Installing Windows 7 (64-bit) on an SSD (new)

My system:

Intel Core i7 920
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R Mobo
6GB DDR3 RAM
2 x 1TB Seagate HDD’s (one of which contains the primary partition with XP-SP3)
ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card
Windows XP-SP3

I’ve bought Windows 7 (Retail version) and am awaiting delivery of an Intel X25-M 80GB SSD.

The Plan:

Install W7 64-bit onto my brand new SSD.  I’d like my approach to be checked by someone with greater expertise than me, since this is my first SSD so I’m on the lookout for specific issues that don’t pertain if installing onto mechanical HDD’s.

Leaving out the obvious Windows Easy Transfer stuff, here’s my approach.

Steps:
1.      Physically install the SSD into my Antel case, connect the SATA cables.
2.      Disconnect the second Seagate (for simplicity) – now only have the boot Seagate and the Intel SSD.
3.      Run the 64-bit custom install from the W7 DVD, but nominate the SSD as the install disk.
4.      Run a firmware update on the SSD.

Questions:
1.      At Step 3 should I boot into XP FIRST and then insert the W7 DVD and run setup.exe?   OR   do I just cold-boot from the W7 DVD?  Does it matter?
2.      I’m very confused about the IDE/AHCI thing.  When do I enter BIOS and change to AHCI mode?  Is it BEFORE installing W7, or after? And I’ve also read that to update the Intel firmware requires IDE mode?  HELP!
3.      Also at Step 3, will the SSD be recognised at all?  Is this dependant on the mode setting referred to in Q.3 above?
4.      Finally, do I download the firmware update tool from Intel NOW and run it from a USB stick after W7 is installed?

I’ve done so many Windows installs over the years I’ve lost count BUT the SSD makes me cautious – I’d like to do it once, and do it right!

Thanks in advance.
JRT55Asked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
JRT55,

Microsoft does not support an upgrade from XP to Windows 7. Based on this, the best way for you to start is removing all hard drives from your case and do a clean install.

Next, connect the SSD and make sure it is recognized in the BIOS. Also, while in the BIOS, adjust the "Boot Order" so your CD/DVD drive is the first boot device (you want it to boot from the Windows 7 DVD).

Lastly, restart your computer...if everything was done correctly it should start booting from the DVD drive with the Windows 7 DVD in place and it should attempt to detect all your devices in the case.
Make sure you unplug anything from your USB ports like printers, cameras, etc....
This is about it.

I hope it helps.

Bits ...
0
willcompCommented:
Are you planning for an XP/Win 7 dual boot or do you want to replace XP?
0
BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
I didn't realize that you might have been planning to do a dual boot. If so, I would ask you why? If you don't want to be installing and uninstalling as you mention above.... my advise would be to stay away from dual boot. You will come to a point when you don't want it and then you will want to remove it. Might as well not start with it in the first place.
Windows 7 versions from Pro upwards have available XP Mode. What this would mean to you is that Microsoft makes available to anyone who has Windows 7 Pro and above a free download of Windows XP to use within Windows 7. The purpose of this is to allow applications that might need to be installed in XP to run in Windows 7 seamlessly.
In other words, Windows XP Mode lets you run older Windows XP business software right on your Windows 7 desktop. As I mentioned above, it comes as a separate and free download and works only with Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise. XP Mode also requires virtualization software such as Windows Virtual PC. Both are available free on the Microsoft website. Just like Microsoft advertises: It's the best of both Worlds.
 
Take a look at these videos. The best ones are at the bottom of this link:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/support/default.aspx 
 
This other one is more technical but is useful as well:
http://edge.technet.com/Media/Windows-XP-mode-for-Windows-7/ 

Bits ...
0
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
I also forgot to address another of your questions.... AHCI or IDE.... use IDE. Don't be confused, right after installing the SSD drive and booting, go into the BIOS and make sure to set it to IDE....
Read this article regarding ACHI vs IDE:
http://windows7forums.com/windows-7-hardware/18767-ahci-ssds.html
Bits ....
0
JRT55Author Commented:
To BitsBytesandMore: I know that MS recommends a custom (clean) install, I guess I just thought that this meant installing to a fresh and empty HDD (in my case the new SSD).  If I'm interpreting your words correctly however, "clean" install actually means there must be NO TRACE of any pre-existing OS - hence the stipulation to physically disconnect the existing system HDD.  Is that correct?  Do I need to format the SSD before the W7 install (connect it to my XP machine and do it), or will this be handled as part of the install itself?
One thing puzzles me - without any system drive in the machine, how does the W7 DVD check that I have a legal copy of XP from which to upgrade?  
Presuming I disconnect everything but the SSD and boot from the W7 Install DVD, when I jump into BIOS do I set IDE or AHCI mode?  I don't know what AHCI really does/means, I'm presuming it's a setting that's needed for the SSD to be recognised? Is that correct?
To willcomp:  In light of the above, how would I set up a dual boot?  By simply reconnecting the existing XP-SP3 HDD into the PC case after Win 7 is successfully installed?  I'm wondering whether dual-boot system might be a good idea until I work through every existing program "live" and see that they work under W7.  I've checked on MS's W7 Compatibility Centre and as a result bought a couple of upgrades for key programs I use, but also have quite a few obscure useful programs which may be best checked in practice...
 
