How-To Geek

How to Upgrade Your Netbook to Windows 7 Home Premium

Would you like more features and flash in Windows on your netbook?  Here’s how you can easily upgrade your netbook to Windows 7 Home Premium the easy way.

Most new netbooks today ship with Windows 7 Starter, which is the cheapest edition of Windows 7.  It is fine for many computing tasks, and will run all your favorite programs great, but it lacks many customization, multimedia, and business features found in higher editions.  Here we’ll show you how you can quickly upgrade your netbook to more full-featured edition of Windows 7 using Windows Anytime Upgrade.  Also, if you want to upgrade your laptop or desktop to another edition of Windows 7, say Professional, you can follow these same steps to upgrade it, too.

Please note: This is only for computers already running Windows 7.  If your netbook is running XP or Vista, you will have to run a traditional upgrade to install Windows 7.

Upgrade Advisor

First, let’s make sure your netbook can support the extra features, such as Aero Glass, in Windows 7 Home Premium.  Most modern netbooks that ship with Windows 7 Starter can run the advanced features in Windows 7 Home Premium, but let’s check just in case.  Download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor (link below), and install as normal.


Once it’s installed, run it and click Start Check.


Make sure you’re connected to the internet before you run the check, or otherwise you may see this error message.  If you see it, click Ok and then connect to the internet and start the check again.


It will now scan all of your programs and hardware to make sure they’re compatible with Windows 7.  Since you’re already running Windows 7 Starter, it will also tell you if your computer will support the features in other editions of Windows 7.


After a few moments, the Upgrade Advisor will show you want it found.  Here we see that our netbook, a Samsung N150, can be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate. We also see that we had one issue, but this was because a driver we had installed was not recognized.  Click “See all system requirements” to see what your netbook can do with the new edition.


This shows you which of the requirements, including support for Windows Aero, your netbook meets.  Here our netbook supports Aero, so we’re ready to go upgrade.


For more, check out our article on how to make sure your computer can run Windows 7 with Upgrade Advisor.

Upgrade with Anytime Upgrade

Now, we’re ready to upgrade our netbook to Windows 7 Home Premium.  Enter “Anytime Upgrade” in the Start menu search,and select Windows Anytime Upgrade.


Windows Anytime Upgrade lets you upgrade using product key you already have or one you purchase during the upgrade process.  And, it installs without any downloads or Windows disks, so it works great even for netbooks without DVD drives.

Anytime Upgrades are cheaper than a standard upgrade, and for a limited time, select retailers in the US are offering Anytime Upgrades to Windows 7 Home Premium for only $49.99 if purchased with a new netbook.  If you already have a netbook running Windows 7 Starter, you can either purchase an Anytime Upgrade package at a retail store or purchase a key online during the upgrade process for $79.95.  Or, if you have a standard Windows 7 product key (full or upgrade), you can use it in Anytime upgrade.  This is especially nice if you can purchase Windows 7 cheaper through your school, university, or office.

Purchase an upgrade online

To purchase an upgrade online, click “Go online to choose the edition of Windows 7 that’s best for you”.


Here you can see a comparison of the features of each edition of Windows 7.  Note that you can upgrade to either Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate.  We chose home Premium because it has most of the features that home users want, including Media Center and Aero Glass effects.  Also note that the price of each upgrade is cheaper than the respective upgrade from Windows XP or Vista.  Click buy under the edition you want.


Enter your billing information, then your payment information.  Once you confirm your purchase, you will directly be taken to the Upgrade screen.  Make sure to save your receipt, as you will need the product key if you ever need to reinstall Windows on your computer.


Upgrade with an existing product key

If you purchased an Anytime Upgrade kit from a retailer, or already have a Full or Upgrade key for another edition of Windows 7, choose “Enter an upgrade key”.


Enter your product key, and click Next.  If you purchased an Anytime Upgrade kit, the product key will be located on the inside of the case on a yellow sticker.


The key will be verified as a valid key, and Anytime Upgrade will automatically choose the correct edition of Windows 7 based on your product key.  Click Next when this is finished.


Continuing the Upgrade process

Whether you entered a key or purchased a key online, the process is the same from here on.  Click “I accept” to accept the license agreement.


Now, you’re ready to install your upgrade.  Make sure to save all open files and close any programs, and then click Upgrade.


The upgrade only takes about 10 minutes in our experience but your mileage may vary.  Any available Microsoft updates, including ones for Office, Security Essentials, and other products, will be installed before the upgrade takes place.


After a couple minutes, your computer will automatically reboot and finish the installation.  It will then reboot once more, and your computer will be ready to use!  Welcome to your new edition of Windows 7!


