We all learn from discussions like this.
As for my #2 response. I was basically pointing you to Step #17 which shows you how to create a .iso of the download. Should have said that.
Clean install, you lose everything you currently have, software (programs ... blue tooth, office) and data thus a image backup is the way to go.
Staying with Windows 7 is not a bad choice. I upgraded to 8 mainly because it was cheap and I wanted to play with it. I have Win 7 and Vista on my other computers. I don't use the Metro interface (apps) at all, don't like it, find it ugly so I now have Windows 8 looking and feeling exactly like Windows 7 so I'm happy. $40 poorer but happy