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Best way to "upgrade" from x86 to x64 Win 7

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January 20, 2011 9:44:18 PM

Hey guys,

I am currently running Windows 7 32-Bit on my "gaming" computer. This is quite a restriction for me. I am planning to do a siginficant upgrade very soon (New mobo, CPU, GPU, RAM, maybe even SSD?) so I am going to need to switch to x64.

My first question is this:
If Windows 7 is already installed on my computer then I will have already used the licence key and Windows has been registered on the internet. What will happen if I try to use the same key a second time?

Option 1 (current OS HD)
All of my programs are already running in x86 mode (I think) so am I right in thinking I will have to uninstall and reinstall *everything* on my computer? Now I know that when I install Windows 7 x64 it will delete my entire C-Drive - but that is ok because I have partitioned my computer with everything important being on my D- and E-drives and backups going on a seperate B-drive. Here is my question:

Option 2 (New Hard Drive)
If I install Windows 7 x64 onto a new hard drive (SSD) and then - after it is updated and running - reboot the computer with the old HDD in, will I get an error because there are 2 hard drives with 2 operating systems trying to launch or will I get to choose between the two (allowing me to delete one)?

My second question is:
Which one of these two options would be least painful for me?


Thanks,
-Klosteral

More about : upgrade x86 x64 win

January 20, 2011 9:59:56 PM

Quote:
I am currently running Windows 7 32-Bit on my "gaming" computer. This is quite a restriction for me.

I might be wrong, but almost all, if not all games are still only 32-bit apps, so I don't think having a 32-bit setup -in of itself- should restrict gaming.

Quote:
My first question is this:
If Windows 7 is already installed on my computer then I will have already used the license key and Windows has been registered on the internet. What will happen if I try to use the same key a second time?

Again, I might be wrong, but if you only have a 32-bit version of Windows 7, you'll have to buy or upgrade to a 64-bit version of Windows, if that's the version you want.

Quote:
Option 1 (current OS HD)
All of my programs are already running in x86 mode (I think) so am I right in thinking I will have to uninstall and reinstall *everything* on my computer?

Nope, you should only have to reinstall the programs that have a x64 mode (which is like iTunes, Microsoft Windows apps, some ATI utilities, annnnd, yup, that's about it that's x64, at least installed on my gaming computer).

Quote:
Option 2 (New Hard Drive)
If I install Windows 7 x64 onto a new hard drive (SSD) and then - after it is updated and running - reboot the computer with the old HDD in, will I get an error because there are 2 hard drives with 2 operating systems trying to launch or will I get to choose between the two (allowing me to delete one)?

In the bios (the pre-operating system setup screen that you access by holding down the "Delete" key when your computer starts up), you can select the boot device priority, so that it will try booting from your SSD before it tries booting from your old HDD or your CD drive.

Quote:
My second question is:
Which one of these two options would be least painful for me?

Not sure! Both my require some time and work--more time and work (and expense) if you go with option two, but with option one, it's possible that you might have to end up re-installing a bunch of your programs, anyways, due to the Windows 7 reinstall messing with the other programs.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b $ Windows 7
January 20, 2011 10:23:43 PM

1. You don't "need" to upgrade to 64 bit.

2. If you have the retail version, you'll have no licensing issues and the box comes with both 32 bit and 64 bit versions, if you have the OEM version, you're outta luck on both counts as you're changing too many things for the change to go unnoticed by the activation process and the OEM versions are sold as 32 bot OR 64 bit, not both.

3. What you might want to do is install Win64 to a new SSD .... WITH THE HD DATA CABLE UNPLUGGED. Then, after that's done and updated, reinstall all ya programs on the HD (D & E) over themselves. If the SSD goes south or ya need Win32, you can yank the cable on the SSD and boot to your old OS....and no, the boot process won't see the 2nd windows install as the boot files on the SSD won't know it's there since cable was unplugged during install.

4. You can switch between whether ya booting to the OS on the SSD or on the HD by selecting / changing the Boot Priority in the BIOS
Related resources
January 20, 2011 11:03:41 PM

Ok, thanks for the quick and useful info guys.
@ Hastibe: Most games have a x86 and x64 ability (or it just doesnt matter) but you would expect that because otherwise people would have no need for 'beast' computers with up to and over 8GB RAM.

@ JackNaylorPE:
1. I want to upgrade because it will allow me to utilise more RAM and provides more scope for future upgrades. I will only have do to this upgrade once and I want to get it over and done with.

2. I am pretty sure I had the retail version. It came with 2 disks, a 32-bit and a 64-bit. I installed the 32-bit one before but I have no idea what will happen when I install the 64-bit one because my licence will already have been used.

3. I am actually thinking I will not install to the SSD becuase they are so damned expensive. I think I will stick with my current HDD or (if you think I should) buy another hard drive for ~$50.

Other info:
I am not new to building computers; I have been doing it for years. The same goes for upgrading Windows. But that was upgrades from say Win 98 to XP or XP to Windows 7 etc. Never have I had to deal with 32-bit to 64-bit. I am still learning.
January 21, 2011 2:10:02 PM

I'm about to do the same sorta thing...

