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If I upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7 but have issues can I reinstall using 32-bit?

    Question

  • If I upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7 but have issues can I reinstall using 32-bit? And if so, would I have to reinstall Vista first or can I just do a 
    reinstall with the Windows 7 upgrade disc and just enter my Vista key during install? Also, just double checking....both the 32-bit and the
    64-bit versions will be on the same disc correct?

    Intel Pentium 4 @ 3Ghz, 2GB DDR Ram, Nvidia 7600GS - AGP type.
    Friday, July 03, 2009 2:16 AM

Answers

  • TheBigDInTX -

    You'd have to do a clean install. You can't mix 32 bit and 64 bit and expect to have a system that worked properly. If you were going to upgrade from Vista 32, you'd have to do a clean install anyhow - the 64 bit DVD will NOT even run the splash screen in a 32 bit version of Windows. The bottom line - you can only upgrade 32 bit to 32 bit OR 64 bit to 64 bit.

    Also, the Win 6.x installer used by both Vista and Win 7 NEVER asks for a product key or a previous version's CD. It validates the currently installed OS and then flags it as being eligible for an upgrade before rebooting and actually installing the OS.

    The 32 bit ISO for the RC was something like 2.6 GB and the 64 bit was somewhere around 3.5. As such, they both won't fit on one 4.7 GB DVD. And even if they did - how would you get it to boot correctly into 32 bit or 64 bit mode? So, the answer is no, there will be 2 DVDs included.

    • Marked as answer by Andy Song Thursday, July 23, 2009 6:22 AM
    Friday, July 03, 2009 3:26 AM
  • If I upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7 but have issues can I reinstall using 32-bit? And if so, would I have to reinstall Vista first or can I just do a 
    reinstall with the Windows 7 upgrade disc and just enter my Vista key during install? Also, just double checking....both the 32-bit and the
    64-bit versions will be on the same disc correct?

    Intel Pentium 4 @ 3Ghz, 2GB DDR Ram, Nvidia 7600GS - AGP type.

    The simple answers are:

    1) Yes, you can switch to the 32 bit version but you would need to do a clean install.
    2) No, you do not need to reinstall Vista, as long as your copy of the x64 version got activated. It it wasn't activated, in theory it might not see it as genuine and capable of "upgrade." That is just a thought on my part but since the whole system revolves around having a genuine version and genuine is partly established by activation, a non-activated copy could possibly be a complication.   
    3) No, it will not ask for your key. Upgrade is not based upon your old key, it is based upon the installer reading information in the existing installation that identifies it as genuine and capable of upgrade.
    4) It will be two separate disk. 

    Regardless of 2 and 3 though, the most important answer is switching from one to the other is possible. 

    Stephen
    • Marked as answer by Andy Song Thursday, July 23, 2009 6:23 AM
    Friday, July 03, 2009 5:00 AM

All replies

  • TheBigDInTX -

    You'd have to do a clean install. You can't mix 32 bit and 64 bit and expect to have a system that worked properly. If you were going to upgrade from Vista 32, you'd have to do a clean install anyhow - the 64 bit DVD will NOT even run the splash screen in a 32 bit version of Windows. The bottom line - you can only upgrade 32 bit to 32 bit OR 64 bit to 64 bit.

    Also, the Win 6.x installer used by both Vista and Win 7 NEVER asks for a product key or a previous version's CD. It validates the currently installed OS and then flags it as being eligible for an upgrade before rebooting and actually installing the OS.

    The 32 bit ISO for the RC was something like 2.6 GB and the 64 bit was somewhere around 3.5. As such, they both won't fit on one 4.7 GB DVD. And even if they did - how would you get it to boot correctly into 32 bit or 64 bit mode? So, the answer is no, there will be 2 DVDs included.

    • Marked as answer by Andy Song Thursday, July 23, 2009 6:22 AM
    Friday, July 03, 2009 3:26 AM

  • You'd have to do a clean install. You can't mix 32 bit and 64 bit... you can only upgrade 32 bit to 32 bit OR 64 bit to 64 bit.




    You're welcome to scorn and ridicule me Wolfie, but I think its  50/50  that you can/not upgrade from 32 to 64-bit.  See my comments here.


    Friday, July 03, 2009 4:07 AM
  • If I upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7 but have issues can I reinstall using 32-bit? And if so, would I have to reinstall Vista first or can I just do a 
    reinstall with the Windows 7 upgrade disc and just enter my Vista key during install? Also, just double checking....both the 32-bit and the
    64-bit versions will be on the same disc correct?

    Intel Pentium 4 @ 3Ghz, 2GB DDR Ram, Nvidia 7600GS - AGP type.

    The simple answers are:

    1) Yes, you can switch to the 32 bit version but you would need to do a clean install.
    2) No, you do not need to reinstall Vista, as long as your copy of the x64 version got activated. It it wasn't activated, in theory it might not see it as genuine and capable of "upgrade." That is just a thought on my part but since the whole system revolves around having a genuine version and genuine is partly established by activation, a non-activated copy could possibly be a complication.   
    3) No, it will not ask for your key. Upgrade is not based upon your old key, it is based upon the installer reading information in the existing installation that identifies it as genuine and capable of upgrade.
    4) It will be two separate disk. 

    Regardless of 2 and 3 though, the most important answer is switching from one to the other is possible. 

    Stephen
    • Marked as answer by Andy Song Thursday, July 23, 2009 6:23 AM
    Friday, July 03, 2009 5:00 AM

  • You'd have to do a clean install. You can't mix 32 bit and 64 bit... you can only upgrade 32 bit to 32 bit OR 64 bit to 64 bit.


    You're welcome to scorn and ridicule me Wolfie, but I think its  50/50  that you can/not upgrade from 32 to 64-bit.  See my comments here.



    egads -

    Just for grins and giggles, I took my Vista 64 bit DVD and popped it into my 32 bit Win XP box's DVD drive. I got a dialog box that said I couldn't run the 64 bit installer from there and that I should reboot from the DVD to install the software. I didn't even get the splash screen.

    Btw, please do us a favor and READ the OP's post. He wants to know if he can change from 64 bits to 32 bits if his 64 bit installation doesn't quite go as planned. My point was that he would have to do a CLEAN INSTALLATION of the 32 bit version and that would likely mean he would need a previously installed OS of the 32 bit flavor. Wasn't trying to scorn you at any rate.
    Friday, July 03, 2009 5:12 AM

  • Btw, please do us a favor and READ the OP's post.


    Yes, Wolfie, I did read the OP's post.   Did you?


    He said  "If I upgrade to 64-bit Windows 7 but have issues can I reinstall using 32-bit? And if so, would I have to reinstall Vista first..."   I take that to mean he plans to upgrade from 32-bit Vista.  Is there any other interpretation?  It seems Stephen thinks he can do that upgrade.  It seems you, Wolfie, think he cannot.

    Stephen seems to have some notion of upgrade that makes his response clear to himself.  I'd like to hear his thoughts plainly.



    Also Wolfie, did you read my comments here?


    PS - As you explain, I also described in another thread my lack of success upgrading Vista-32 to Win7-64bit-beta.

    Friday, July 03, 2009 5:44 AM
  • egads -

    It seems to me Stephen is also on the same page - he also says that going from 32 to 64 (or 64 to 32) requires a CLEAN INSTALL.

    And I quote him from the same thread:

    "It is really just about getting past old ideas of what upgrade means.  Upgrade means the license, not the files on the disk.  A conventional upgrade is possible with 32 bit to 32 bit or 64 bit to 64 bit, but so is a clean install.  Shifting to or from 32 bit or 64 bit can be done with the disks but must be a clean install...."

    The question is can you use an upgrade license. The answer, in this case would be to use a method of installing Win Vista/7 that's on the fringe of a license violation or can be used to violate the spirit of the EULA. Google for a "Clean Install using Vista Upgrade"...
    Friday, July 03, 2009 7:10 AM
  • egads -

    It seems to me Stephen is also on the same page - he also says that going from 32 to 64 (or 64 to 32) requires a CLEAN INSTALL.

