I’m sure you noticed that Windows 7 RC started displaying warnings and notifications to back-up your data and install a new, clean installation of Windows 7 RTM (Final version), or other operating system.
RC will stop functioning on June, 1st. That does not mean that you can use it properly to that date, because Microsoft will start shutting down your computer every two hours, starting from March.
That’s why it is time to make a decision to either buy the final version of Windows 7, or go back to your old OS, like XP or Vista (not my recommendation).
If you decided to go for Windows 7 final version, then you need to know that you can’t just upgrade to final version. Microsoft demands that you install a new copy of Windows 7, which means deleting all software that was once installed and maybe even losing some data.
To skip all those problems, here is a workaround that will enable you to simply upgrade your Windows 7 RC to the final version, without need to install a clean copy and delete any software or data on your PC.
This is the error message you will see if you try to upgrade:
Just a quick note before we begin:
The Windows 7 beta and RC versions were Ultimate edition, so you’ll only be able to upgrade to Final version if you are installing Ultimate Edition.
You will need to edit a file inside the Windows 7 installation DVD. And to be able to edit files, you need to extract all files of the DVD to your hard drive.
1. If you have a DVD, then just copy all files to a new folder on your PC.
If you use ISO image to install Windows 7, you can extract the files from ISO by using 7-Zip archiving software, which is free, and you can download it here.
2. After you’ve extracted the files, Find the “sources” folder and open it.
3. Inside that folder, find the file named “cversion.ini“, and double click to open it.
4. You need to change the “MinClient” value to some number less than the current number of the build you are using (e.g. build number of RC version is 7100). So for the RC release, you need to change it to “7000″.
Don’t forget to leave that zero, near the value edited, as it is. (it should look just like on the image above)
5. Now just launch the setup.exe right from there (hard drive) and upgrade the system. Or if you prefer, you can burn these files to a DVD and then install it… That’s up to you.
When you launch the setup, you should see the welcome screen, like on the image below. Go ahead and click Install Now.
When you get to the point where it asks you about the type of installation, choose the “Upgrade” option.
When, or if, you reach the Compatibility Report screen like in the image below (if it doesn’t show up at all, you should be happy), you’ll see the list of applications that might not work once you have finished the upgrade.
To be honest, this is not 100% accurate, because, from my experience, many of them will work without any problems. But just in case, uninstall them, and then install them again, after the setup finishes.
After you finish all those steps, you should see that Windows 7 started installing.
Now go get a cup of coffee and find something to do in the meantime, because this will take a while to finish.