Can You Upgrade from 32 bit to 64 bit versions of Widows

I have Vista Home Premium 32 bit, now my computer is capable of running 64 bit as well.

My laptop has Vista Home Premium 64 bit and it has a free Windows 7 upgrade which I haven’t got yet.

Anyway I happened to be at a computer store Micro Center and the sales people were telling me you can upgrade from a 32bit version of Windows to 64bit versions.

Now I didn’t think that is possible and from what I found by Googling around I see this is so.

But I just wanted to make sure.

For example in my case if I wanted to put a 64bit version of Windows, I thought I’d have to make a dual partiton and leave the 32bit version of Windows (it came with the computer) on it and then just do a clean install of the 64bit windows and then boot to the 64 bit version.

In otherwords, I thought you couldn’t upgrade from 32bit to 64bit but rather you’d have to have two versions of windows on your computer and just have a dual boot.

Is this right?

You would have to dual boot to have both versions.

32 vs. 64 bit cannot be done as a rollup upgrade, you have to wipe the partition and install clean to go from 32 to 64 bit.

Only if you get a young widow version. Older ones probably have a lower bit rate because of age (which could be a good thing if you use oral, err, text to speech applications). But if you can find one with the decent denture firmware upgrade, you should be fine, although I’d be concerned all the drivers might not function properly with the latest hardware.

You are correct; you will have to do a complete reinstall. I’d get rid of Vista anyway. Windows 7 is what Vista should have been, and - so far - is proving itself a worthy successor to Windows XP.

What they probably meant was that a computer with 32-bit Windows can have 64-bit Windows installed on it (provided it supports 64-bit) without the need to buy new hardware. What they did not explain was that you cannot do an in-place upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit, i.e. you will need to do a fresh install of the new 64-bit OS.

You have two options:

  1. Backup all data to an external drive. Format your hard drive, thus wiping out the 32-bit OS (and all data on the drive) entirely. Then do a fresh install of the 64-bit version. You do not have to dual boot if all you want is the 64-bit version. Just make sure to run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor first, if you choose to go this route. A Windows 7 64-bit upgrade license will work even if there is no previous OS detected on the drive at the time of installation. This is only true for the 64-bit upgrade license.

  2. Create a new partition and install the 64-bit version on the new partition, thus keeping the 32-bit version intact and dual-booting to either version. Note that the 64-bit installer takes care of presenting the dual-boot option displaying both 32-bit and 64-bis OSes at boot time.


Unless you’re short of space on the HDD, this is not necessary. Using your OS installation disk, boot to a command prompt.

Rename c:\Documents and Settings (or c:\Users)
Rename c:\Windows\win.*
Rename c:\Program Files
Rename c:\Windows

Reboot, and now you can do a clean install, but if it all goes wrong, you have your data intact and you can revert easily.