How to successfully do and troubleshoot Windows Anytime Upgrades

Technical Level : Intermediate


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

In this article, we will take a look at doing and troubleshooting Anytime Upgrades.


The amazing thing about Anytime Upgrade is how quick and simple the process is, Microsoft estimates at least 10 minutes. Based on my trial, it was at least 7 minutes, some persons have even reported at least 5 mins for Anytime Upgrade.

The first you must ensure is that the edition of Windows 7 you are upgrading from is already activated. See how to activate Windows 7:

Activate Windows 7 on this computer:

If you don't do this, you will encounter problems after the upgrade and you might have start all over by doing a clean install.

If you are running supported SKU’s such as Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium or even Professional, you will have the option of upgrading to a higher SKU. Microsoft has made each of the SKU’s a subset of features, so a user can do an Anytime Upgrade from Windows 7 Home Premium to Professional,

All that has changed, if you want to move from Home Premium to Professional, you will have that option. No need to reinstall your applications or backup your personal data.

You can launch the Anytime Upgrade wizard from the Start menu > All Programs group or from within the Control Panel. The wizard provides two methods to unlocking a higher SKU, you can go online, purchase a license or if you already have a key, just enter it. This is major positive for customers who might not have a credit card or Internet Access. Please note that Microsoft ended sales of Windows Anytime Upgrade in October 2013. Anytime Upgrade is defined as a retail license. (If you have a retail upgrade or full version, you can use the product key to do an offline Anytime Upgrade).

Enter your product key

Verifying product key

Accept License Agreement

During the Anytime Upgrade Process, your computer will be restarted.

10 minutes? Try 7!

  And there you have it, a smooth upgrade, no issues.

How to troubleshoot an unsuccessful Windows Anytime Upgrade:

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.

If you get the following:  Error: Windows Anytime Upgrade was not successful.
 This issue can occur if Windows 7 SP1 has been downloaded by Windows Update but has not been installed yet.

Windows Anytime Upgrade Fails with error:
 "anytime upgrade failed. Go online to resolve the issue"

If Anytime Upgrade still fails:

Shutdown and start your computer again.

Make sure the latest Windows Updates have been installed.

Download the hotfix containing a tool called CheckSUR, this tool will look into the servicing and package folders and fix any corrupted data the tool is listed under kb947821 it can be found at the following link

If Anytime Upgrade still fails, disable User Account Control:

1. Go to User Accounts in Control Panel

2. Change User Account Control Settings

3. Pull the Slider down to lowest level possible

4. Reboot the PC

5. Go through the "Anytime Upgrade" as normal

Other things you can try:

Make sure that Internet Explorer is your default web browser:

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.

Disable Start up items in Windows:

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.

Who should I contact if I'm having trouble installing and / or activating my Product Key Card?

Please contact customer support at:

If all the above fails, install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 then attempt the Anytime Upgrade again:

Learn how to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

If your key is invalid and you need to change the keys you may have to open regedit and deleting the ProductKey value in the following registry key first:

Please backup your Windows Registry before attempting the above:

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).

If you 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.

How to upgrade volume license Windows 7 Professional using Anytime Upgrade.

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.

How to reinstall your Anytime Upgrade?

The first thing you will need to do is retreive your Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade key:
An e-mail containing your Product Key should have been sent to the e-mail address associated with your Windows Live ID (Microsoft Account) or to the e-mail you provided if you skipped account setup. Note: If you are using an e-mail spam blocker tool or junk mail filter, make sure you can receive e-mail messages from
What happens if I lose my Product Key?
If you lose your Product Key you can return to and sign in using the 'Sign In' link in the top right corner of the page. This will retrieve your Product Key if you established your account with your Windows Live ID. If you did not setup a Windows Live ID account initially there is no record of your Product Key online. Check your e-mail since this is the only record of your Product Key.

Here are four utilities, all of which will may display your product keys if they are still there:
 Belarc Advisor:
 (It does a good job of providing a wealth of information.)
 and RockXP: which has additional features,
The next thing you will need to do is ensure that your data is backed up:
The next thing you will need to do is reinstall the base license you upgraded from, whether this is Windows 7 Starter or Home Premium.
If Windows 7 came preinstalled on your computer:
New computers that come preinstalled with Windows 7 often have what is called a recovery partition. This is used to reinstall the operating system in the event of a system crash. To access it, you will need to boot into when you start your computer by pressing a function key. This can be either F1, F2, F9, F10, F11, F12 or even DEL or Tab key. Consult the owners manual that came with your PC for instructions about how to reinstall Windows.

This is how the recovery partition is accessed for the most popular makes..

For Dell, press F8 on the keyboard until the Advanced Boot Options menu appears on the screen.

For HP, press F11 directly after powering up the unit

For LG, press F11 directly after powering up the unit

For Toshiba, press and hold '0' BEFORE and during the power up

For Acer, press and hold ALT + F10 as soon as you see the logo

For Asus, press F9 as soon as you see the Asus logo.

For Samsung, press F4 at power up..

For Fujitsu, press the F8 key repeatedly directly after powering up

For Advent, restart your computer. Then Press F10 repeatedly until the message "Starting System Recovery" is displayed

For Sony VAIO, restart and press "F8" or "F10" repeatedly until the "Advanced Boot Options" screen appears.

Frequently asked questions:

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.

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?”

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.

Was this article helpful?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this article?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this article?

Thanks for your feedback.


Forum Article Info

Last updated November 22, 2020 Views 1,619 Applies to: