That makes two of us... at least. Personally I prefer a standard FTP download compared to a HTTP as well. All these downloader tools only adds another layer of insecurity, and as you point out, leave unwanted tracks on a system.
I can understand that a downloader/creation tool may be preferable for those not in the know-how out there, but personally I do disagree in removing the possibility of user control to be the best way to upgrade when you do not support even a clean install. What if you do need to repair Windows?
As for fighting piracy, I simply am amazed at how stupid it is possible to become. The pirated ISO is available the same or the next day no matter. In light of that, it will in reality mean that you can not get the original ISO anymore and so if you need it, you will have to download the pirated version and thus get vulnerable to malware.
Then again, M$ is already malware coders and so this move to promote piracy instead of fighting it is only too natural.
Yet another walk-over for the scene I'm afraid. :Z