Moving from Pentium D to Core i3 and 2GB to 4GB installed RAM.

Would it best to simply do an "upgrade" using the X64 disk over my current x86 installation?
January 21, 2011 8:48:53 PM

That is a useful site - to an extent. Ot dpes not say anything about re-registering Windows after the second installation. It assumes you are going between two different versions of Windows (Win XP x86 - Win 7 x64) so you would only need to deal with the key once.

I am going to try to install Windows 7 x64 with my current disk and keys, though failing that, I may need to buy another copy of Windows 7. Do I have to buy a "retail" version, or can I purchase an OEM?
January 21, 2011 10:02:27 PM

Using the license key more than once is not an issue. It's having several systems using the same key that's not allowed. I've reinstalled mine a couple of times, initial install, re-install for a dual boot system, and finally onto an SSD upgrade. That key will always be good.
January 21, 2011 10:44:21 PM

But did you have it installed onto the same hardware (mobo, cpu etc) and did you keep the same version (32-bit or 64-bit) each time. I have scratch-installed my copy of windows 7 several times, but each time it has remained at 32-bit.

When I do the installation this time round, it will be installed over the 32 bit version, effecetively deleting it. This means I really only have one copy active. I am just wondering if when it comes around to activation, MS will say that I am installing on a new machine (new CPU + mobo) and it is not allowed.

My other concern is that my recovery disk for windows 7 and the system images I have are all in 32 bit format. If I install in 64 bit and need to revert, will it work?
January 21, 2011 10:59:28 PM

I have the 64 bit pro OEM version. Initially installed it on an entirely different system, now have it on my current system, with XP on the other.
As far as a 64-bit install, it will act as a fresh install. MS doesn't care where or how often you install it, as long as you aren't giving it away to others and loading it on multiple computers. The link I posted will answer any other questions you may have.
Click "show all" for more categories. Hope this helps more.
January 21, 2011 11:03:27 PM

Ok cool thanks. I will try the install (probably tomorrow or the day after; busy today) and report back as to how it goes.

Right now I am doing an image, and I know it is a given for anybody doing any sort of upgrade, but I would just like to reconfirm this for people like izzzy who may be thinking of doing something similar.

Thanks,
-Klosteral
January 21, 2011 11:54:40 PM

Always a little more work involved than we like. I look at it as a way to configure partitions and such, that way it doesn't seem like a waste. Good luck.
January 22, 2011 12:12:23 AM

But I already have a fully partitioned drive that is loaded with data (each partition has less than 10GB free except my backup drive). That said, it does pay to be optimistic.
March 26, 2012 5:32:21 PM

Klosteral said:
But I already have a fully partitioned drive that is loaded with data (each partition has less than 10GB free except my backup drive). That said, it does pay to be optimistic.


So? How did it go? You never reported back!
March 26, 2012 9:11:22 PM

Klosteral said:
Ok, thanks for the quick and useful info guys.
@ Hastibe: Most games have a x86 and x64 ability (or it just doesnt matter) but you would expect that because otherwise people would have no need for 'beast' computers with up to and over 8GB RAM.

@ JackNaylorPE:
1. I want to upgrade because it will allow me to utilise more RAM and provides more scope for future upgrades. I will only have do to this upgrade once and I want to get it over and done with.

2. I am pretty sure I had the retail version. It came with 2 disks, a 32-bit and a 64-bit. I installed the 32-bit one before but I have no idea what will happen when I install the 64-bit one because my licence will already have been used.

3. I am actually thinking I will not install to the SSD becuase they are so damned expensive. I think I will stick with my current HDD or (if you think I should) buy another hard drive for ~$50.

Other info:
I am not new to building computers; I have been doing it for years. The same goes for upgrading Windows. But that was upgrades from say Win 98 to XP or XP to Windows 7 etc. Never have I had to deal with 32-bit to 64-bit. I am still learning.


Dont listen to these jokesters it is true that there arent many 64bit aps but at the same time they are applications that actually require quite a bit of optimization and you are going to benefit most. Alot of 32 bit software isnt demanding enough to even be worth optimizing it since it can load almost instinatiously anyways when using. Also 64bit just means how many bits can run through the front side bus meaning 64 to the third or 32 to the third so anything you installed that was 32 bit will be backwards compatible. I would still just try to go for a clean install I'm guessing thats what you would have to do regardless pretty sure you cant overwright a 32 bit operating system with a 64 bit. Anyways you wont have any licencing issues it will install and you will be asked the key after you reformat but the 32 bit and 64 bit version of the OS are still under the same license. If you had both disks you must have a retail copy. Forgot to mention that alot of dx11 games that you would actually want to squeeze every last bit of performance out of your pc are ending up 64bit. I would also go for the SSD if your current platter HDD meets your space requirements. Even if you have to save up for a while you can still run everything off of your hdd and wait. They are expensive as far as gb/$ goes but if you are looking at performance/$ you might think differently.
!