One of the more predominant discussion points prior to Windows 7 being released was whether or not a clean installation on either a brand new or un-partitioned hard drive could be done.
You see back in the days of Windows Vista you could do just that but you had to stick a Windows XP CD in the drive during the installation process to verify that you were eligible to use the upgrade media. That upgrade media was likely purchased at a lower price point because you had used a previous version of the operating system.
Initial reports were that you would not be able to do that stick the CD in process with Windows 7 to use the upgrade media. It was stated that you would have to install Windows Vista to the hard drive in order to use the upgrade media. As you might imagine that had the world in an uproar.
The reality was that until the actual final RTM version of the upgrade media was on store shelves there would be no way to know if you could do a clean installation with it or not.
Many have reported on the fact that you can in fact do clean installs with the upgrade media in the two months since Windows 7’s release to the public.
I now have had my own opportunity to put this to the test in the last week in helping a friend upgrade their DELL laptop and desktop computer. The laptop was done with the free DELL version of Windows 7 that was provided with the purchase of their Windows Vista based system. The DVD that arrived in the upgrade package contained two disks. One had Windows 7 Home Premium on it and the other had Windows 7 DELL Drivers.
I did not do this upgrade from within Windows Vista however. I booted from the DVD and went through the install that way. I opted for a clean install and then deleted the existing partitions so that the OS would install fresh. It worked like a champ and activated without any issue.
The other opportunity I had was to upgrade a desktop DELL using a commercial off the shelve Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade. Again, in the same way as I did the laptop, I did the upgrade by booting from the DVD and cleared all partitions before starting the OS installation. It also installed flawlessly and then activated without issue.
Bottom line is that you can upgrade your Windows Vista computers by purchasing the upgrade version of Windows 7. No need to install the Windows Vista your upgrading first to do it. Just make sure you have the previous version of Windows Vista to meet the requirements of the upgrade license.