There is steps that allow users with existing installation of Windows 7 older build, such as build version 6801 to upgrade and install Windows 7 build 6956 from the leaked VHD image. But what in stake for anybody who wants to install Windows 7 build 6956 fresh and from scratch without installing Windows 7 build 6801 first?

It’s also possible to install Windows 7 build 6956 directly onto a empty formatted NTFS hard disk partition or volume, or into a new virtual machine running on Virtual PC or VMWare or any other virtualization software with new formatted NTFS virtual hard disk, using the similar trick to upgrade install Windows 7.

  1. Download Windows 7 build 6956 VHD image.
  2. Mount or attach the VHD in already installed Windows 7’s Disk Management (requires to download and install Win7 build 6801), or with WinMount3 for users with no Windows 7 operating system installed and running.
  3. The VHD will be mounted as a new drive with an unique drive letter or path.
  4. Extract the file on VHD by backing up and restoring all files (whole partition or volume) on the VHD image with Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image (or any other disk imaging software that can do the job) to an empty and NTFS formatted drive on a physical PC machine or virtual machine.

    An alternative way is to to copy or xcopy over the files, but this method subjects to some incompatibility as soft links, hard links, junction points and some other objects may not be copied.

  5. Download and install VistaBootPro v3.3.0 (mirror).
  6. Run VistaBootPro, go to “Manage OS Entries” to “Add New OS Entry” that points to Windows 7 hard disk in order to install necessary boot loader and add entry in the boot menu.
  7. Those having problem to boot and start the Windows 7 build 6956 can try to run Startup Repair by booting from a Windows 7 build 6801 DVD.

This installation method allowing Windows 7 build 6956 to be installed without affecting any existing partitions or hard disks, and doesn’t require burning a DVD disc.

After logging on to Windows 7 desktop successfully, users can run Sysprep.exe, located inside C:\Windows\System32\sysprep folder, to generalize (reset) many user-specific or computer-specific elements such as computer name, security identifier (SID), driver cache databases and etc. to original or non-set default state. By running Sysprep, the Windows 7 build 6956 is now a true original build without any outside non-related components, and activation grace period will be reset back to 30 days too.

Update: The method is now for information only, as the setup installation ISO (DVD image) for Windows 7 build 6956 has been created and available for free download.