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The first time I installed Windows 7 it was on a small SSD, so I pre-partitioned the drive so that the installer would not create those extra recovery partitions. Subsequently I migrated the installation to a larger SSD with the same partition layout (just extended the Windows partition to take up all of the newer drive).

Now however I want to perform a clean install of Windows 10 after deleting the single Windows 7 partition so that the extra partitions are created, because I can spare space for them. My understanding is that this will require me to install twice - upgrade once just to tie Windows 10 to my hardware, then clean install after which it should get activated automatically. Is that correct?

Clearly it would be advantageous in many ways (less time and effort, less wear and tear on my drive) to both upgrade and have all the extra partitions created in one go. Is there any way at all to achieve this?

Alternately, can I not just boot using the Windows 10 ISO, have it recognize the activated copy of Windows 7 (or enter my Windows 7 key), do its fingerprinting, and then use the installer to delete all partitions and clean install?

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    It's getting a bit weary seeing the myth of "SSDs can't tolerate use without failing" perpetuated everywhere. Don't worry about wear and tear on the SSD. It's likely warrantied for five or ten years to begin with, compared to most consumer rotational HDDs which are warrantied for like 1-3 years depending on locale. That should tell you something. See also on Server Fault e.g. Are SSD drives as reliable as mechanical drives (2013)? and Mean Time Between Failures — SSD. – a CVn Jul 30 '15 at 8:04
  • @MichaelKjörling: Thank you for your advice. Given that SSD wear and tear is not as big an issue (I did not mention outright failure if you care to note), time is still a significant factor in my wanting to reduce the tedium to a 1-step process. That is my main question, so can you address that please? – Robert Neves Jul 30 '15 at 8:16
  • I assume you want the free upgrade. What this requires is for you to upgrade to Windows 10, then after it is installed, perform the clean install. During that process you can change the partitions how you want them. There isn't a way around that, you must upgrade first, so your machine can be activated. – Ramhound Jul 30 '15 at 15:01
  • @Ramhound: Thank you for the information. Am I to understand that Microsoft has officially stated that the process to clean install is so needlessly complicated? I also need to clean install on someone's Windows-7-downgraded-to-XP laptop. Does this mean I need to install Windows 7 first, upgrade it to Windows 10 and then reinstall the latter? Simply amazing. Or is it that the inability to use Windows 7 keys with the Windows 10 installer is a temporary glitch as this user seems to have confirmed from Microsoft? superuser.com/questions/946810/windows-7-product-key-does-not/… – Robert Neves Jul 30 '15 at 15:43
  • What is complicated about doing the upgrade once, then either doing a clean install or doing a Reset, if you want an installation that can be activated that is what is required. I am only going to comment on the question as proposed. It isn't a glitch that Windows 10 isn't accepting Windows 7 product keys. What might be a glitch is the installer not accepting the generic key, that is a separate issue, but I don't simply trust second-hand information so I can't trust that linked statement for that reason. – Ramhound Jul 30 '15 at 15:48

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