I finally decided to abandon using AI Restore after reading more about issues others appear to be having, and receiving an unintelligent reponse from an Asus tech rep who didn't understand the problem and just told me to make sure the optical drive was set to boot first. Not the problem. My solution was to download an .iso of Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit from the MS download site, not easy to find via Google, but referenced from another site. Apparently they have released the ISO's for free download, you must still enter your legal sticker registration code to activate it. Here's the link I got Win 7 HP 64 from: http://msft-dnl.digitalrivercontent.net/msvista/pub/X15-65733/X15-65733.iso
The ISO is about 3.2 GB, so use a fast connection! After you get it, burn to DVD-R using ImgBurn, be sure Verify is ticked, best to burn slower (2.0x) to avoid coasters, to be safe. The finished disc boot Windows setup perfectly, and installs fine, about 37 mins total. Registration from my original sticker activates it fine. I got my drivers from Asus' download site and began installing them, back to brand new, and I can avoid the bloatware I'm not interested in. Also, durung setup, I have the choice whether I want a single partition with everything on it (Windows does dictate a 100MB partition for System files as P1) or I can have a separate Data partition, which I may use if I decide to re-size the primary using Partition Magic later. So, I'll be uninstalling AI Restore, too bad it doesn't work as it should. The last thing I need if there ever is a crisis, is to discover my Restore DVDs are useless. This way, I have a real, working, installable copy of Windows to fall back on if my HD ever takes dump. All I have to do is create a backup ISO of my data and programs with ImgBurn.