, navigate to this key:
In that folder, look for the item MediaBootInstall
5. Double-click it and change the value to 0
6. Close out of Registry Editor. You should still have the Command Prompt open. Now, at the Command Prompt, type the following:
slmgr /rearm
7. It should show something that tells you the command was successful.
8. Restart the computer. Then, go to the Activation screen (Click Start, Right-click Computer then click Properties. Scroll to the bottom and choose “Activate my copy of Windows”)
9. Enter your Upgrade product key and it should activate successfully!


107 thoughts on “Windows 7 Clean install with Upgrade license key Error Code 0xC004F061

  1. RE windows 7 clean install with upgrade….. Thanks for the post! This will really help me because I cant find my Vista disks to reinstall. I also had to buy a new hard drive.

    When type “slmgr /rearm” they tell me I need elevated privileges.

    How do I get them?!

    Thanks Aurelius


  2. You need to *right-click* command prompt and choose “Run as Administrator” and then you’ll be good-to-go.


    I really do like windows and have never been one to bash them, but they hung up on me THREE TIMES while trying to fix the upgrade issue. They had me reinstall winXP to upgrade to win7 twice and each time I got the same error code.

    This also worked flawlessly for my laptop which didn’t come with installation cd’s for vista to upgrade from. 😡

  4. nope – all i get at slmgr /rearm is the VBS diplayed in full
    Should I be editing this file in notepad or somthing?

  5. You shouldn’t be editing any file. You want to go to the Command Prompt and run as Administrator:

    Start –> All Programs –> Accessories –> Right-Click “Command Prompt” –> choose “Run as Administrator”

    Then, type that command at the command prompt

  6. It worked perfectly on Win 7 Ultimate 64bit upgrade. Thank you!

    My hard disk with Vista died and this would have been a nightmare of wasted time with Microsoft. Microsoft shows true arrogance to treat its loyal customers this way. Apple can stop wasting money on TV ads. I already have Ubuntu on an old machine…

  7. Thanks – worked great! I wanted the clean install after my hard drive crashed so I was dismayed to find out (after installing Win7) that I would have to reinstall Vista in order to activate Win7. Glad I didn’t have to!

  8. This is wonderful ! Why the heck does Microsoft make life so hard for law abiding paying customers ?!?! The thieves have it easier than do the people who actually pay and get trapped by these DRM issues. Get rid of this crap Microsoft!!!!


    I used this to install Windows 7 on my new Mac via Parallels–I have a copy of Windows XP, so this was a legitimate upgrade, but there was no way I was going to install WinXP and THEN upgrade to 7. How stupid would that be?

    THANK YOU!! Microsoft wasted a crap ton of my time, but it would have been much worse if I hadn’t found your post.

    THANKS! 🙂

  10. Thanks a millions worked like a charm, at least now that I can enter the key, I only hope there are no problems down the road. Yaaaa.
    Clean install of Win7 Pro 64bit, on RAID. All is looking good.

  11. I am a computer beginner and this was so easy to follow and work perfect. Very helpful.

  12. I just used this and it was a life saver. You sir should be nominated for a Nobel Prize. Thank you!

  13. Yeah, I was puzzled when it didn’t accept my use of the license key they included with the software. I did a clean install to a new hard drive, rather than “upgrade” windows xp.

  14. You can try adding it as a String. If you’re not comfortable with the Registry don’t do this…I bear no responsibility if it causes your computer harm. Don’t muck around with the registry if you don’t know what you are doing.

  15. Just double checking that this will supposedly work for me – I want to do a clean install of Windows 7 now, on my machine currently running Vista Home Premium (Microsoft says you have from that to 7 Professional you can’t upgrade, you need a clean install) but after that I’d like to buy a new hard drive and install 7 again on that. This should work for me?
    Thanks a ton!!

  16. Excellent, worked for me, no flaws! Thanks I was dreading running pirated software to activate a legitimate copy of Windows!

  17. when i type in sImgr /rearm, I get “‘simgr’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.”

    Any ideas how I can get this done?


