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Windows 7 to XP and back again

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?

Many thanks
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  1. Best answer
    There is no upgrade option from 32 bit to 64 bit or vice-versa. You will need to do a clean install of Win7 x64. Of course, like you said, this is an upgrade version so you may be stuck.

    There are some ways listed on the internet for doing a clean install with an upgrade disk. This may work for you.

    http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows-7/clean-install-windows-7-with-upgrade-media
  2. Well, that is, as I told the tech support when I called, NOT COOL MICROSOFT.

    Well, at least I have somewhat of a plan. But with trying to wipeout multiple installations of Windows, am I better off doing a reformat or do I trust it to overwrite in a clean fashion?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Best answer selected by wolfeman42.
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