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Vista 32-bit to Windows 7 64-bit

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August 15, 2009 5:04:03 AM

I recently bought a Dell that is eligible for the free Windows 7 upgrade. However, it came with Vista Home Premium 32-bit preloaded, instead of 64 bit. I'd really like to eventually end up with Windows 7 64-bit. I know that Windows 7 will ship with 32 bit and 64 bit versions, but will that allow me to do a clean install of 64 bit over my Vista 32-bit, or will I need to upgrade to Vista 64 bit first?

I would prefer to get the clean install over with (since I just bought the computer), so I'd prefer to get Vista 64 bit now. It was my understanding that some people with Vista 32 bit could get Vista 64 bit from Microsoft, and just pay the $10 or so for shipping and handling of the DVD. I tried to do that, but it wouldn't work on the Microsoft site - from what I can tell, only retail Vista can get this upgrade, not OEM software.

So, it looks like my options are:
1) Return the computer to Dell, and buy one with Vista 64-bit.
2) Beg and plead with Dell to hopefully send me a 64 bit disc.
3) Get Windows 7 32-bit and live with it.

Do I have that right, or will I really be able to upgrade Vista 32 bit to Windows 7 64 bit with a clean install then?

More about : vista bit windows bit

August 15, 2009 5:21:38 PM

Format and reload!

No way you can 'upgrade' for 32bit OS to 64bit OS, as the system platform is different.
August 15, 2009 5:28:22 PM

All you need to know that will you get a Windows 7 x64 disc then? Once you have it, you can do your clean install with a disc preferable HD format.
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August 16, 2009 9:23:22 AM

Thanks to some of you for your replies. What I'm trying to figure out here is Dell's implementation of the Windows 7 program. I know that retail buyers of Vista will get a DVD with both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows 7. But it sounds like Microsoft is letting each manufacturer deal with the Windows 7 upgrade in their own way.

For example, there's the 64 bit upgrade I mentioned above. If you have a retail version of 32-bit Vista, you can request a 64-bit version & Microsoft will send you a disk for free (plus shipping and handling). You can't do that if you have an OEM version of Vista (like from Dell - you can request a 64-bit version of your OS through Dell, but you have to invoke a special "DSN Document ID 158098" rule with Tech Support, and it sounds like they won't always accept it, or it might take a long time). Furthermore, when I registered for the Windows 7 Upgrade via the Dell site, I wasn't given an option to choose a 64 bit version on the DVD - it specifically says I'm getting a 32 bit version of Windows 7, and that's it. However, that may depend on the OS I currently have - if I install a 64 bit version of Vista, the Dell site may let me register for the 64 bit version of Windows 7. Or perhaps not, since it won't be the "original" version of my OS.

So I guess my questions are Dell-specific. I know there are hundreds of questions about the 32/64 bit issue, but I've done thorough searching and have not found an answer to this issue (no, I'm not lazy, there really aren't any other threads on Dell DSN Document ID 158098 & the 32/64 bit conversion & the implications for upgrading to Windows 7 - at least that I could find). I'm just trying to figure out the odds of whether I'm going to end up with 32 bit or 64 bit version of Windows 7, & whether other Dell owners have gone through this.
a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 16, 2009 10:02:54 PM

dproberts said:
What I'm trying to figure out here is Dell's implementation of the Windows 7 program. I know that retail buyers of Vista will get a DVD with both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows 7. But it sounds like Microsoft is letting each manufacturer deal with the Windows 7 upgrade in their own way.
That's a really good point - OEM versions of Windows are customized by the manufacturer and they can package it up in whatever flavour they want. It seems unlikely to me that they'd go to the trouble of splitting the Win7 versions, but it's certainly not inconceivable that they would. I think you're very wise to be skeptical until proven otherwise.

If and when you get an answer from Dell, please post it here for everyone's edification.
a b $ Windows 7
August 17, 2009 12:16:02 AM

Today, you can not upgrade a 32 bit vista to 64 bit. You MUST do a clean install. The 64 bit upgrade code will not run on a 32 bit system. I would think that the same will apply to an upgrade to windows-7 64 bit.
Your three options are all there are, I think.

