Here is my situation. I have a dead computer, it was a p4 winXP box 6+ years old. I will be assembling a new computer with 64 bit processor and SSD boot drive. I have a full XP license. I would prefer to buy an 'upgrade' version of Windows 7, but will I be able to install an upgrade version of windows 7 on a clean, blank drive? I would strongly prefer not to have to install XP and activate it just to reinstall windows 7. The additional factor is that some people have posted in forums that an 'upgrade' from a 32 bit os to 64 bit windows 7 does not work.
I would prefer to hear from someone who has actually done it and succeeded or failed, not 'it should work' or 'it should not work', because I can find people posting both ways theorizing that it should or should not.
In short, yes you can use Window 7 Upgrade to do a clean install--I can testify to the matter.
However you will need to follow a special procedure that is not supported by Microsoft Windows and is in violation of the EULA. The End User Liscense Agreement (EULA-that thing you click the box next to "I agree" but never read) on the upgrade disc requires that a current liscensed verison of Window be present on the system. The software infact check the HDD you are installing on to verify a version is there.
You won't shouldn't get instructions on Tom's Hardware site--since it is not supported by Microsoft and we dont't want the site to get in trouble. There is ample information available via google with your exact question.
Because you can not upgrade from a running 32 bit system to a 64 bit system, you need a two step install.
This was explained to me by microsoft support when I presented them with the problem.
I have used this procedure both on Vista and windows-7 upgrade products to clean install on a new hard drive.
You install windows-7 from the cd, but do not initially enter the product code or activate.
After it installs, you have a fully functional OS for 30 days.
Step 2 is to insert the dvd again, while running Windows and then do an upgrade.
This time, enter your product code, and activate.
After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.
You will not be asked for your old product code or disk.
Since you are replacing/upgrading a previous version, I think you are in effective compliance of the EULA.
Lawyers might quibble, but I think Microsoft is more concerned by piracy than sticking it to legitimate users.
I followed the instructions linked by Jonmor68. They worked fine. geofelt basically summarized the procedures. Since I have an XP license, I have no heartburn about EULA compliance. If I had to, I could have just installed XP first and it owuld have taken quite a bit longer.
I agree with geofelt. While installing as Upgrade version cleanly, once asked for the product code, which will fail with a clean install of an upgrade version, simply hit ESC, and the OS will continue to install. Once up and running, enter the product key from within the system properties (Start, right click on Computer, select Properties), and activate. This worked for me, after much reasearch! I didn't want to re-install Vista, then upgrade to 7. I prefered the old way, when installing an upgrade, doing a clean install, the install program would ask for the older version CD, and verify that I had a previous version. I feel it's not worth $80 to but a full version, when I already bought Windows 95,98,98SE,Mellinium,XP,XPSP3, and Vista.