Here’s a before and after shot of our desktop.  When you do an Anytime Upgrade, all of your programs, files, and settings will be just as they were before you upgraded.  The only change we noticed was that our pinned taskbar icons were slightly rearranged to the default order of Internet Explorer, Explorer, and Media Player.  Here’s a shot of our desktop before the upgrade.  Notice that all of our pinned programs and desktop icons are still there, as well as our taskbar customization (we are using small icons on the taskbar instead of the default large icons).

Before, with the Windows 7 Starter background and the Aero Basic theme:


And after, with Aero Glass and the more colorful default Windows 7 background.


All of the features of Windows 7 Home Premium are now ready to use.  The Aero theme was activate by default, but you can now customize your netbook theme, background, and more with the Personalization pane.  To open it, right-click on your desktop and select Personalize.


You can also now use Windows Media Center, and can play-back DVD movies using an external drive.


One of our favorite tools, the Snipping Tool, is also now available for easy screenshots and clips.


Activating you new edition of Windows 7

You will still need to activate your new edition of Windows 7.  To do this right away, open the start menu, right-click on Computer, and select Properties.


Scroll to the bottom, and click “Activate Windows Now”.


Make sure you’re connected to the internet, and then select “Activate Windows online now”.


Activation may take a few minutes, depending on your internet connection speed.


When it is done, the Activation wizard will let you know that Windows is activated and genuine.  Your upgrade is all finished!



Windows Anytime Upgrade makes it easy, and somewhat cheaper, to upgrade to another edition of Windows 7.  It’s useful for desktop and laptop owners who want to upgrade to Professional or Ultimate, but many more netbook owners will want to upgrade from Starter to Home Premium or another edition. 


Download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

Windows Team Blog:

Anytime Upgrade Special with new PC purchase

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 04/15/10

Comments (54)

  1. Ryan

    Well… i tried it ten times at least…

    Keeps telling me “Online purchase for this Windows Anytime Upgrade you have selected is not currently available. Please use the Back button to try again, or contact a local retailer for other purchase options.”

  2. Matthew Guay

    @Ryan – Where are you located? I believe the online purchase is only available in countries that the Microsoft Store ( is available.

  3. Ryan

    I’m located right in the Midwest, Indiana. I am even running the same exact netbook that was used in this tutorial, a Samsung N150, and its pretty brand new. There was no connectivity issues either. I am stumped… Microsoft hates us corn fed Midwesterners I guess? LOL

  4. Matthew Guay

    Hmm, that’s very odd. And you selected your country as US, right? You could try calling the Microsoft store to check; their number is listed on their website I mentioned above. Otherwise, you can always buy an anytime upgrade boxed package from a computer store or online at Amazon, and the price would be the same as buying it digitally. Let us know how it goes!

    And, by the way, glad to hear of another Samsung N150 user! I love mine; what do you think of the N150?

  5. calebstein

    Well, the easiest solution would be to install BSD or GNU/Linux :)

  6. Ryan

    I actually called the store and the rep had no idea what the issue was, however they took my CC# right there and emailed me the upgrade key.

    However, now I’m having issues with my upgrade that I can’t figure out.

  7. Lynn

    how to upgrade window for netbook without using windows anytime there other way?

  8. Lynn

    if there’s other ways to upgrade netbook without using windows anytime upgrade?

  9. Matthew Guay

    If you have an external DVD drive, you could upgrade the old-fashioned way with an Install disk and new upgrade key. But this will be more expensive and time consuming. Plus, if you already own a key to another edition of Windows 7 that is not already used on another computer, you can use that key in Anytime Upgrade and it will work just the same.

  10. laura

    When upgrading a original win 7 ultimate to home premium, is it still original or not?

  11. Zero

    Hi. Thanks for the great guide :)
    I recently just bought myself a Samsung N150 and I am very impressed with it. The battery life is brilliant in particular; lasts around 10 hours for me, on the lowest brightness.
    However, I’m wondering if upgrading to say Windows 7 Ultimate will affect this battery life?
    I personally use the netbook a lot and I wish to keep the battery life to the maximum, but the lack of personalizing and customization on the Windows 7 Starter is also annoying.

    Also, if I were to add an extra gb of RAM onto the model, just to help move things along a lot better, would that also possibly affect the battery life?

  12. Matthew Guay

    @Zero – Glad you like your Samsung N150 … it’s a nice little netbook IMO. Mine came with Windows 7 Starter like yours, and I upgraded it to Windows 7 Home Premium using Anytime Upgrade, and it works great. Runs Aero good too. I do notice a slight hit on the battery when Aero is running, but you can always switch back to the basic theme if you need. All in all, my battery life is quite good. And no, AFAIK, adding ram wouldn’t affect the battery life, except it could possibly help it since you’d be hitting the hard drive less. I’m still using the 1Gb it came with, though. Do note that you’ll need to purchase a 2Gb RAM card to do this since there’s only 1 ram slot…

  13. Zero

    Matthew, when you say a slight hit on the battery, do you mean like around the 1-30 minute range, or more like a few hours, when Windows Aero is running?
    Also, does your notebook work at around the same speeds with Aero still running?
    I’m not really sure how many resources it would use up, but do you feel it takes a major toll on your speeds?