I would contact Dell and see if they will correct their mistake in sending you a 32 bit version. Or, if they will send you a oem 64 bit windows-7 that would be OK also. Get that in writing.

If your PC is anything more than a basic unit, chances are, that you could assemble a better one one yourself. Consider returning the whole thing to Dell.

Post the specs here, and the price you paid. I bet the forum members could suggest a better/cheaper build. If you have the capability to install an OS, you have the ability to build your own PC.
a b $ Windows 7
August 17, 2009 12:16:45 AM

Dell will provide you with either 32-bit or 64-bit, but not both. If you have 32-bit Vista, you will have to ask Dell whether or not they will let you upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7 for free... they may only do so with 32-bit.
August 17, 2009 2:53:55 AM

If all you need is a 64bit vista disc you can buy backup discs off ebay for about $15. Then you can get the 64bit upgrade to 7 and you should be good to go. If they try to screw you just download an activation utility and go around them. There is no reason to cheat you out of an upgrade just because they shipped you 32bit.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3003...
August 17, 2009 3:11:22 AM

I do have another build thread going, but just for everyone's edification, I'll provide my specs below. My goal was to get a decent, everyday system for web surfing, e-mail, and light gaming (occasional Lord of the Rings Online), for $400 total, with Windows 7. Here's what I got:
Dell Inspiron 530
2.5 GHz dual core Intel E5200 processor
320 GB hard drive
2 GB RAM
32 bit Vista, free upgrade to Windows 7
Total: $270
I'm adding the following from Newegg:
NVIDIA 9600 GT, 512 MB, low power version
2 more GB of RAM
Total from Newegg: $130

I thought about building my own desktop, but decided against it - partly due to my lack of knowledge, but mostly due to the budget constraint - specifically, a retail version of Windows would have taken up half my budget.

The only computer hardware I've ever messed with is adding memory to my laptop. After watching a few videos on Youtube about how to add a graphics card and memory to this Dell, I'm not too concerned about how to do that. This computer's specs will work fine for me now, but if I get heavier into gaming, I'll probably try to build my own system, as I'll have a little more experience from messing with the desktop I just got. Plus, I might be able to save the processor, graphics card, memory, & other bits for a new build.

As for Dell - reps on the Dell forum specifically stated how to switch a 32 bit system for a 64 bit version of the same OS, and provided Dell's stated policy that it's totally okay to do so (the "DSN Document ID 158098" rule I mentioned before). However, they also stated that Tech Support may totally ignore my request. That's exactly what happened to me today - several live chats and phone calls failed to elicit any response other than "I'm sorry, you can't go from 32 bits to 64 bits without buying a new OS", and "Your hardware is only compatible with a 32 bit system" (both of which I know to be false). I knew I was gambling a little bit by ordering a Dell system that shipped with a 32 bit system, but I also knew that I was SUPPOSED to be able to switch to a 64 bit system free of charge.

I think I'll pick my battle here. I'd hate to fight Dell to get 64 bit Vista, only to have to fight them AGAIN to get 64 bit Windows 7. I'll wait and see if I can order the 64 bit version of Windows 7 once it's released, and failing that, I'll see if I can invoke the magic Dell policy after I get Windows 7 installed. I love faceless corporate hierarchies!
August 17, 2009 3:21:40 AM

belial2k said:
If all you need is a 64bit vista disc you can buy backup discs off ebay for about $15. Then you can get the 64bit upgrade to 7 and you should be good to go. If they try to screw you just download an activation utility and go around them. There is no reason to cheat you out of an upgrade just because they shipped you 32bit.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3003...


Ooh, very good point! I didn't know that backup disks weren't tied to a specific product key. If that holds true for Windows 7 too, I suppose I could use ANYONE'S 64 bit Windows 7 upgrade Home Premium DVD when they arrive (there will be millions of those disks around by then), and just enter the product key from my 32 bit Windows 7 disk.
August 17, 2009 3:42:12 AM

dproberts said:
Ooh, very good point! I didn't know that backup disks weren't tied to a specific product key. If that holds true for Windows 7 too, I suppose I could use ANYONE'S 64 bit Windows 7 upgrade Home Premium DVD when they arrive (there will be millions of those disks around by then), and just enter the product key from my 32 bit Windows 7 disk.