Thanks people.  My SSD was apparently delivered to my home this morning, so I'm pretty keen to have my understanding accurate so I can get stuck in this weekend!
0
willcompCommented:
Here's a guide for installing a dual boot configuration. The XP drive must be attached and the Win7 boot manager will be installed on the XP drive (boot disk). If you decide to later uninstall XP, the boot manager must be left on that drive.  http://apcmag.com/how_to_dual_boot_windows_xp_and_windows_7_xp_installed_first.htm

AHCI adds features such as hot swap and NCQ to SATA drives and increases performance.. Win7 can be installed with AHCI enabled. AHCI cannot just be enabled and disabled at will by changing BIOS settings.

Food calls, I'll check back later.
0
JRT55Author Commented:
BitsBytesandMore: I sent my last reply before I saw your two further posts.
I actually wasn't even considering a dual-boot scenario until it was mentioned by willcomp, and I wondered whether it was a worthwhile idea just ot enable me to see whether any of my 'legacy' programs might not run on W7.  If not then I'll decide how much I need them anyway, and whether it's worth the $'s to upgrade to W7 Prof + (currently I only bought W7 Home Premium).  It's certainly not out of any lingering love for XP - I'm well and truly ready to say goodbye to it!
I'm also keen to go down the 64-bit route, and have already doen the necessary driver checks with the vendors of my peripherals.
0
willcompCommented:
I'm not advocating a dual boot -- wasn't clear to me from your question whether that's what you had in mind.

I haven't worked with SSD drives so I'll defer to others who have. Does appear that enabling AHCI for SSD drives may not be a good idea.

Most application software will run just fine on Win7 x64 and driver support is very good. I haven't experienced any driver problems yet. Obviously some older peripherals won't have drivers.

If you don't dual boot, install Win7 with only the boot (SSD) disk installed.
0
JRT55Author Commented:
To willcomp:   Re: your last line, I repeat my query from my 2nd last post:
"One thing puzzles me - without any system drive in the machine, how does the W7 DVD check that I have a legal copy of XP from which to upgrade?" (Frown)
??
0
willcompCommented:
Do you have retail or upgrade version of Win7?
0
JRT55Author Commented:
Retail (but upgrade) - not OEM though.
0
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
You have full version of Windows 7 so it does not need to check for XP existence. Simply remove the drives as advised by Bits and leave SSD drive only. Then insert Win7 DVD and restart the machine with proper boot sequence set in BIOS. So DVD-ROM would be the first device. It will run on Wizard basis so nothing you should afraid of do wrong there.
Here is a screen shot based guide: http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/514412-windows-7-installation-guide-tutorial.html
You can keep the storage mode in BIOS as IDE or SATA.
And finally Upgrade does not mean upgrading some files of Windows XP to Win 7. It means installing newer version of Windows.
0
willcompCommented:
See this: http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_media.asp

