I'm going to be building a new desktop in the near future. For the OS, I plan on using Windows 7. I think I can find an old XP Pro CD from a previous computer and buy the cheaper upgrade rather than pay the full price (my current machine is a Dell, so that OS will be worthless on a different machine). However, this means doing a clean install, probably after I build the new desktop. Rather than screw around with doing a full backup after transferring everything to the new machine, I think it makes sense to just set up a separate OS partition on the new HD. Then I can easily and safely do a clean install of the upgrade without a massive backup, then reinstall of all my files.
First question. Do I have that right? If I set up a dedicated Windows XP OS partition and move the My Documents to the other partition, can I safely do the clean install of Windows 7 without messing up everything else?
Second question. How much space should I dedicate to the OS partition? The HD it will be on should be a minimum of 600GB and maybe 1TB.
Third question. Any special tricks, tips or pitfalls I should be aware of?
The method you are describing is actually more difficult than just installing, and copy/pasting over the network.
Given that the upgrade is cheaper than the full package, my assumption was that I'd need XP installed instead of the Windows 7 RC. Is this incorrect? Do I only need the activation code from the XP install?
You do need XP to buy the upgrade; I assume they check your cd-key at some point.[/strike]
edit i know nothing
That is not true at all. It has been confirmed by Microsoft that you need an installed, and activated, copy of XP or Vista to install the upgrade edition. If you have XP it will end up doing a clean install, but you do need to have it installed.