One of the biggest unanswered questions about Windows 7 is whether you can perform a clean install using the upgrade edition of the operating system.
With legacy versions of Windows you needed to ‘show’ it an install CD from your older version of Windows. The problem here is that Microsoft allowed OEM PC makers to customise these discs, sometimes to the point where they were not recognisable as upgrade media by the installer, even though you had a legitimate copy.
With Windows Vista they changed this but you had to perform a workaround to get a clean install. Firstly you had to install Vista upgrade without entering a product key, and then you had to install it again performing an upgrade on the version you had already installed. This was time-consuming and many people didn’t like it… understandably.
With Windows 7 Microsoft have only released the upgrade versions for the first time today and have been keeping very tight-lipped on this subject. The good, nay, excellent news is that performing a clean install using upgrade media is now the same as performing a clean install.
Windows 7 will just install merrily on your hard disk with it’s upgrade product code and activate. You don’t need an XP or Vista disc, and you don’t need to install it over itself. This is excellent news and, while I haven’t yet tried this myself, reports are coming in from across the web that this is indeed the case.
Many people will now ask if it’s necessary to buy the full version of Windows 7. Quite simply now the answer is that it isn’t. This means an significant price cut for Windows 7 over previous versions, effective immediately.
While it is not necessary to buy a full version of Windows 7 it is still a legal requirement to do so if you do not own a legal copy of either Windows XP or Windows Vista. The article did not make that completely clear. (Martin)