I find myself in a pretty unique position. I recently built a new computer and loaded Windows 7-64bit on it from a copy of Windows I got through the student program. Come to find out, it's an upgrade only version. Anger aside, the key I have will not work for a clean install. Instead, Microsoft has told me I have to install XP-32bit (which is the version I had on my old computer so I have a copy) and then upgrade to Windows 7 from there.
My question/problem is, other than backing up my files, should I be aware of any other problems with this? Essentially replacing my OS 3 times, should I reformat my hard drive first and then perform the install, or am I ok to just boot from CD and go from there? I also don't know how going from 32-bit to 64 bit is going to work out, anyone have some experience with this?
Do a "custom install". At some point during the procedure, you will be given the option to create/delete partitons and format. Just delete all partitions and recreate them. There is no need to format at that point, because once you choose a partition to install to, the installation process will quick format the partition before installing.
Ok update, so if anyone comes across this in the future you can hopefully work it out. I chose to do a double install of Windows 7 (as suggested in the article linked) If you have applied all service updates, the double install failed for me. So I instead did a clean install followed immediately by the new install. This worked for me and activated just fine.