  14. Matthew Guay

    @Zero – Yeah, I’m meaning maybe 30min to 1hr hit on the battery life. I still regularly get 8-9hr from mine even with Aero running. Actually, as far as battery life goes, decreasing the backlight is the best thing you can do for it. If I’m reading on Kindle for PC, I’ll turn it down to the lowest setting and it’ll easily get 9+ hours.

    Then, as far as speed goes, it honestly seemed like my netbook ran faster with Aero. I think it’s just because the window rendering is animated, but it sure feels good. The integrated graphics run Aero like a champ … I’ve been very impressed myself.

    Hope all this info helps. Let me know how it goes for you!

  15. remo

    Hi Matthew, i have original Vista Home Premium if i upgrade to Window 7 home premium to my note book shall i pay anything ? plz advise

  16. Matthew Guay

    @remo – Yes, you’d have to buy an upgrade to Windows 7 if you’re currently running Windows Vista. You can get a Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade for $110 from Amazon – Or, if you have several computers you’d like to upgrade, you can get a family pack with 3 Windows 7 upgrades for $125, which is a very good deal if you have 2 or 3 computers to upgrade –

  17. remo

    Thank you very much i have service pack 1 vista home premium….should i select same ..thx

  18. Matthew Guay

    @Remo – Yup … that’d be the one you want. Hope the upgrade goes good!

  19. remo

    I got some info from my friends please advise whether is right or not “Vista Home Premium is eligible for free upgrade to Windows 7”

  20. Matthew Guay

    @remo – That was only the case if you purchased your computer right before Windows 7 was released, and then got the upgrade soon after. Right now, if you want to upgrade, you’ll have to purchase it.

  21. remo

    Thank you very much for your great assistance

  22. matt

    hey i’ve seen some stuff on youtube where you can use other peoples upgrade and activation keys to upgrade to windows 7 home premium for free? seems like windows were unfair to make us pay to upgrade to home premium when they give netbook users starter which IMO isn’t great. Just wondering your thoughts and also do you know if people who use the same keys will get caught by microsoft?? thanks

  23. Tom

    Hi Mathew,

    I am a complete novice, I brought a netbook (asus) with win 7 starter and hated it. I had my old win 7 Home Prem upgrade from vista so gave it a go and the original product key worked. Thanks heaps now all I need to do is work out which pre loaded rubbish to get rid of. I have started with office and will load open Office but the other stuff is double dutch to me.
    Anyhow thanks for the help.

  24. Nick

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for instructions I liked it and upgraded my net book successfully…

    Thanks Again,
    Nick :)

  25. Lee

    Hi Matthew,
    I’m considering getting the Samsung N145-JP02 from Best Buy and can get a good deal on the upgrade from starter to premium. Problem is the guy in the store AND their chat support told me it wouldn’t run correctly on the model. I’m getting the 2gb upgrade. Will it run on the 145?

  26. Matthew Guay

    It should run fine … Win7 Home Premium works great on my Samsung N150.

  27. Lee

    I’m having a lot of trouble nailing down what the difference between the two models even is. Do you know?

  28. paolo

    if i upgrade my windows 7 starter to windows ultimate, my files on drive C will be LOST? :(
    please help.

  29. Arul

    is anyone having upgrade key 4 windows 7 premium

  30. Ian

    I have had my upgrade Key verified but I can’t get the upgrade completed. When I go to the MS assistance page they want £46 to help by email. I have tried to input the key again but the MS system won’t accept the key. What do I do now?

  31. Connie

    @Ian, I’m having the same exact problem here in the US. my purchased upgrade key is verified but the upgrade never works. MS says they won’t support it if Windows 7 Starter was preinstalled. I getting pretty pissed off. They sure didn’t have any problem taking my $ for the upgrade. Please repost if you or anyone finds a solution to this problem.

  32. Sir taylor bennett

    Hi guys i just upgraded my windows starter to ultimate and i was wondering how to i change it back to starter as i bought the hp mini for my P.A and she isnt liking the new layout, kind regards, Sir bennett

  33. Ike

    Hi there. I recently purchased a Windows Anytime Upgrade Key from Starter to Home Premium for my Samsung N150 notebook. I’ve had the notebook itself for about 6 months now.However, the Anytime Upgrade keeps failing on me and I’m not sure of the reason. My question is, did you upgrade to Home Premium as soon as you bought your notebook, without installing any new Windows 7 updates or Service Packs or anything? Because I’ve pretty much tried everything apart from upgrading as a new operating system…

  34. Toby

    Does this act as a clean install of Home Premium? Or would I still have to strip out all the bloatware that typically comes on netbooks?