Retail and Upgrade versions mean 2 different animals but I do realize that it is confusing. The full retail version will do clean installs and upgrades.
0
BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
JRT55,
The reason I advised you to remove all the existing drives and only leave the new SSD drive is for you to avoid problems when the Windows 7 setup detects them and realizes that you also have XP.... I don't want you making a wrong selection and end up with messed up logical drive letters that need to be corrected afterward.
If you just remove all the drives, the Windows 7 setup wizards will automatically take care of everything and perform a smooth install.
Regarding your question: "... I wondered whether it was a worthwhile idea just ot enable me to see whether any of my 'legacy' programs might not run on W7..."  . You can Download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to see if your PC is ready for Windows 7. It scans your hardware, devices, and installed programs for known compatibility issues, gives you guidance on how to resolve potential issues found, and recommends what to do before you upgrade. (this must be run in XP before you remove the drives)
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1B544E90-7659-4BD9-9E51-2497C146AF15&displaylang=en
As for your question on AHCI (Advanced Host Configuration Interfase), people are having issues with SSD drives (did you read the link I posted above?) ...
Bits ...
0
BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Correction: Advanced Host Controller Interfase .... you can read more about the problems in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Host_Controller_Interface
Bits...
0
JRT55Author Commented:
Finished successful install of W7 over the weekend. Thanks to contributors here.
However I must correct some of the advice which was incorrect.
BitsBytesandMore's first posted advice: "Microsoft does not support an upgrade from XP to Windows 7. Based on this, the best way for you to start is removing all hard drives from your case and do a clean install."
Also, willcomp said "If you don'to dual boot, install Win7 with only the boot (SSD) disk installed."
Finally, noxcho said "You have full version of Windows 7 so it does not need to check for XP existence. Simply remove the drives as advised by Bits and leave SSD drive only. Then insert Win7 DVD and..."
I did as instructed.  With only the SSD in the case, I booted from the W7 DVD.  Went through whole process BUT WHEN I ENTERED THE PRODUCT KEY I GOT ERROR MESSAGE THAT IT WAS INVALID. CHECKED IT 3 TIMES, EVEN ASKED MY PARTNER TO DO SO - ROAD BLOCK!!
After a night to sleep on it I returned to my original suspicion that, being an UPGRADE retail box still meant that evidence of a pre-existing OS had to be found (see my posts).  So I connected the HDD with XP on it, and re-booted from the W7 DVD again.  Install proceeded and this time, when I entered the product key it went through successfully to conclusion.
So, if others wish to upgrade from XP to W7, even though they select Custom Install (Clean) they MUST leave the HDD with XP on it connected!!
I don't know whether to put this down to differences in Australia compared to US, but here we can buy two differing retail boxes - one is Upgrade, and the other is Full version. Only the latter will install on a virgin system.  The advice I got on that issue was a bum steer I'm afraid!
I thought I should clear this up for the benefit of future inquiries.  No damage done apart form some of my time wasted.
0
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Amazing! Shame on Microsoft. What should the user do if his machine with XP is dead and he bought upgrade DVD? It must be possible to install Win 7 and ask for verification XP code.
0
willcompCommented:
You do a clean install with Win 7 upgrade just like Vista.  http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_media.asp
0

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
I've installed many times the upgrade version without the need of having the XP to prove it. There must have been some hiccup there. I really don't think that the Australian version would be different... it has to be something related to when you booted again but not to the presence or not of XP. I would not recommend or insist on you doing something that I have not tried or tested before.
See the attachments below. They are step by step instructions on how to upgrade from XP. They come from Microsoft. I can assure you that you can grab a clean machine and install Windows 7 upgrade (they sell Windows 7 here in 2 versions as well) and it will work (it is based on the honor system so you don't have to prove that you owned XP for it to work) ... it is described everywhere as a custom install.
You can call Microsoft and give them the example posted above by noxcho ... what if your machine came with XP installed (and no restore CD's as usual) and you replace the hard drive because it dies out on you... You are ENTITLED to the Windows 7 upgrade. You do have a legal XP copy inside your damaged hard drive... which is unreadable.
Trust me... this issue was present with MS Office 97 and people found a way around it (Microsoft would ask you to insert a copy of the software which entitled you to the upgrade)..... it has to have been a hiccup somewhere ... I know this because I've done it many times.
Bits ...

Upgrading-from-Windows-XP-to-Win.pdf
windows-7-upgrade-scenarios-char.jpg
0
BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
I've just called Microsoft myself to confirm the above. The only requirement to have XP installed is if you wish to use the Easy Transfer Application and it requires at least XP SP2... other than this... none.
You can call them yourself and confirm:
If want to call Microsoft Australia please consult us at (1) (800) 642 008(free) or (61) (2) 9870 2131. ....
Bits ...
0
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Soo several experts couldn't be wrong. =) Definitely there was a problem with entering key or its check but not the lack of XP.
0
JRT55Author Commented:
OK final post by me.  I know from my own experience that I could spend literally hours working backwards to find out why this happened.  But my new W7 system is working and I've moved on, re-installing programs and upgrading them to 64-bit versions.  Finishing my project now - have ordered 6GB of G.Skill 1600 DDR3 RAM with C7 latency which will lift my WEI from 5.9 (existing 1333 DDR3 C9 lowest score) to 6.8 (graphics card score).  
I certainly enjoying booting up in about 25 seconds!  My first experience with SSD's certainly enjoyable - programs also load up in a flash.
To Bits (and others) I hope you didn't take offence - I value this site and its contributors.  I'll just insist to noxcho that entering the wrong product key was NOT what caused the problem - I was understating it when I said I re-entered the key 3 times, because my partner also did it twice.  And neither of us is dyslexic LOL!
So whatever caused this issue will lay buried forever - like so many problems with Windows, where you can work around or "fix" a problem by removing the behaviour - without ever knowing why it occurred in the first place!
I'm a happy chappy nonetheless - I shouldn't have to do a W7 reinstall for quite a while, and I use Acronis True Image to image the System drive anyway.
Thanks all.
JT
0
BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
This is my last post on this subject: I once heard in a conference about Microsoft that the problem usually is not in Windows but between the chair and the keyboard.... no offense, but sometimes we miss little detail and end up blaming Windows....

