Please modify your notes, John (see my BOL forum post about this). Brandon LeBlanc of the Windows 7 Blog team clarified this for his blog readers:
""...you can most certainly do a clean install of the Windows 7 Beta. I usually do clean installs myself - especially on my laptops. The statement applies to upgrade scenarios."
See here (if you can get to the blog...it's been quite busy!) and scroll down for his response I posted above:
A select group of us have been testing early versions of Windows 7 for weeks, and yesterday Microsoft officially released Windows 7 Beta 1 (build 7000) to both an expanded group of testers and everyone with a Microsoft MSDN or Technet subscription. If you have access to any of these outlets you may download the beta version now.
For the rest of you, though, Microsoft will offer exactly 2.5 million copies to the general public starting tomorrow, Friday, January 9, 2009, with some limitations. There are currently no announced restrictions regarding eligibility, but the download limit is hard - Once 2.5 million copies have been distributed the opportunity will be over. Here is what you need to know:
1.) The public opportunity begins Friday, January 9, 2009 at an undisclosed time. Keep your eyes open!
2.) The public download will be Windows 7 Ultimate - There will be no 'lower' editions released.
3.) The public beta EXPIRES on August 1, 2009, at which time it will CEASE TO FUNCTION.
Do NOT install this beta on a production, mission-critical machine. First, as this is a beta there are invariably countless bugs, both known and unknown, which may cause instability, data loss, and other malfunctions. For instance, build 7000 had a public issue where editing a MP3 file's metadata (author, title, album art, etc) in WMP12 would permanently erase the first several seconds of the song. (An update is available to patch that bug.) In addition, due to the expiration on August 1, 2009 you will be forced to erase everything and reinstall Windows Vista from scratch. Therefore, once again, do NOT install this beta on a production, mission-critical machine.
1.) Hardware requirements are the same as Windows Vista.
2.) You must have a designated machine or virtual machine.
3.) That machine/VM must be running Windows Vista SP1.
4.) A high-speed connection is highly recommended as the beta is nearly 3GB in size.
This is a limited beta opportunity to show Windows 7 to the general public in advance of its release as the successor to Windows Vista. The limitations noted in this post, primarily the lack of a clean installation option as well as the lack of a Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrade, are not representative of the final version to be sold later this year, nor are all of these limitations present in the private tester builds and MSDN/Technet releases. Rest assured, Windows 7 will be a fully functional OS and Windows XP users will not be exempted.