    And I quote him from the same thread:

    "It is really just about getting past old ideas of what upgrade means.  Upgrade means the license, not the files on the disk.  A conventional upgrade is possible with 32 bit to 32 bit or 64 bit to 64 bit, but so is a clean install.  Shifting to or from 32 bit or 64 bit can be done with the disks but must be a clean install...."

    The question is can you use an upgrade license. The answer, in this case would be to use a method of installing Win Vista/7 that's on the fringe of a license violation or can be used to violate the spirit of the EULA. Google for a "Clean Install using Vista Upgrade"...



    Actually, Wolfie, that's the straightest answer I've seen yet.

    Friday, July 03, 2009 7:15 AM
  • egads -

    If you've done your homework and googled (or Binged) the above, you can probably see why that topic is probably not acceptable fodder for this forum.

    At any rate.. Where there's a will, there's a way. I'm sure the powers that be are aware of the technique - after all, they programmed it into the installer in the first place.
    Friday, July 03, 2009 10:36 AM
  • egads -

    Er.. Trying to stir up trouble..?   ;-)
    Friday, July 03, 2009 10:51 AM
  • egads -

    Ok.. Point taken.. Tho, I do believe most people out there who have enough experience or at least think they have enough to do an upgrade and are cognizant enough to know the difference between 32 and 64 bits likely has the sense to execute that same search right about the time they insert the 64 bit DVD into their old 32 bit OS and it tells 'em they can't get there from here. And they'll likely find the same articles on how it's done. I don't mean the soccer mom who got sold a copy of Win 7 at Best Buy and was told that she should install the 64 bit version - I mean those who are a bit more advanced than that. The soccer mom would likely call in her favorite computer geek to help her out.
    Friday, July 03, 2009 11:25 AM
  • Thank you all for your responses and the discussion, however, i still remain confused as to the answers to my questions.  I basically have two questions:

    (1) I am currently running Vista Home Premium 32-bit on a CPU apparently capable of 64-bit, and the laptop has 3GB of RAM.  I was hoping to buy the upgrade, and was wanting to upgrade from my 32-bit version of Vista to the 64-bit version of Windows 7.  Apparently, from the responses, I will not be able to get the splash screen to do that upgrade when I put the Windows 7 64-bit upgrade disc in.  Is that correct?

    (2) If I was able to get the 64-bit Windows 7 upgrade installed, had driver availibility issues, and wanted to go to the 32-bit Windows 7 instead, would I have to go back to my Vista installation and do another upgrade installation (this time to the 32-bit version).  Or, would I be able to put in the Windows 7 32-bit upgrade disc and just do a clean install from the windows 7 64-bit to the windows 7 32-bit?

    Intel Pentium 4 @ 3Ghz, 2GB DDR Ram, Nvidia 7600GS - AGP type.
    Friday, July 03, 2009 2:09 PM
  • You may get a response from someone at Microsoft who knows, but I wouldn't count on it.

    I was able to clean install Vista X64 with an upgrade license using the X86 (32 bit) Vista version as a qualifying OS. I presume that 7 will be the same. If memory serves, in switching from X86 to X64 using an upgrade disk, you launch it from the old 32 bit OS. The 64 bit installer won't run under a 32 bit OS, so the machine reboots to run from the DVD. (That's different from how an upgrade works if you're going from one 32 bit OS to another.) Win7 may be different than Vista in that for Vista there were separate install DVDs for the X86 and X64 versions; I'm not sure whether they are on the same disk for 7.

    This doesn't show that you'd be able to go the other way (from X64 to X86). Seems to me like it should be physically possible, as it would be permissible under license.

    I've seen a post from someone claiming to be a Microsoft employee that stated that the 7 upgrade can be installed on a blank hard drive using installation media and a license key from an older version of Windows to qualify. If that's true, reverting to the X86 version should be relatively painless (if you have retained your Vista install disk and key).

    Does your laptop have Vista X64 drivers available? I've had good luck using Vista X64 drivers on my *desktop* under a variety of Win7 builds (including 7000 and 7100). My laptop is running Win7 X86, and the 32 bit Vista drivers have worked well for me there. My point is that if Vista drivers are available, you may not need to wait for Win7 ones, and that you may not want to revert to X86.

