My school offers software at a discount for students. I'm building a new system and wanted to take advantage of this discount, but it looks like they only sell the "upgrade" version. Do I need to have XP installed first to install 7? Or can I treat it like a regular OS install?
You can buy an upgrade copy of Windows 7 and even perform a clean install with that copy. You do not need to have a previous version of Windows installed, you simply have to legally own a previous version (Windows 2000 or newer).