In the computer field, an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is a company that builds and sells computers, such as Dell or Toshiba. When you buy a computer from one of these companies with Windows pre-loaded, the version of Windows that is installed is an OEM version. Microsoft sells OEM versions of Windows to computer manufacturers for less than the full retail price, but it is the OEM rather than Microsoft that provides product support. If you have an OEM version of Windows XP installed, you can upgrade it to a retail version of Windows Vista.
Make sure that you have the correct version of Windows Vista before beginning the upgrade. Windows XP Home can be upgraded to any version of Windows Vista. Windows XP Professional can be upgraded to Windows Vista Business or Ultimate. Windows XP Media Center Edition can be upgraded to Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate, and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition can be upgraded to Windows Vista Business or Ultimate. If you have the incorrect edition of Windows Vista for your edition of Windows XP, you must perform a clean install rather than an upgrade. This article covers the process of upgrading Windows XP Professional to Windows Vista Ultimate, but the process of upgrading other versions is similar.
Start the computer and allow the Windows XP desktop to load completely. Insert the Windows Vista installation disc. If the installation program does not load automatically, click the "Start" button, then click "My Computer" and double-click the DVD drive. When the disc loads, click "Install Now."
Click the button to have Windows Vista check the Internet for any important software updates before the upgrade begins.
Enter the Windows Vista product key exactly as it is shown on the documentation included with the installation DVD. If you do not have the product key available, leave the box empty then click "Next" and "No." After Windows Vista is installed, you will be prompted to enter your product key and activate the operating system. This must be done within 30 days.
Read the license terms that are displayed on the screen. You must agree to the license terms for Windows Vista in order to continue. Click "Next."
Click the "Upgrade" button. This allows Windows Vista to be installed while retaining all of your programs and files. Click "Next." The installation files for Windows Vista are copied from the DVD to the hard drive, and the installation begins. Note that this part of the upgrade process may be lengthy on some computers.
Click "Use Recommended Settings" when asked how you would like Windows Vista to handle computer protection.
Enter the local date and time information, and click "Next."
Click a button to specify the type of network that your computer is connected to, then click "Start." Windows Vista loads, indicating that the upgrade is complete.
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