How to do install upgrade version of Windows 8 when I no longer have my old WIndows version (Vista) but I have the product key


Jul 28, 2014
I have a Sony Vaio FW270 which came with Windows Vista. When Windows 8 came out, I took advantage of the cheap upgrade price (less than Windows 7 at the time) and bought an upgrade version of WIndows 8 Pro. I installed it and everything was fine till now.

My computer has been slow and bogged down lately, so I had the bright idea of doing a clean format of my hard drive and reinstalling Windows 8. I backed up my files, and eventually figured out how to use my Windows 8 boot disk to reformat my hard drive, then installed Windows 8. I had a ton of memory and it was running fast-fast-fast. I was happy, till it asked me for my product activation key... "WTF?" I thought, since I had had to enter the key during set up already. I entered it again, NOT ACCEPTED.

I googled this. Apparently, since there was no old Windows version on my computer when I installed it, it won't accept my upgrade product key. I understand it'll shut down after about 30 days. The fix recommend online was to find my old Vista restore disk, install Vista on my hard drive, then upgrade it using the Windows 8 boot disk. Time-consuming, but okay... Except I cannot find my Windows Vista recovery disks. I did see that my Vista product key is on a sticker on the back of my computer, so there is that.

My best guess what I need to do is download a version of Windows Vista, install it over Windows 8, presumably it'll accept my product key, then reinstall (re-re-reinstall at this point) WIndows 8 and then it should activate fine with my upgrade product key. Except that sounds like a lot of time wasted. Is there a short-cut to this, or do I really have to go through all those steps? Have I missed anything? Will those steps actually work? I've already spent over a dozen hours trying to accomplish this, I don't want to waste more time on a dead end.

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