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When reinstalling Windows 7 or Vista, does the language, version, architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) or source (OEM, retail, or MSDN) matter?

I have a Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit NFR Installation DVD, but I want to install the 64 bit version. Is it possible to use the key that I've received for the 32 bit Windows 7 Ultimate version to install the 64 bit version? (e.g. using the Windows 7 ultimate RTM ISO download available from various sources)

NOTE: Someone that has installed the 32 bit version and then tried a fresh install using a Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit ISO has stated that the 32 bit key does not work - which I find odd)

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marked as duplicate by nhinkle Jun 28 '11 at 1:42

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

NFR? Not For Release, or does it stand for something else? – Powerlord Sep 28 '09 at 17:48
If you're not downloading the ISO direct from Microsoft then you want to be very careful with it. Microsoft apps and ISOs downloaded from "less than legitimate sources" have been infected with trojans etc in the past, you want to make totally sure that yours is clean before you use it. – GAThrawn Sep 28 '09 at 17:54
NFR = Not for Retail. – belgariontheking Oct 9 '09 at 13:10
I'm sure no one's reading this particular post anymore, but I also got a promotional NFR copy of W7 Ultimate w/ both 32 and 64 bit versions, but just one product key. Every time I tried to the install 64 bit version it would not recognize the product key. I just got a new computer and tried to install it again, and it failed. Then, just for the heck of it, I gave it one more shot. Worked like a charm, and I'm now running 64 bit. So, no explanation, but of some interest given this particular discussion. – user76931 Apr 17 '11 at 1:09

Yes, you can use the same key. Product keys are SKU dependent. They are not architecture dependent.

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Really? I got 2 different keys for 32 and 64 bit flavors. – alex Sep 28 '09 at 18:03
My Vista Ultimate package also had separate keys for 32-bit and 64-bit installs. I also received both 32-bit and 64-bit installation discs. – rob Sep 28 '09 at 22:56

Yes, Whilst the media is different, the key licences you to use either as long as it is within the same context... OEM for OEM, Upgrade for Upgrade e.t.c.

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I don't know Microsoft's official position, but at the Server 2008 launch last year they gave out a 32-bit and a 64-bit version. They included 2 keys: 1 for a virtual install, the other for physical. That must mean both keys are valid with both versions.

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I've also seen VLK's get rejected on OEM CD's and vice versa on XP (used to work for school district and we kept confusing CD's).

I guess that means your product key is licensed for Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit NFR as well, but it would be hard to obtain if it even exists, since NFR isn't intended for public distribution. (But hey that doesn't stop some folks, right?)

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Yes, in theory it will work. However, I have had issues in the past doing this. I installed Ultimate 64-bit and it would not activate using my key (which only came with 32-bit, and was a special promotional key)

At the very worst you'll need to call Microsoft and they'll sort it out for you.

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NRF = Not For Resale

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Thanks Yoda! ;-) – ThatGraemeGuy Oct 12 '09 at 15:22

When I got my Windows 7 party pack, It had both 64-bit and 32-bit install disks. There was a note inside explaining that the same key could be used for either version. However, I could only install it once. IE not once for 64 and once for 32.

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protected by studiohack Apr 17 '11 at 1:12

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