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Written by Nate Swetland - Edited by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade and Installation
Best Practice: Clean Install
Clean Upgrade Installation
Custom Upgrade: Previous OS Bypass
Custom Upgrade: OS Bypass Continued
Windows 7 Final Thoughts

How To Install or Upgrade Microsoft Windows 7

Many gamers swear by the proven stability that is Windows XP, but there's a new player on the market: Windows 7. While Windows XP is heralded by some as the best OS to ever come from Microsoft, Vista is the Windows ME of the 21st Century. Enter Windows 7. Built on the proven NT platform and in many ways appearing much like Vista, that's where the similarities end. Today, Benchmark Reviews will take a look at some of the different methods of installation, and hopefully clear up some of the confusion many of you may be having. I think some people will be surprised by how easy it can be, plus we will show you how to possibly bypass having to reinstall Windows XP or Vista during an upgrade.

There are many different Variations to Microsoft Windows 7, and with each of those variations comes different ways to install them. There are three basic versions, or "flavors" of Windows 7, and those are Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. Each of those versions is a step up from the other, respectively. Their name implies their purpose: Home Premium is for home users, Professional is geared towards the workplace, and Ultimate is everything you can get.

There are other versions such as Starter (which is typically geared towards very low end machines, or netbooks), Home Basic, or Enterprise. These versions are for users with very low system specs, OEMs that want to save money netbook users that need a slimmed down OS to help increase speed and battery life, or large scale corporate users that need it all, respectively.

The main focus of this article is going to be the installation and/or upgrade to Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate, with a specific concentration on Professional, for that is the version I am using in the example install.


If you want to run Windows 7 on your PC, here's what it takes:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Additional requirements to use certain features:

  • Internet access (fees may apply)
  • Depending on resolution, video playback may require additional memory and advanced graphics hardware
  • Some games and programs might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance
  • For some Windows Media Center functionality a TV tuner and additional hardware may be required
  • Windows Touch and Tablet PCs require specific hardware
  • HomeGroup requires a network and PCs running Windows 7
  • DVD/CD authoring requires a compatible optical drive
  • BitLocker requires Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2
  • BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive
  • Windows XP Mode requires an additional 1 GB of RAM, an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space, and a processor capable of hardware virtualization with Intel VT or AMD-V turned on
  • Music and sound require audio output



# Can we install to USBRob 2011-02-17 12:31
On Page: it says: "This is where you pick which drive you want to install windows to."

If we buy a Netbook with "Windows 7 Starter" and upgrade to 'something' (useful) can we choose to install the Windows 7 Upgrade to an external USB Key ?

Then we could empty the Netbook's internal Drive and Install Debian Linux. If we ever wanted to run the upgraded Windows 7 we could boot from the USB key otherwise we would just use our Netbook as a Linux Machine.

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# RE: Can we install to USBOlin Coles 2011-02-17 12:40
As I understand it, Windows 7 will not allow you to install onto removable media.
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# RE: Can we install to USBRob 2011-02-17 23:14
Grrrr. Crippleware "Windows 7 Starter" and can't install to a removable Drive on a Netbook (where you might want to do so the most). That only encourages me to install Linux even more. It will be faster and cheaper.

This is what I have been looking at, an AMD C-50 (with 6250 Graphics) in a Netbook for $300:

I guess we could just install to the internal Drive (do what MS wants), image it (see below), wipe it (easy), then USB install Debian.

Thanks for your answer.
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