HOWTO: Upgrade XP (32 bit) with the downloadable Windows 7

I had a real adventure last night, installing Windows 7. I ran into a problem so infuriating, and yet so completely boneheaded and ridiculous that I had to laugh. It’s described here. In essence, if you bought the EDU $29.95 Windows 7 Home Premium from Microsoft, the download file won’t actually work on 32-bit Windows XP. It unpacks all the files, and then tries to run a 64-bit
executable. Then it claims it can’t write to the install directory, instead of telling you the real problem — it can’t run the installer program.

Thank Jebus for the Internets — googling the error message turned up the forum discussion linked above and these
instructions on building a bootable Windows 7 Installation Disk.

I ran into another problem then — it might have been my issue, selecting the wrong install option from the menu, but I tried installs onto an existing Windows XP partition, and both ended up in an unbootable disk. Finally I punted — in XP, I deleted the partition on my new Windows 7 boot hard disk, and told it to do a full install. I was concerned this wouldn’t work, since I had the Upgrade and not the Full version, but apparently having a bootable XP disk elsewhere in the system let it do a clean install on an unformatted disk. Huzzah.

So I’ve spent several hours installing hardware drivers and my working set of software. Windows 7 feels faster than XP on the same hardware, but I’m not sure how much is actual performance improvements, and how much is having my main hard drive be a newer, faster hard drive.

The one big boo-hiss goes to M-Audio, who don’t have drivers for the Midisport 2×2 for 64 bit Vista or 7. WTF guys? Everything else seems to work great!

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