I've had my computer for over 2 years now, and I believe that my boot drive is finally dying. It's stable at the moment, but earlier this morning it was constantly restarting. When it finally booted up normally, the system's speed went down to a crawl, leaving it very unstable. Since it's a Western Digital drive, I used their drive diagnostic software and some bad sectors seem to be the culprit; all of this, I believe, point to drive failure.
I am currently using a 160 gig drive as my boot drive (Windows XP SP3) with a 640 gig drive as a secondary drive. Since my 640 gig drive seems to be working fine (I have only had it for 6 months, and it passed all drive diagnostic tests) should I RMA my 160 gig drive, order Windows 7, install it on my 640 gig drive, and then, when I get the new 160 gig drive back, use it as a secondary drive? Or, am I missing something here?
Also, I used an OEM version of Windows XP SP3 when I built this computer - can I still use that disk to reinstall on a new drive? Or, do I need to get another OEM disk (If so, it'd be Windows 7)?
In regards to Windows 7: I have an AMD 6400+ CPU, which I believe is 64 bit compatible. Currently, I'm using the 32-bit version of XP, and I'm just wondering if the jump to 64-bit is worth it, or if I should stay with 32-bit. I've read a lot about the subject, but I'd just like your opinion.
Here's my system specs:
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA770-DS3
Hard-drives: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJS 160GB (Main) & Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB (Secondary)
RAM: CORSAIR XMS2 4 gig
GPU: ATI 4850
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+
PSU: PC Power and Cooling S61EPS 610W
OS: Windows XP SP3
By the way, all of my files are backed up, so I'm not in that much danger when it comes to data loss.
If you have a drive failure, you're allowed to reinstall the OEM version on another disk. Just be sure you have your original product key.
The reason to use a 64-bit OS is to access 4GB or more of memory. If you have that much memory, or if you expect to upgrade that machine to that capacity in the future, then go for the 64-bit version. Otherwise, stick with the 32-bit version - there's no advantage to 64-bits if you have less than 4GB of memory.