Yes, you pretty much have it. The key doesn't care if you have 32 or 64. So for now you can upgrade to vista 64 using a backup disc (it needs to be a retail version like I linked to) and when you get your 7 key just get or borrow someones 64bit 7 disc and you'll have everything you want without dealing with Dell or Microsoft...and like I said, I NEVER promote piracy of any kind, but if you have paid for something, and the companies are trying to keep you from using what you have paid for, there are easy ways around it.
a b $ Windows 7
August 17, 2009 7:28:50 AM

No, you can only use Dell discs... not just anyone's. The Dell DVDs (like all OEM DVDs) are like volume license discs... they are in fact not tied to a specific product key. However, the product key on the case is tied to Dell... so a generic OEM disc won't work.
August 17, 2009 7:58:23 AM

dproberts said:
Thanks to some of you for your replies. What I'm trying to figure out here is Dell's implementation of the Windows 7 program. I know that retail buyers of Vista will get a DVD with both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows 7. But it sounds like Microsoft is letting each manufacturer deal with the Windows 7 upgrade in their own way.

For example, there's the 64 bit upgrade I mentioned above. If you have a retail version of 32-bit Vista, you can request a 64-bit version & Microsoft will send you a disk for free (plus shipping and handling). You can't do that if you have an OEM version of Vista (like from Dell - you can request a 64-bit version of your OS through Dell, but you have to invoke a special "DSN Document ID 158098" rule with Tech Support, and it sounds like they won't always accept it, or it might take a long time). Furthermore, when I registered for the Windows 7 Upgrade via the Dell site, I wasn't given an option to choose a 64 bit version on the DVD - it specifically says I'm getting a 32 bit version of Windows 7, and that's it. However, that may depend on the OS I currently have - if I install a 64 bit version of Vista, the Dell site may let me register for the 64 bit version of Windows 7. Or perhaps not, since it won't be the "original" version of my OS.

So I guess my questions are Dell-specific. I know there are hundreds of questions about the 32/64 bit issue, but I've done thorough searching and have not found an answer to this issue (no, I'm not lazy, there really aren't any other threads on Dell DSN Document ID 158098 & the 32/64 bit conversion & the implications for upgrading to Windows 7 - at least that I could find). I'm just trying to figure out the odds of whether I'm going to end up with 32 bit or 64 bit version of Windows 7, & whether other Dell owners have gone through this.


Win 7 hasn't been released to the public yet, so no one with a Dell will be able to answer your questions. However, the fact that your system is new enough to qualify for the upgrade would lead me to believe that you still have Dell support. So as painful as it may be, perhaps you should call Dell support and ask them this question. Hopefully, they can provide an answer, and also hopefully, you can then relay that information back to this forum / thread.
August 17, 2009 8:41:30 AM

Zoron said:
No, you can only use Dell discs... not just anyone's. The Dell DVDs (like all OEM DVDs) are like volume license discs... they are in fact not tied to a specific product key. However, the product key on the case is tied to Dell... so a generic OEM disc won't work.


I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to say with this, but you can use any Vista retail backup disc to do a "clean install" using the product key on the Dell. I've done this for many customers. The product key determines the version that gets installed...But if you are trying to say he has to have a Dell restore disc this is just not true. If you know someone with a retail 64bit Visa disc have them burn you a copy from the disc image. If not just buy one off ebay. I have an old beatup burned copy of vista that I've used to reinstall Vista on literally 100s of computers for my customers...Most of them are from OEM guys, and I've yet to find a computer it doesn't work on.
a b $ Windows 7
August 17, 2009 3:03:45 PM

As far as I can tell, all vista 64 bit disks are exactly the same. They may be delivered in different packages and versions, but the dvd's themselves are exactly the same. From a manufacturing point of view, this makes a lot of sense.

It is the product key that identifies the license you bought. Ultimate/professional/home premium/basic. It also distinguishes among Retail/Update(which is also considered as retail)/ OEM.

If you clean install the disk without entering a product key, you get a fully functional ultimate product that is good for 30 days.
Using that OS, you can then use the same dvd and install it as an upgrade, entering the update product key that you bought.