As I told you before, and this is important for the record, I've used the upgrade version many, many times and it does not verify if you are really upgrading or not. It just works. Period. It is documented everywhere. You asked for help and we gave you the newest and latest info available. I would not want for people to think that they must leave their Windows XP hard drive in the machine to be able to do an upgrade to Windows 7. A quick search in Google will give you millions of results of people who have done this flawlessly.

As noxcho mentioned... something else failed. Maybe a hiccup... I wasn't there so I don't know. Maybe when you turned it on the next day, if you would have just tried once more before plugging the old XP hard drive it would have worked... unfortunately you have made up your mind on this and are set on it but this is not why it failed initially.

I'm glad to hear you got it working and are now happy.

Bits ...
0
JRT55Author Commented:
Bits
I’m sorry but I just have to have a final say on my original question.  
 
I don’t work IN the computer industry but I have maintained a deep technical interest in all things PC for 30 years now – it’s my main hobby.  I’ve rescued hard disks for people, built entire systems from scratch, done more hardware (& software) upgrades than I care to remember. I regularly read technical information, blogs etc and follow developments in many facets out of interest.  Out of interest only, I did the A+ Hardware and MSCP courses (based on W2000).  Perhaps because I’m an electrical engineer I have an interest in HOW and WHY PC’s function as they do, rather than just the results they produce.  So I am NOT a newbie to the PC world by any stretch of the imagination.  However I will NEVER call myself and expert because I also happily listen to advice with both ears, and have managed to learn a great deal over those 30 years adopting that philosophy.  When I post a question, I always make the starting assumption that whoever replies to me, knows more than I do.  Because it’s a hobby only (albeit a serious one), I don’t need to have an ego about it – it’s all just fun to me!
 
The ONLY reason I did this post was due to a degree of confusion generally out there on the subject of upgrading from XP (specifically) to W7 – and the fact that I was going for the first time to an SSD for the system drive, which meant that I wouldn’t be overwriting my existing XP system disk.  So I asked my question on this site because I rate it highly (still do).
 
I think it’s fair to say that in the past 2-generational OS upgrade paths have generally followed the same process as 1-generational ones, so there’s been no difference between the two.  And MS has “trained” us over the years to understand that to obtain the financial benefit of a lower cost “upgrade” OS disk compared to a more expensive “full” OS disk (loyalty reward), the upgrade disk searches for evidence of the previous OS.  It’s pretty basic logic.
 
To Bits, I want you to know that I followed EXACTLY the recommendations you made in your very first post to this question – in fact you were the first person to reply to me (thank you).  That is, I removed all hard drives from my case and did a clean (custom) install.  Next, I connected the SSD and made sure it was recognized in the BIOS and I adjusted the "Boot Order" so your CD/DVD drive was the first boot device.  And finally I restarted the PC and it booted from the DVD drive with the Windows 7 DVD in place, successfully detecting the SSD – all EXACTLY as you recommended.  Everything else connected to the USB ports was disconnected – again, as you recommended.
 
From this point forward you will fully know that the installation runs itself.  There is simply nothing for anyone to “stuff up” – I’m usually off making a coffee and just checking back to see the progress bars.  In fact one of the improvements to the installation process by W7 as far as I can see is that all the reboots were automatically initiated by Windows 7 itself, so you didn’t return to the PC after 15 minutes only to find it sitting there waiting for you to press the Enter key to advance to the next step!  And PLEASE don’t insult me, my partner and her son by inferring that something between the chair and the keyboard was at fault and that between 3 highly intelligent people we didn’t possess sufficient typing and checking skills to enter the Product Key incorrectly.  Come on!
 
