After 3+ years of file accumulation & XP on my C drive - its time obviously to upgrade BOTH. I have not read anywhere what appears to me to be a very simple approach -> installing W7 onto a new hard drive. My plan is to remove my existing C drive; install a new OEM WD640 HD; boot from W7 disk; format; partition; and then proceed with W7 installation steps. After completion and verifying all is working property, shut down the system; reinstall old C drive back into my system and treat it as a "data" drive. Will W7 have any problems accessing these older files from my old C drive - other than permission issues" ?
If you are not planning on using XP and only want your data, an alternative solution would be to use the Windows 7 Easy Transfer Wizard to save your files and settings if required to an external drive or the new one you are getting.
That way you can wipe the old drive clean and use it for backup without the old OS files taking up space.
To use the W7 Easy Transfer Wizard:
Browse to the DVD drive on your computer and click migsetup.exe in the Support\Migwiz directory