  18. Any MS wonders why people don’t feel like paying for their stuff…

    This worked great btw. I had a laptop that came with Vista and I bought the ms home premium pack (1 key for 3 computers) and the laptop drive died SO I figured that it would ask for a vista disk or something to show that I already had a OS since I put in a new HD. Never did any such thing. Then it gave me crap on installing and it refused my key so I hit next to see what would happen and stupid MS with their whorish attitude allowed me to install anyways. But I am glad it did because after a phone call to Azzimed Ackbar Ahmed who called herself Lisa and then about a half hour playing with the DAZ loader and trying the slmgr ipk command several times and getting the SAME error again I found this page and it worked fine. Now WHY didn’t MS just tell me to do this in the first place? Perhaps they do not know… (or they do not want to miss the chance to sell fully priced retail versions when people would just go buy the upgrades…

  19. Another happy customer! I would have been so angry if this wouldn’t have worked. I legitimately have an XP license and legitimately have a Win7 license, but rebuilt with fresh HDD.

  20. Thanks, this worked really slick. I was scared to death that I would have to spend many _more_ hours installing WinXP and then Win7 and all the apps and updates that I had installed over the last 2 weeks. I have the legit products and the thought of all this work was terrifying.

  21. I thank YOU for this perfect solution, it really works!!! I was despite that i need to install XP first, but you are magician 😉

  22. Wow, cannot thank you enough not to have to reinstall XP again, then Windows 7 again! Talk about a time-saver. You’re awesome!

  23. I’m so jealous it’s working for everyone else 😦

    I’m getting the same “Invalid product key” message as before I tried this fix. Everything with your instructions went perfect so thank you for that. After I restarted and put in my valid upgrade key it’s saying, “The product key you have entered will not work with this edition of windows 7.

    You must either run Windows 7 Setup or enter a Windows 7 Professional product key.”

    How come this didn’t work for me?
    Cleanly installed windows 7 pro, tried to enter the key the first time and that message showed up. Found your page, tried it, same thing.

    Thanks in advanced.

  24. It sounds to me like you have a different problem…perhaps you have an OEM key and a retail disk, or something? The “edition” error is slightly different than what my posted solution solves.

  25. Like so many other people, I lost a hard drive and decided it was time to upgrade from XP to Windows 7. I have a boxed copy of XP Home, full edition, so I purchased the Win 7 Home upgrade copy. Everyone here understands the frustration I was going through when Windows told me that my product key was invalid. I found this website, followed the steps exactly, and it worked perfectly.
    @Aurelius – Thank you so much for the instructions!

  26. I followed the directions carefully, but upon attempting to enter the legitimate upgrade key, I get error code 0x80072F8F. Any suggestions?

  27. worked a treat, great fix, thanks man, saved me having to install vista on my new gaming rig just to use my upgrade disks. that would have been long. i’m not great at this sort of stuff but that was an easy fix. nice one aurelius.

  28. I was really hopeful…but still get that 0xC004F061. Dang!
    Clean install of Win 7 Home Prem SP1 after disk crash on a netbook which had been upgraded from Win7 Starter and no original media. Any ideas? n.b. The upgrade key did not mention SP1. Thanks

  29. The SP1 wouldn’t matter. Did you follow everything exactly, including not adding the key during the install process?

  30. Thanks for response. I believe I followed instructions exactly. I didn’t have the key to hand during install. I have run Windows updates and done some tuning for SSD but that is all. I also tried changing the retail

  31. Your instructions worked perfectly, saving me the time and hassle of re-installing the original OS and then the upgrade, plus I would have lost all of the time I spend customizing the existing install. You are an IT superhero!

  32. Just the job! Upgraded XP to Win7 on old hard disk and a year later disk failed. Installed new SSD and did clean install onto SSD then met with this conundrum. This 2 minute workaround was a treat and saved me hours. Many thanks.

  33. Fantastic, thank you so much for posting this!

    After half an hour on the phone with MS’ activation line I was told to reinstall my Windows Vista, followed by Windows 7 upgrade to ensure the key was accepted.

    I was dreading another day lost reinstalling everything! This solution, however, worked perfectly.

  34. Thanks, My system was crashed, I did not have the old Vista disk anymore (and I also dont want to litter my disk with Vista stuff) so could not register with a clean Windows 7 install while I paid for Vista and for Windows 7 upgrade earlier. Now it works! Thanks again!

  35. Pingback: Windows 8: Clean installation with an Upgrade License -

  36. Worked for Windows 8 Pro RTM. I had an upgrade key but wanted to install this from scratch on my second laptop.

    I was stuck at Windows Activation and your tip saved the day!


  37. I have just one doubt…..
    whether this type of activation can create any problems in future…like updating from windows update manager or microsoft will detect this type of activation, etc, etc..
    ur comment would be appreciated.

