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Right now I have a machine with 3 physical hard drives on it. Each hard drive is close to 99% full.

Is it better to install Win 7 on a new partition, so that the machine will be all "fresh and new", and can run super fast, instead of installing on top of Vista, which already runs quite slowly due to various application installations.

So I can move the C: drive data, about 30GB of it to a 2TB external drive on another machine, and then, make a new partition on C: using that 30GB, and then install Win 7 fresh on that new partition. Is that a good, recommended solution?

Can the Win 7 Upgrade version do this job? (since it is not a Full version, can it be installed on a new partition? or must it be installed "on top of" Vista?) thanks.

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I'd recommend a clean install. When upgrading there will always be files, programs and settings left behind which could bog down your system. Doing a clean install, you know that there is no additional clutter laying around from a previous version of Windows and you can then copy over documents you may have saved to an external drive.

And yes, you can perform a clean install with upgrade media, as long as the underlying operating system is an installed and activated version of Windows. So to answer your question, yes it must be "on top of Vista", but it will not be the same as the regular upgrade process, it will erase it for you.

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can't it be also on a different partition and therefore letting the user keep Vista and Win 7 as a dual boot machine? (using the Upgrade version, not the Full version) –  動靜能量 Oct 22 '09 at 19:43
    
Not to my knowledge. You have to boot into the licensed OS, then insert the Windows 7 CD and install. Do custom installation options and a clean install should be in there. –  John T Oct 22 '09 at 20:11
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