  35. Jordan

    I once bought a copy of Windows 7 Professional at a retail store and upgraded my laptop. Now I have a new laptop that came with Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed. If I want to upgrade that to Professional, can I use the same product key for that copy in Windows Anytime Upgrade, or do I have to do a clean install?

  36. billfiddfle

    hi guys, just want to add this: for all the guysngals having problems with the anytime upgrade win 7 starter to home premium on a netbook, i also had many time the ‘install unsuccessful’, until i did ALL the outstanding windows updates, including internet explorer, and only then did the home premium update work…I also tried without explorer, but it did not work…so, do ALL the updates first…worked for me….
    have fun! and tanx Geek!!

  37. tommy j

    @billfiddfle thank you so much… becasue of you im running windows home premium on my netbook which had started i have been serching all over the internet trying to figure out the answer… your a life saver <3

  38. Mike Martin

    This is all fine but Microsoft wont allow downloads to New Zealand-WHY? Seems crazy to me that I can buy a netbook with windows 7 starter, but am not allowed to BUY an upgrade-is it any wonder why pirate versions are so popular?? I don’t download from P2P sites and am more than willing to purchase
    the upgrade, but can’t! Madness

  39. right turn Clyde

    billfiddfle, I too would like to thank you. After searching forums I came across your post. I updated and upgraded and everything works fine. Thanks again.

  40. TK

    I used anytime upgrade and i’ve entered my key, clicked accept, clicked upgrade. It starts to upgrade then tells me the “Enter a different upgrade key.” And that my key doesn’t work with anytime upgrade. Any help? D:

  41. Hasaan Ali

    hi Mathew.. i hv read your article thoroughly bt i still couldnt find an answer to a question.. that is this comfortable with Samsung N150 to upgrade to win7 ultimate from starter edition ( i hv the latest model, with 2gb ram)

  42. Naufal ali

    password windows anytime upgrade is what

  43. Naufal ali

    password so easy

  44. Naufal ali

    pasword what

  45. dre

    I installedWin 7 Professional on my netbook, Samsung N145 Plus. But the brightness isnt changing. Help PLEASE!

  46. Alfie

    hey, I need an upgrade key. I cannot find and buy at retail store.

  47. Luke

    I upgraded from windows 7 starter last year however I did system restore and it has gone back to starter again and I do not have they key any more what can i do

  48. Thomas Carter

    I bought the upgrade key from a military exchange and put it in my computer followed all the steps but when it gets to the “upgrading windows” page it sits on starting upgrade for about 10-15 minutes and then i get an error message saying it cannot complete upgrade at this time. Any ideas what is wrong? I did everything that was on the instructions and the advisor said i was good to go with the upgrade.

  49. Lephoto

    i just bought a gigabyte notebook.i wanna upgrade it from window7 starter to ultimate or premium.which one is the best for my laptop?what are the threads of upgrading?

  50. JBCBlank

    Ok I have tried to upgrade using Anytime update but it just keeps telling me upgrade failed.
    wich is weird because the verification prosses works just fine. it takes a million years to just tell me that the upgrade didn’t work. is there a way to change the product key, maybe the one I got is a scam or something.

  51. yatnaim

    hi. can i using for Toshiba Model?

  52. Habesha

    I am having the same problem pplw with my Samsung notebook. I uploaded Windows 7 professional but it blocked the wireless connection drive and i restored in to Windows starter using the sys. recovery CD. Please let me know how i can upgrade the Windows 7 starter, i hated it to death.

  53. Joao Paulo

    COmprei meu notebook nosEUA, um HP DV6, e comprei lá tb o Windows Ultimate 7 para tualizar o meu tudo original. O que acontece é que sempre que tento atualizar no Windows Anytime Update acontece o seguinte erro : the upgrade key is for an edition that does not work with windows anytime upgrade ?
    Vc poderia me ajudar ??



  54. Joao Paulo

    Sorry I wrote in portuguese… So… I boght my computer HP DV6 and the Windows Ultimate 7, the card one, that you have to download the upgrade from internet in best bye there in US. I’m from Brazil and I broght the comp to here. Anytime i tried to upgrade the Windows i have a problem like “the upgrade key is for an edition that does not work with windows anytime upgrade”. Can you help me ? There are any solution for this problem ? I’v already get the key…

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!