It remains to be seen if windows-7 will still use this procedure.

But, with only 4gb on a basic web surfing machine, keeping the 32 bits OS is no real negative.
a b $ Windows 7
August 18, 2009 12:10:44 AM

It does work, however I had to call MS everytime to activate. I'd rather just have a Dell restore disc and not have to worry about it. Dell restore DVDs are NOT the same as generic OEM DVDs you buy in a store... trying to use a Dell restore disc on a non-Dell computer will provide you with proof of that.
a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 18, 2009 10:01:14 AM

geofelt said:
As I read the article, the vista disks are the same, but the windows-7 disks may not be.
Ah yes, you're quite right. I must have got some synapses crossed there... :pt1cable: 
a b $ Windows 7
August 18, 2009 11:58:55 AM

that would be awsome getting a clean retail or OEM version of vista that does not include all of the junk software dell puts on the PC's

if you really want to find out call the store where you purchased it or call dell.
August 18, 2009 3:47:26 PM

captaincharisma said:
that would be awsome getting a clean retail or OEM version of vista that does not include all of the junk software dell puts on the PC's

if you really want to find out call the store where you purchased it or call dell.


If you do a clean install using a retail vista disc, it will install only the OS and drivers, and the Dell Key will work. It will not work the other way around, though. You cannot use the Dell disc (or any other specific oem disc) on other systems.
August 18, 2009 3:52:02 PM

Zoron said:
It does work, however I had to call MS everytime to activate. I'd rather just have a Dell restore disc and not have to worry about it. Dell restore DVDs are NOT the same as generic OEM DVDs you buy in a store... trying to use a Dell restore disc on a non-Dell computer will provide you with proof of that.


I feel the opposite....I'd rather use a regular vista backup disc and get rid of all the junk that comes with the Dell disc.
a b $ Windows 7
August 19, 2009 1:58:53 PM

There is in fact no "junk" on the Dell OS DVDs... they are basically a clean version of the OS... which is why Dell provides you with so many discs out of the box. The restore disc just does the OS, all the other discs are for drivers and other software that shipped preinstalled. I've done enough Dell reinstalls to know (DCSE tech here).
August 20, 2009 2:55:03 AM

Zoron said:
There is in fact no "junk" on the Dell OS DVDs... they are basically a clean version of the OS... which is why Dell provides you with so many discs out of the box. The restore disc just does the OS, all the other discs are for drivers and other software that shipped preinstalled. I've done enough Dell reinstalls to know (DCSE tech here).

My bad...I never use the Dell disc when doing an install on their machines since most of my customers don't even have the disc, or the ones that do want to go to 64bit anyway. Of course, I'm an independent tech, so I usually advise people on getting a clean install. It has been a long time since I used any OEM disc...I thought they had pretty much stopped sending disc out with the computers and were doing partitions on the HDD instead.
a b $ Windows 7
August 20, 2009 3:13:03 AM

Yes, Dell does the same thing... but when a customer's hard drive dies... they need the set of discs in order to reinstall their OS and other software. Sometimes they will still ship media with the computer, but most of the time they don't... and I can't remember if there is an option to create the media yourself. I know they have software to recreate the diagnostics partition and the restore partition... but I'm not sure about creating restore media.
August 20, 2009 3:34:43 AM

I never understood the whole restore partition thing, like you said if you need it more than likely you can't get to it. It seems it would be easier for them and better for the customers to just send out a restore disc. The cost of the media and the time to do it can't be that much more than what they have in creating the partition. Not enough people are computer savy enough to create restore discs even if they can...but maybe that is part of the plan. Make people pay $50 or whatever for a restore disc to boost profits.
a b $ Windows 7
August 20, 2009 3:42:33 AM

I think that was the idea... they started with restore partitions in order to cut every penny they could from the cost of building the computers. Older Compaqs were really weird in that they had a partial restore CD that you would boot from, and it required the restore partition to be on the hard drive. A full restore set usually consisted of 2 CDs instead of one... so how much they actually saved by doing this I don't know. Mind you, while 50 cents doesn't sound like a lot, multiply that by 50 or 100 thousand computers and that 50 cents saved starts to add up.
August 20, 2009 7:49:08 AM

uhh... so just to clarify (sorry don't really get many of the long sentences of computer talk:)  ) can you upgrade 32 bit Vista to 64 bit Ultimate?
a b $ Windows 7
August 20, 2009 7:52:14 AM

