So you have just purchased your new laptop, and along with all the other software, it came pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Premium. Did you know that you can upgrade your version of Windows 7 without having to use a disk? As long as you have a valid upgrade license key, you are good to go.
You can purchase a Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade key too if needs be. To upgrade your system, it is advisable to download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor tool. You can get it from this download link. This will inspect your system and let you know if there are any compatibility issues.
On my Windows 7 Home Premium, the Upgrade Advisor tool reported 2 issues. It also provided the details of which versions of Windows 7 I could upgrade to with the Anytime Upgrade tool. It might be a good idea to do this before you go out and purchase an upgrade key.
After correcting the 2 issues identified by the first scan of the Upgrade Advisor, I ran it again to ensure everything was still okay, and no other issues found. It was now time to start the upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate.
From your start menu, select All Programs and look for the Windows Anytime Upgrade program. Anytime upgrade allows you to upgrade from one version of Windows 7 to another version of Windows 7. (e.g. From Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate) When you run the program, it will prompt you to either purchase a key online, or enter a key if you already have one.
Seeing as I already had a key, I selected the second option and entered my upgrade key. Microsoft has made this process very easy, so there isn’t really much to get confused about.
After you accept the license terms, windows will show the last screen displaying additional information before you upgrade. After you click the Upgrade button, Windows will work it’s magic. It is at this point that the upgrade might fail, in which case the Anytime Upgrade will inform you of the error. (Errors such as a problem with your upgrade key etc.)
After my system restarted, I could see from the Logon screen that I was running Ultimate. BitLocker is also now available and running the Upgrade Advisor again shows that the system is now running Windows 7 Ultimate.
Now the reason this Upgrade method is available according to this answer by Sean Hanley, is because all Windows 7 disks contain Windows 7 Ultimate. It is the license key that switches different Windows 7 features on or off according to the version installed.