Your correct to say that I’ve “… made up (my) mind … and are set on it” as far as why the exact same procedure worked successfully when I connected the old XP drive back (but not as the boot device).  In fact I did a search of the activation error message, rather than just form my own opinion. Let me refer you to the following link:
 
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/windows7/Windows-7-activation-error-invalid-product-key
 
Please note this is Microsoft’s own site (although you’ll see it’s the Australian one)!  The heading is “Windows 7 activation error: invalid product key” – just the error message I received the first time around.  Now I’ll quote directly from it:
 
“If you receive an error indicating that your product key is not valid when installing Windows 7, it could be for the following reasons:
 
(3rd bullet point)
• The product key is for an upgrade version of Windows 7 and a previous version of Windows wasn't on your computer when Windows 7 was installed. To install an upgrade version of Windows 7, …. Windows XP must be installed on your computer.
 
We recommend that you install Windows 7 with your current version of Windows running.”
 
Now logically, this seems reasonable to me as I have mentioned above.  How do I explain to myself that the installation was successful at the second attempt, with an XP system disk at least connected to the PC?  
 
By reading the above from Microsoft…
 
I think we can agree that there’s some grey stuff going on here, a few things are definitely not black or white.  Anyway, to repeat: my system is going fantastic now and I’m enjoying the new experience.  I’m pretty happy (understatement) with the decision to go with an SSD for the system disk.  Booting now takes no more than 25 seconds, program installations write to it in a blur, and a product like Word 2007 loads in 1 second – literally!  The hardest thing to get used to is the lack of HDD noise!
 
Enough from me now, I’ll allocate the points tomorrow to allow Bits some time for the right of reply.  All the effort has truly been appreciated.
 
JT
 
0
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
That's why I said: SHAME ON MICROSOFT! One should not be this kind of greedy. ))
0
willcompCommented:
The fallback method is in the link I provided and apparently was never read. You simply install Win 7 without entering product key and then install it again as an "upgrade" with product key. The same procedure was required for a clean install of the Vista upgrade.
0
BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
JRT55,
After your detailed explanation, I am left without words as to what to reply. I have not seen this happen. I too have been working with computers for about 30 years and have seen many strange behaviors from different machines and from different versions of Windows.
I will go back to your original comment: "... So whatever caused this issue will lay buried forever - like so many problems with Windows, where you can work around or "fix" a problem by removing the behavior - without ever knowing why it occurred in the first place!..." for lack of a better answer.
I'm sorry if my words came across as an insult (this is the problem of writing as opposed to seeing each others faces)... I would never dream of insulting any asker, especially someone who has behaved so politely and humble as you have. Again, I apologize... it was meant as a joke.
I guess there must be a difference and the Australian version is behaving very much like MS Office 97 used to behave where you had to follow a procedure very similar to what willcomp is mentioning above (tricking the system).
I will take note and keep in mind this problem to specifically double-check for it again. In my experience, when you leave a previous version of Windows, the new version of Windows tends to assign the logical drive letters sometimes randomly, thus you sometimes end up with your system files on drive D and your boot files on drive E while your XP files are on C... this is why I recommended that you remove all drives, to avoid confusing the system.
Analyzing your experience, it comes to mind if the 2nd attempt worked because as willcomp suggested, the files were already in the drive... you would have to clarify on this.
In any case, I'm glad you've got your system working and are happy with it.
Bits ....
 
0
JRT55Author Commented:
Bits ...  no worries mate.  Thank you for your own humility and I look forward to meeting you here again.

Willcomp ... the screen requesting product key entry had "Next" button grayed out until PK had been fully entered.  When it came back with the "Invalid PK" error message, it re-grayed out the "Next" button again.  So leaving out this step & finishing the install was not an option.  Again, I wonder if this is peculiar to Oz?

Enough now, points allocation time.  Thanks all!

PS - Ahh! I just got my 6GB G.Skill RAM delivered.  Time to shut down and install - just about the quickest and easiest upgrade task!  LOL
0
willcompCommented:
The reason it was greyed out is that you did not select version and installation type correctly for an install bypassing product key entry. There is no difference in Australian versions from what I've seen reported by EE and TechRepublic members from Oz.

