How can I replace Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit with the 64-bit version?

Alan Trinder September 5, 2012
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To be honest this one is rather frustrating, having paid Microsoft lots of cash for windows it is nigh on impossible. You may think that if you put the 64bit dvd into your drive you could load it, no you can’t. put the 32 bit disk into the drive and I get as far as can’t load into drive 0 not enough space! With a custom install that will format the disk first! I have trawled the Internet they tell you of having to do a clean install so you must back up your data and check your system can run 643bit. Done all of that but no instructions on how to load this.
Can any of the brilliant contributors to MakeUseOf tell me what I need to do, do I need to give drive 0 aka drive C: a little more space then try again and will it give me the option of 32 or 64 bit operating systems? Do I have to clean the total drive first and if so how? Help for non tech level appreciated.

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  1. Alan Trinder
    September 6, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Dear all, thanks for your comments. I have now moved to 64bit although I still have quite a bit to do to finish re-installing my programmes. The key factor is booting from the 64 bit disk. If you put the 32 bit disk in it runs but no one (until you guys and my son) indicated you must boot from the 64bit disk! then of course there is how do you boot from the 64 bit disk, no one tells you that. It is quite interesting trying to do it with a Bluetooth keyboard which of course has to connect to the pc and it cant do that before the system has booted. when that penny drops and you get to do a clean install all your drivers have gone walk about and you really need to get on line to get windows to download the 64bit versions etc. That includes the the WiFi driver as well, now where did I put that Ethernet cable???
    I am thinking of writing a step by step "user level guide" based on this experience. Do you think anyone would want to read it?
    I am closing this topic as resolved now, once again many thanks all.

  2. GrrGrrr
    September 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    The only answer is Clean install. Before you go for that backup what all data you require from the existing OS.

    Then insert the DVD for Windows-7 64bit and boot from the same. Follow all the on-screen prompts and install the new OS. Once installed it will have OLD folder where all your existing data in 32bit OS will be present. Feel safe to delete that folder.

  3. Luka Prebil
    September 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    You can only do a clean install. In that case backup all data you want onto an external drive, insert your Win7 x64 DVD, boot from it and follow the instructions. After you have installed it, insert your backup drive, open Win7 recover utility and recover the data.

    This is the only way.

  4. Oron
    September 5, 2012 at 11:50 am

    It has to be a clean install. However, there's little difference in use of disc space so you should be able to do this.
    The 64bit version of Windows is not an "upgrade" in the way that, say, Windows 7 is an upgrade of Windows Vista. It is a completely different system that looks like the 32bit version, and the same API (application programming interface) plus a compatibility layer to allow it to run 32bit programs. It is therefore not possible to replace the files one by one in order to perform an upgrade.
    Your best bet is to back up your hard disc (either to an external drive or to DVDs or the like), then do a clean install, and restore your data from the backup.

  5. Erlis Dhima
    September 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

    First what you need to know is if your computer is compatible with the 64-bit version of windows!
    To install the 64-bit version of windows, you can't upgrade, you need to clean install the windows! Just, back-up your data, and perform a clean install!

  6. James Bruce
    September 5, 2012 at 8:40 am

    The windows install program when you boot from the cd includes a custom option - use that, format the disks, and let it work its magic. Backup first, obviously.

    Also, do you know your computer is actually compatible with 64 bit windows? Not everythign is; some drivers arent available, and there's really no point in switching to 64 bit unless you have more 4gb or RAM; youre not going to get any benefit.

  7. susendeep dutta
    September 5, 2012 at 7:54 am

    I think you want to dual boot Windows 7 32 bit and 64 bit so as to be sure which one will be best suited for your work.Before trying out this -

    be sure that your system has more than 2GB of RAM ,
    64-bit installation takes 20 GB of space ,
    has available drivers for 64-bit OS as unsigned drivers can't be installed,
    software support for 64-bit OS and checking separate 64-bit versions of it.

    After that,if it meets the above points,then backup those serial keys of paid softwares using ProduKey -

    http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/product_cd_key_viewer.html

    Manually copy all the documents,music,videos etc. so as to make sure that you don't loose any file to an external drive.

    Then,install Windows 7 64-bit OS by completely wiping your primary drive i.e. C.

  8. MrXlover
    September 5, 2012 at 6:00 am

    There is no option, only clean installation

  9. Bruce Epper
    September 5, 2012 at 3:02 am

    The only way to convert from a 32-bit Windows OS to a 64-bit one is to do a clean install. You need to backup all of your data, boot from the OS DVD, select the Clean Install option, reformat the drive and complete the installation. If you want to dual-boot the operating systems, you will need to ensure that you have enough space for another partition to contain the second OS (plus the applications you want to install).

  10. Rajaa Chowdhury
    September 5, 2012 at 2:43 am

    To be very honest, you cannot upgrade from a 32bit to a 64bit Windows. It has to be a clean install. Therefore, suggest to backup all your data to external source and perform a clean install.

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