I’ve been looking for ways to upgrade Windows 7 Professional to Enterprise here at work so that BitLocker (and other features) would become available. I was lead to believe that the only way to accomplish this was to format the drive and install Windows 7 Enterprise from scratch, so I set about looking for hacks.
Searching through Google, I found a relatively simple approach that works quite well but takes the same amount of time as a re-install would. The upside is that it keeps all previously installed applications (and data) which is handy when you have a preconfigured machine.
So without further adieu…
To prepare, simply open up regedit and navigate to
HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion and modify EditionID
and ProductName so that they say Enterprise instead of Professional.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion] "EditionID"="Enterprise" "ProductName"="Windows 7 Enterprise"
Once you’ve modified the registry and changed the edition information, simply insert your Windows 7 Enterprise DVD into the drive and run the installer from within Windows. Follow the on-screen prompts and ensure you select Upgrade. Let the installer do its thing and, when finished, your former Professional installation should now be Enterprise. If for whatever reason the upgrade process fails, the installer will revert your windows back to the Professional version.
- Ensure you’re upgrading to the same service pack level. If you’re running Professional SP1, then upgrade to Enterprise SP1
- Be sure you enter in the new Product Key and activate Windows upon completion.
- If your Professional install has been deployed for a while, this method may not work.
- This process takes a while. If the machine you want to upgrade is fairly straight forward, you’d probably be best to just install Enterprise from scratch.
I’ve tried with older Professional deployments with mixed results, but have yet to encounter an issue with this method on new computers being readied for end users.
I am not responsible if your machine decides to format itself, spontaneously combust, or become the world’s first self-aware neural net-based artificial intelligence. I’ve used this method several times without data loss, or issue.