Win7 is like Vista -- all the 32 bit versions are on one DVD and all the 64 bit versions are on one DVD. You differentiate versions by product key or you can select version and bypass product key upon installation.
0
BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
I think this is one of the most interesting threads I have seen here in a while. For my part, I was seeing everything in black and white from first hand experience. Later, after JRT55's comments, I did some research to try to get to the bottom of what is happening here. Sure enough... I used and upgrade DVD and I did not get asked to prove I had a previous version of Windows.
Next, I took a close look at the willcomp's posted link:
http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_media.asp.
He hit the nail right on the head. It is so accurate that this is the link I will use whenever this question gets asked in the future.
It turns out that as JRT55 very appropriately worded it: "...I think we can agree that there’s some grey stuff going on here...". We were all correct and Windows 7 is behaving differently for reasons still to be determined:
As per the article on the link, Option 1 reads: "...Many, many readers report that they have been able to simply treat the Windows 7 Upgrade media as if it were Full media, and that it just works...."
But then the article mentions 2 more documented step by step methods to install if Windows 7 chooses to behave differently and what I find even more interesting is that at the end of the article, the author explains as some final thoughts:
 "....The methods described above will work for just about anyone and at least two of these methods are supported by Microsoft, if you're a valid, licensed owner of a previous Windows version. (Which is, of course, the assumption.) And remember that you can also take advantage of Microsoft's free support line if you need or want to activate otherwise. However you do it, these tips, tricks, and workarounds should get you up and running in Windows 7 legally, safely, and easily...." .
I wanted to thank JRT55 for making me aware in such a polite way that I was wrong and that Windows 7 is behaving differently in different situations  and apologize to willcomp for not having paid attention to your post and only reading the first couple of paragraphs instead of going through it completely. I assumed that methods 2 and 3 would be options and details on the "Easy Transfer" method and dismissed it as something I thought I already knew. It turns out that you had the answer all along.
As a last thought and my hypothesis on the subject (I will need to test this), I think the apparent erratic behavior we are seeing is with the DVD's that are prepared specifically to recognize a BIOS signature for a specific manufacturer such as the ones that ship with Dell's, Lenovo, HP, etc.... These will install without need of proof of having the previous version and that the ones sold as retail upgrades may be the ones that actually need to use methods 2 or 3 to work and are being verified. Unfortunately I don't have a non-Manufacturer upgrade DVD to test this but the article has convinced me that this is most probably the source of the grey stuff going on here.
This note is for the future reader who may be able to confirm this for us hopefully sooner than later.
Bits ...
0
willcompCommented:
@BitsBytesandMore -- Have you been successful installing Win 7 upgrade on a bare (new or completely wiped) hard disk? I know the upgrade will do a "clean" install if an XP installation is detected -- can't do an upgrade of XP -- whereas Vista would only allow a upgrade unless you used the dual install technique.
0
BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Yes... Many times... This is why when I looked at your link an skimmed through the first few lines I thought it was just a repeat of what I already had said. Only when I read the whole article is when I realized there was a problem and that your answer was the most accurate one.
0
JRT55Author Commented:
My turn again!
What we might all agree on, is that MS have created quite a bit of confusion for a collection of people with well above average technical knowledge & experience in this field.  I would make the observation that a Windows OS upgrade is almost NEVER a seamless, uncomplicated exercise.  Yes, the OS is the most complex piece of software in the PC, and upgrading individual software packages is (and should be) much more straightforward.  But MS has been in business for how long?  And what is their core business & expertise?  Eight or nine generations of OS now starting from MS-DOS? How can bringing a product to market via the now well-established process of betas and release candidates, and taking account of all the feedback, still lead to situations like this one?  I'm at a loss to explain that!  But then again, many things in life are unexplained - perhaps that is as it is meant to be LOL!!
Based only on my experience and intuition, after the first time failure I thought to take a different approach to my install by having the XP HDD re-connected to the PC (as a slave drive), the SSD still in the case, and rebooting from the W7 DVD a second time.  And happily for me it worked perfectly.  Now I'm no Einstein but there must be thousands of PC users out there who if (when?) they hit the same situation will not have a clue where to even begin!  The fun of new software is playing with it, learning it's new features and capabilities.  Getting there should be as simple and easy as possible - and require absolutely no expertise beyond inserting a disk and following the prompts.  After all, it is the 21st century.
Finally willcomp, you said "The reason it was grayed out is that you did not select version and installation type correctly for an install bypassing product key entry."  I don't understand this statement.  At no stage did I see a screen where the option to install by bypassing the PK entry.  Anyway, I'm in now so it doesn't really matter to me - I guess I'll refrain from advising anyone - but will keep your link handy.  Thanks.
Bye everyone.
0
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Storage

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.