How to Troubleshoot Windows Anytime Upgrades

Windows Anytime Upgrade is Microsoft’s solution for Windows 7 customers who want more functionality. A Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade allows you upgrade an existing edition of Windows 7 to a higher edition with more features.

We took a look at this in a previous article showing you how to upgrade from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate. In this article, we will take a look at troubleshooting Anytime Upgrades since I have been noticing a number of people experiencing problems using Anytime Upgrades lately.

Supported Windows Anytime Upgrade paths: Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade Pricing List for USA

  • Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium: $79.99
  • Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Professional: $114.99
  • Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Ultimate: $164.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional: $89.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate: $139.99
  • Windows 7 Professional to Windows 7 Ultimate: $129.99

Countries Windows Anytime Upgrade is supported in:

If you are in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US you can use Anytime Upgrade. If not you will need to buy the version of Windows 7 you want.

Which Editions of Windows 7 support Anytime Upgrade?

Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium and Professional

Where are the Anytime Upgrades for Windows 7 Home Basic?

People running Windows 7 Home Basic, will need to do the Anytime Upgrade from within Windows 7 Home Basic by clicking Start, type Anytime Upgrade, click the option to purchase a upgrade key online and choose the edition they would like to upgrade to. If this option is not available to you or you don’t have a credit card, then you will need to purchase a retail upgrade or full version license and use the product key to do Anytime Upgrades.


I notice there are no Anytime Upgrade Cards available in stores for certain Anytime Upgrade Paths.

Not all editions of Windows 7 have an Anytime Upgrade card available in stores. Some upgrades will have to be done by purchasing the upgrade through Windows Anytime Upgrade or you need purchase the product key for the desired upgrade path through the Microsoft Store ( So, you might not be able to find product cards for Starter to Professional or Professional to Ultimate.

I purchased an Anytime Upgrade, but there is no disc.

Anytime Upgrades are only available as product keys on a product card, the software is already in Windows 7, all you need to do is launch it and enter the product key.

I purchased an Anytime Upgrade key online, I need to reinstall Windows 7, where do I find the product key?

The product key should have been sent to the email address you provided during the purchase. Check your Inbox or Junk Mail folder to see if the receipt is still there. If the license is still installed, you can use a key retrieval program to find the product key.

Here are four utilities, all of which will may display your product keys if they are still there:

My Windows Anytime Upgrade license refuses to activate.

If you did not activate the base qualifying license from which you upgraded, then you will need to use phone activation. If your activation request is refused, then the best option is to reinstall the original license, activate it then do the Anytime Upgrade again.

Activate Windows 7 manually:

1. Click Start, and in the Search box type :  slui.exe 4

2. Press ENTER on your Keyboard

3. Select your Country.

4. Select the Phone Activation option, and hold on for a real person.

How should I reinstall my Anytime Upgrade?

You will need to reinstall the base license first. For example, if your computer came with or you upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium, then you did an Anytime Upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate, you will first have to reinstall Windows 7 Home Premium, reactivate it, then do the Anytime Upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate again and reactivate it.

Windows Anytime Upgrade Fails with a Invalid Address error message.

Try using the 9 digit ZIP Code if you are located in North America eg xxxxx-xxxx (in 5-4 format).

Try using abbreviations for St (Street), Ct (Court) and so on without a period.

To find the correct format of your address, go to the Microsoft Store ( and go through the process like you are going to order an upgrade.  Enter your address/billing info, the website will suggest a preferred format for your address and say something like “Is it ok if we use this address?”

Windows Anytime Upgrade fails and rolls back the installation to the previous edition of Windows 7

There could be a number of reasons why this happens. Try the following solutions.

Attempt 1:

1. Disable any security software before attempting to upgrade or do a clean install.

2. Make sure your computer is updated (devices and applications)

3. Disconnect any external devices before installing.

4. Check your hard disk for any errors:

Click Start

Type: CMD, from the results, right click CMD

Click ‘Run as Administrator’

At the Command Prompt, type: chkdsk /r /f

When you restart your system, your computer will be scanned for errors and attempts will be made to correct them.

Attempt 2:

1. Click Start, type msconfig in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

User Account Control permission

If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.

2. On the General tab, click Selective Startup.

3. Under Selective Startup, click to clear the Load Startup Items check box.

4. Click the Services tab, click to select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box, and then click Disable All.

5. Click OK.

6. When you are prompted, click Restart.

7. After the computer starts, check whether the problem is resolved.

Also run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor:

Windows Anytime Upgrade says my product key cannot be used with Windows Anytime Upgrade and I need to do clean install.

Windows Anytime Upgrade only supports the following types of licenses: Anytime Upgrades (supported upgrade paths), Windows 7 retail full version or upgrade licenses.

The following distributions of Windows 7 are not supported: OEM, Volume License, Microsoft Software Developer Network – Academic Alliance licenses (MSDN-AA).

I cannot find the Windows Anytime Upgrade program in my Start menu > All Programs


If you are unable to find the Anytime Upgrade program, first, make sure you are running a supported product, WAU does not support Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate since these are the most complete editions of Windows 7. If you are running Home Premium or Professional and you are not able to find it, click Start > click Control Panel. Click in the View by: list box and click Large icons then double click the Anytime Upgrade Control Panel Item.

Is WAU supported in volume license distributions of Windows 7 Professional?

By default, it is disabled. It likely is possible to do an Anytime Upgrade, but it may disabled by your Network Administrator to prevent upgrades of Company licenses. Consult with whoever manages your computer to find out if you can upgrade the machine.

If you have Administrator access to the machine, try the following, click Start, type: gpedit.msc then hit Enter on your keyboard.


Expand User Configuration


Expand Administrative Templates


Expand Windows Components


Click Windows Anytime Upgrade


Double click Prevent Windows Anytime Upgrade from running


Double click Prevent Windows Anytime Upgrade from running, select Enabled then click Apply and OK You should restart the machine and then you should be able to do an Anytime Upgrade.

Can I do an Anytime Upgrade from Windows 7 Enterprise to Ultimate?

No, you will have to do a custom clean installation.

Can I do an Anytime Upgrade from Windows 7 Professional to Windows 7 Enterprise?

No, you will have to do a custom clean installation.

Can I do an Anytime Upgrade from Windows Vista or XP?

No, you need to purchase a full version license or a retail upgrade license. If happen to have purchased an Anytime Upgrade license thinking you could have used it to upgrade Windows XP or Windows Vista, you should return it for a refund and purchase the correct product.

Items ordered from Microsoft Store online:

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