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Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade and Installation E-mail
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Written by Nate Swetland - Edited by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade and Installation
Best Practice: Clean Install
Clean Upgrade Installation
Custom Upgrade: Previous OS Bypass
Custom Upgrade: OS Bypass Continued
Windows 7 Final Thoughts

Clean Upgrade Installation

An upgrade installation comes in two varieties: clean upgrade and in-place upgrade. An in-place upgrade is for users of Vista. There are two ways of doing an in-place upgrade, either while Vista is running, or during boot time. Either way works very similar, but depending on what upgrade package you purchased may limit your options. If you were one of the people that purchased an upgrade through a physical store, or many traditional online retailers like NewEgg, then you likely received a DVD containing your Windows 7 software. With this disk, you can either have your computer boot from that disk, and follow the simple steps, or insert the disk while Vista is running, and do an upgrade that way. Both methods work practically the same; they just involve a couple different first steps.

If you are one of the people that bought your upgrade through channels like the Microsoft Marketplace, Digital River, the Student Discount Program, or the variety of other digital distribution methods, then you likely received a .exe file that is meant to be run while in Windows. This .exe file may have confused many people, but there is a way to convert that to an .ISO file which you can then burn to a DVD, or even convert it to a bootable USB drive, but more on that later. The upgrade works in a way in where it sees that you currently have an activated copy of Windows installed that qualifies for Windows 7 upgrade, and then continues on with the installation.

That covers the basics of an in-place upgrade. The clean upgrade is pretty much like a clean install, but with a little bit of a difference in the way the licensing works. The point of an upgrade is that it upgrades your old Windows 2000/XP/Vista license into a Windows 7 license, and revokes the old license. A clean Retail/OEM install does not do this, so you can continue to use any of your old Windows keys without risk of doing anything illegal. If you choose to upgrade your OS to Windows 7, even though you may still physically be able to activate using your old keys, you are not allowed to according to Microsoft's EULA. Other than that, doing a clean upgrade, like I mentioned before, is very similar to a clean install. You will erase everything you had on your computer and start fresh. This is your only option if you use XP/2000, but should only be used with Vista if you don't want any of your files, accounts, settings, programs, etc. transferred over automatically.


This is where you pick which drive you want to install windows to. This screen is taken during a Custom upgrade installation. From here, you can format your drives and manage partitions.


Once you get past the destination drive screens, it goes through its extraction and expansion of the installation files.

After this point in both the Clean and Upgrade installation, you will be asked for your Activation Key, Name, and Password. Thats about it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: At the time of this writing, NewEgg offered the following Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System choices for clean upgrade installation:

  • Retail Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade (includes both 32- or 64-bit DVDs) $114.99
  • Retail Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Upgrade (includes both 32- or 64-bit DVDs) $188.99
  • Retail Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade (includes both 32- or 64-bit DVDs) $199.99



# Can we install to USBRob 2011-02-17 12:31
On Page: it says: "This is where you pick which drive you want to install windows to."

If we buy a Netbook with "Windows 7 Starter" and upgrade to 'something' (useful) can we choose to install the Windows 7 Upgrade to an external USB Key ?

Then we could empty the Netbook's internal Drive and Install Debian Linux. If we ever wanted to run the upgraded Windows 7 we could boot from the USB key otherwise we would just use our Netbook as a Linux Machine.

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# RE: Can we install to USBOlin Coles 2011-02-17 12:40
As I understand it, Windows 7 will not allow you to install onto removable media.
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# RE: Can we install to USBRob 2011-02-17 23:14
Grrrr. Crippleware "Windows 7 Starter" and can't install to a removable Drive on a Netbook (where you might want to do so the most). That only encourages me to install Linux even more. It will be faster and cheaper.

This is what I have been looking at, an AMD C-50 (with 6250 Graphics) in a Netbook for $300:

I guess we could just install to the internal Drive (do what MS wants), image it (see below), wipe it (easy), then USB install Debian.

Thanks for your answer.
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