    That said, are you justified in going to X64? The strongest reason for doing that is if you want to install more than 4GB of RAM in the machine. (Compulsive people want X64 with 4GB, as X86 versions won't make all of 4GB available.) The main thing that you lose with X64 is the ability to install old 16 bit software. (Some 32 bit software apparently won't install on Win7 X64 because the 32 bit code uses a 16 bit *installer*.) There are other arguments in both directions, but those appear (to me) to be the most significant ones.

    Friday, July 03, 2009 4:32 PM
  • Btw, please do us a favor and READ the OP's post. He wants to know if he can change from 64 bits to 32 bits if his 64 bit installation doesn't quite go as planned. My point was that he would have to do a CLEAN INSTALLATION of the 32 bit version and that would likely mean he would need a previously installed OS of the 32 bit flavor. Wasn't trying to scorn you at any rate.

    I don't quite know why I am going to enter this one more time, but I will (at least) resume ignoring the person who needs to get their meds checked as soon as this posts.  This is partially directed at the quote above as a point of clarification, but is also a general comment  on yet another thread thats beeen allowed to get out of control.  

    Working from the assumption that Vista and Windows 7 upgrade principles are the same, which is reasonable given everything in print on that front for Windows 7 is almost entirely chapter and verse Vista, the following should be possible.  It is also NOT based upon some vague idea of what might be possible but instead upon practical real world experience doing such with Vista.  If they end up changing something in Windows 7 licensing then it might not be the case, but (again) really not too likely on that front given everthing that is out there for people to read if they would bother to take the time (instead of just spouting off all sorts of blather). 

    Last year (on my old laptop) I swapped the 32 bit Version of Home Premium first to the 64 bit version of Vista Ultimate upgrade , and then back to the 32 bit version of Vista Ultimate upgrade (due to a lack of a couple essential drivers), all using the Vista Ultimate Upgrade disk set.  Going to the 64 bit version of Vista Ultimate required (logically) a clean install.  Going to the 32 bit version again (logically) required a clean install but did not require the previous OS to be reinstalled first.  The reason is simple - the Vista Ultimate "upgrade" DVDs, like the Windows 7 upgrade DVDs are full bits installers that only check to see that a genuine (translation: activated) version of an "upgradeable" OS is present.  Going from 64 bit to 32 bit is a legitimate path since the EULA clearly states that (if you have both 32 bit and 64 bit upgrade DVDs) you can install either one or the other but not both.  Since, the 64 bit version will no longer be installed after you install the 32 bit version (leaving time warps and worm holes out of the equation), you are not violating the licensing. BTW, the version of Home Premium on the machine wasn't even the orginal OS - it was an XP machine bought just after Vista came out, for which Vista upgrade disks were provided.  

    Now for a second example.  I am in the process of reinstalling Vista on a Windows 7 test laptop that I will be giving to a friend (don't want to give someone a machine with an OS that will expire next year).   Since the process doesn't require much attention, I decided to re-run a version of my experience from last year with the added twist of involving a downgrade of Windows 7 using a set of Vista upgrade disks.  Specifically, I reinstalled Vista on the 32 bit Windows 7 machine using one of my two sets of Vista Ultimate Upgrade disks, instead of going back to the original Home Premium installation.  There was no problem installing both the 64 bit version of Vista Ultimate and then the 32 bit version of Vista Ultimate over that - no need to go back to the original OS.  It was just a matter of doing clean installs all around. 

    One final comment before I drop out of this silly discussion (really more a repeat but with emphasis added). The installers on the upgrade disks, whether they be Vista or Windows 7 are set up to do two things: 1) verify that the copy is genuine, and 2) verify that the version of the OS is one that can be "upgraded."    If those things cannot be verified, the installer WILL NOT install the OS; if they can, it will install. There is no mystery about this and no need to drag anyone's paranoid delusional complexes about Microsoft into the equation.   You can do a straight-up clean install swap of 32 bit to 64 bit Vista (and vice versa) using a set of Vista upgrade disks.  Those disks, like the soon to be Windows 7 disks, are full bits disk sets with an installer to verify the information noted above.  It is highly unlikely that the situation will be any different with Windows 7.  Can anyone say that as an absolute - no, Windows 7 is not yet out.  Nevertheless. as it currently exists with Vista, the system allows Microsoft to move along its effort to get people over to the 64 bit OS while also keeping them from getting sued if there are problems on a particular machine that impact the ability to run the 64 bit version.   