No. There is no upgrade path from 32-bit to 64-bit. You must perform a clean install. You are eligible to use the upgrade disc, but you cannot do an in-place upgrade.
August 20, 2009 8:02:13 AM

so by clean install you mean i'l have to completely reinstall everything on my system(im not so much fussed about that, more if you actually can change from 32 bit to 64 bit), and if so will i have to buy a fresh copy of windows 7
a b $ Windows 7
August 20, 2009 8:08:38 AM

Yes, you will have to reinstall everything. You can upgrade 32-bit Vista to 64-bit Windows 7, but as I said it requires a clean install of the OS and all of your programs.
August 20, 2009 8:10:15 AM

oh, so the upgrades ok as long as i dont mind having to reinstall everything, okay thanks for the help:) 
September 10, 2009 1:19:07 PM

OK; so I have official Dell Vista 32 bit and 64 business editions.

Dell is sending me the 32 bit version of Windows 7.

Separately, I am buying the Microsoft retail upgade version of Windows 7, home edition.

As I understand it the retail disc includes both 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 7, and includes some kind of upgrade capability to higher levels of Windows 7.

So.....can I install Windows 7 64 bit from my new retail disk (which is the home version), and put in the code for Windows 7 32bit from Dell; and end up with a 64 bit version of Windows 7 business edition being installed??
September 10, 2009 5:33:00 PM

yes, the product code works for both 32 and 64, but in order to make that change you have to do a clean installation...Also, you can only upgrade to the windows 7 the license is for, each version requires a different license. There is a hack to make the disc themselves an all in one disc, but the version that installs will depend on the license you type in.
September 14, 2009 3:21:15 AM

I understand that a clean install is required.

Can you point me to information on making the disc into an "all in one disc"?

Thanks!
a b $ Windows 7
September 21, 2009 12:14:56 PM

originalsnuffy said:
I understand that a clean install is required.

Can you point me to information on making the disc into an "all in one disc"?

Thanks!



if you referring to adding other programs and updates to the windows disk there is a free program called nlite that will let you slipstream all updates and additional programs into a copy of windows
September 25, 2009 2:02:51 AM

can i use a windows 7 home premium 32 bit disk to upgrade vista home premium 64 bit?
a c 371 $ Windows 7
September 25, 2009 2:09:41 AM

clean install after format!!!!!!!!!!!
November 3, 2009 6:43:22 PM

Any company like Dell, that uses OEM does so so they can add all their bloat ware, in the end you wind up screwed with half baked upgrades and poor performance. My laptop had so much crap on it from monitoring my system performance to sending dell updates on changes. I'm not running a server, if my laptop crashes out ill do a clean install and load in all my backed up documents, thank you. I was shipped with an OEM 32bit vista. I too wanted 64bit (no go with dell). With 4 gigs of ram, my OS can only use 3.2 gigs of it, and my processor is optimized for 64bit. So I've already gone to Linux, and I'm using all my ram (32 or 64 bit linux uses all your ram and processing power), screw you Dell and your Microcrap.
November 17, 2009 7:46:24 PM

Zoron said:
It does work, however I had to call MS everytime to activate. I'd rather just have a Dell restore disc and not have to worry about it. Dell restore DVDs are NOT the same as generic OEM DVDs you buy in a store... trying to use a Dell restore disc on a non-Dell computer will provide you with proof of that.


If i Understand well, A dell WIn 7 DVD that came with a E4300 can be installed without any problem on e.g. a Dell D630
a c 371 $ Windows 7
November 17, 2009 7:52:08 PM

yes no problem!
November 17, 2009 8:27:34 PM

but what about the difference in slic? i installed win7 on a 4200 (who came with vista) and it activated perfectly while on the 630 i need to activate manually?
a c 215 $ Windows 7
February 23, 2010 10:31:21 PM

This topic has been closed by The_Prophecy
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