Students Finding WIndows 7 Upgrade Cheap, But Not Easy

The first SNAFU to show up on Windows 7, and it's not even an issue with the software, or even Microsoft. Rather, it's an issue with the installation package provided by Digital River for the nicely discounted student upgrade package that Microsoft has been offering at

Now, Digital River is not small potatoes when it comes to digital distribution of software, so it's amazing this sort of fiasco has happened. Instead of delivering a simple .ISO image that could be burned to a DVD, students receive an .EXE file that must be run to decompress two .BOX files. That's where the issue lies.

When trying to "Unload the Box" as the step is called, those trying to upgrade from a 32-bit OS to a 64-bit version of Windows 7 receive the error message ‘We are unable to create or save new files in the folder in which this application was downloaded.”

Microsoft has acknowledged the issue, saying:
Microsoft is aware that users who ordered the 64-bit Version of Windows 7 through the Windows 7 Student Offer and did not order the DVD Backup Media may have difficulty installing if their current operating system is running a 32-bit version of Windows such as Windows XP. Users who have encountered this difficulty should contact Digital River using the Customer Support link at the bottom of the page for possible solutions that would allow you to install Windows 7.
Naturally, it would have been much simpler if Microsoft / Digital River had simply supplied an ISO image. Ah, but it is possible to convert what Digital River delivered into such an ISO image. The problem is, that's only after you've gotten around the issue above.

Microsoft has also noted that there are other issues: for some, the download hangs at a certain percentage and won't continue or resume.   In other cases, users get a generic unspecified error message.  In the first case, it appears there is some incompatibility with 3rd party programs; in the second, the files may be incomplete or corrupt.

Assuming you have managed to download the files and extracted them, as well, you will end up with a folder called expandedSetup. Store that at your root directory (c:\) to make things easier.

Then, you'll need a tool from Microsoft. OSCDIMG is a tool included with the Windows Automated Installation kit (but that whole kit is nearly a GB in size). Download from here. Extract the contents of the file to your c:\Windows\System32 directory (or whatever amounts to that on your PC).

Next, open an "elevated" command prompt. To do this, in Vista you select Start, then Run, then type "cmd" and hit CTRL-SHIFT-ENTER. In XP, just type 'cmd' into the same Run dialog.

Then type the following into your command prompt (this assumes the expandedSetup folder is at the root, or c:\, as I suggested):
oscdimg.exe –u2 –b"C:\expandedSetup\boot\" –h "C:\expandedSetup" C:\Windows7.ISO
You will end up with a Windows7.ISO file in your root (C:\) directory that you can then burn using a variety of methods. Then all you need to do is install it, which is another issue entirely.