    To the OP, as long as nothing changes in Microsoft policy between now and October, my original note should address your concerns:

    1) Yes, you can switch to the 32 bit version but you would need to do a clean install.
    2) No, you do not need to reinstall Vista, as long as your copy of the x64 version got activated. It it wasn't activated, in theory it might not see it as genuine and capable of "upgrade." That is just a thought on my part but since the whole system revolves around having a genuine version and genuine is partly established by activation, a non-activated copy could possibly be a complication.   
    3) No, it will not ask for your key. Upgrade is not based upon your old key, it is based upon the installer reading information in the existing installation that identifies it as genuine and capable of upgrade.
    4) It will be two separate disks. 

    I hope this is of some assistance.  On that note though, I will resume ignoring the posts of a particular individual who seems to have nothing better to do with their life but to agitate.  That is made even more rediculous by the fact that they seem to like to agitate about things that they do not understand (and are unwilling to even try to understand).   Enough already....

    Stephen
    Friday, July 03, 2009 6:51 PM

  • Stephen, your wall-of-text post is peppered with assumptions and ifs.

    You make reference to EULAs without providing quotation.  Shall I take your word as gospel?

    Your experience does not mention OEM factory installed Windows.  Do you know for a fact it can be upgraded (#2 in your post) ?  It seems that even today with Microsoft's new computer upgrade program, you cannot change the OEM 32/64-bit platform without performing a grey-market trick.  I politely point-blank asked you to clarify your assertions in my comments here, but thus far you have weaseled out of any direct response.  That is why you have chosen to respond here instead.  The final statement of your post above is just a cowardly avoidance, nothing else but.




    If this is all so easy, then why doesn't Microsoft just post the rules in simple terms on their web sites?  Like:  THE CHOICE IS YOURS - 32 or 64 BIT


    Friday, July 03, 2009 7:21 PM
  • Thank you all for your responses and the discussion, however, i still remain confused as to the answers to my questions.  I basically have two questions:

    (1) I am currently running Vista Home Premium 32-bit on a CPU apparently capable of 64-bit, and the laptop has 3GB of RAM.  I was hoping to buy the upgrade, and was wanting to upgrade from my 32-bit version of Vista to the 64-bit version of Windows 7.  Apparently, from the responses, I will not be able to get the splash screen to do that upgrade when I put the Windows 7 64-bit upgrade disc in.  Is that correct?

    (2) If I was able to get the 64-bit Windows 7 upgrade installed, had driver availibility issues, and wanted to go to the 32-bit Windows 7 instead, would I have to go back to my Vista installation and do another upgrade installation (this time to the 32-bit version).  Or, would I be able to put in the Windows 7 32-bit upgrade disc and just do a clean install from the windows 7 64-bit to the windows 7 32-bit?

    Intel Pentium 4 @ 3Ghz, 2GB DDR Ram, Nvidia 7600GS - AGP type.

    thebigdintx -

    Ok.. Let's see if this clears things up:

    1.) That would be correct. You can't get DIRECTLY from point A (32 bit) to point B (64 bit). But you can get there, it just takes a completely clean installation. There IS a technique, and it can be very easily found. Run the search detailed above.

    2.) Ideally, if you were interested in upholding the letter of the EULA, then yes, you'd need to reinstall Vista before installing Win 7 32 bit. But as far as installing the 32 bit goes on top of the 64 bit goes - I somehow doubt Microsoft would let the 32 bit version run from the 64 bit OS. I can't, at the moment test and confirm that 100%. But it would make sense that Microsoft would block the 32 bit DVD from running from within the 64 bit flavor. You could, in theory, use the same technique to get from 32 to 64 bits to get back to 32 bits should it not work out.

    Bing and Google are your friends...
    Friday, July 03, 2009 8:32 PM