SQL Server 2008 R2 setup fails on Windows 7 with the error: Version's parameters must be greater than or equal to zero

Symptom:   While installing SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM in a Windows 7 box, noticed an error message:   SQL Server Setup has encountered the following error: Version’s parameters must be greater than or equal to zero.   This error occurs after Setup Support Files are installed and then setup is trying to gather existing…