  38. That’s a good question! I have done this activation myself several times and have never experienced that, even after using the computer for a year and doing all sorts of updates. This sort of workaround is not illegal or against Microsoft’s Terms of Use, it’s basically just letting you use the license you already legally have, so there is no reason that Microsoft should “shut off” your ability to activate with this method.

  39. I try it on Windows 8 Pro x64… but the system give me this error code: 0xC004FE00
    What should I do to get my windows working perfectly?

  40. This solution did not work for me. I ended up calling Microsoft support and had the problem resolved in 5 minutes. All activated now.


  41. Unfortunate, no joy MS is getting as bad as apple for screwing their customers. Thanks anyway, it gave me hope for a few mins!!!

  42. Thanks! It appears that when I did the old “install, bypass registration, install from setup” trick last week, it didn’t take. I was about a week into having reinstalled everything when the “activate windows” popped up and then it wouldn’t take the key… you saved me a lot of time. Cheers!

  43. STOP PRES, the process should work but I need to eat my words!! I stand by the Apple comment but apologize to Microsoft. just gone here and they reset my Win7 and it is as good as new. No fuss, no big inquisition just asked for my AUTHENTIC key and remotely sorted it – fantastic and blood treasure back to normal (took 2 mins). They do need to keep the fraudsters at bay, I can see that, so please don’t shoot off like me until you have tried their help people.

  44. You are my savior! worked like a charm… i cant believe microsoft. I called customer support and they pretty much told me im screwed and offered to connect me with someone to purchase a new copy, I laughed and said I was just going to steal a key from the net. Seriously? why did I even pay for this… never actually BUYING windows again.

  45. Hi, Neat post. There is a problem along with your web site
    in internet explorer, would test this? IE nonetheless is
    the market leader and a good portion of other people will pass over your
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  46. Hi There!
    Unfortunately its not working for me.I did everything as you sad and i got the 0xc004c008 error code.Any suggestion?
    Many Thanks

  47. its not working dude…. somebody help me. when i type slmgr /rearm it tells me that slmgr is not recognised as an internal and external command, operable program or batch file.. somebody help. my system is hp pavillion dv6 home premium.

  48. ashraf: You are either typing something wrong, or you have the wrong version of windows. What version of Windows are you on?

  49. Pingback: Clean install from Windows 7 using upgrade Error Code 0xC004F061 | Untidy Music Articles

  50. Thank you so much, this worked perfectly! Saved me having to dig out the disc and install from XP!

  51. I upgraded from Windows 7 Pro to Windows 8 Pro Upgrade version and about 3 months after a clean install I was getting msg ‘Windows not activated’ I than got error 0xc004f061 when I entered my Windows 8 key in the activation screen.
    The regedit fix above worked just fine.
    As happy as a sandboy!

  52. oh my god……..thanks

  53. Excellent. Just one note: MediaBootInstall was in a slightly longer registry string in my Win7 Ultimate 64-bit machine than you stated; but when I searched for it there was only one instance, and your solution worked like a charm.

  54. Pingback: How To Fix Error Code 0x80070001 Installing Windows 7 Errors - Windows Vista, Windows 7 & 8

  55. Microsoft FPP Product keys are sensitive case, Because Microsoft provide it for only one system at the same time, I was need the windows 7 key for my laptop to upgrade from home premium to professional, So I contacted to Microsoft but they denied to give me a sigle fpp key, So I searched all over the world to purchase it.
    Recently, I ordered at a site from India, They provided me 3 windows 7 pro oem keys with their stickers and 2 windows 8.1 pro oem keys, Which is legal and working good. I’m happy after getting so cheap oem license.
    You can also get an unused Windows 7(any version)8, 8.1 pro License key from: ODosta Store
    Otherwise, FPP keys are very costly, Usually it come with full package with DVD media, So I suggest to buy oem keys, Which has branded from Dell, Hp, Lenovo etc, As its mean “Original Equipment Manufaturer”.

  56. I am very grateful that I found your site. I called Microsoft after dealing for a few weeks with the problem that occurred first when my hard drive crashed, and then after lasting a short time, I stopped getting the initial “beep”, and nothing would load. When I finally got up and running again, my 7 Pro was suddenly “not Genuine”. Called Microsoft, couldn’t understand the rep, and gave up when his instructions failed. Finally found you after checking out other sites. Again, very grateful.

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