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I was upgrading the hardware in a family member's computer and purchased the Windows 8 upgrade for $40 from their website. Not thinking, after I installed it I realized I now have 32bit Windows on this 64bit capable machine. Did some research and it appears that the upgrade assistant just gives you whatever architecture you were uprgading from (windows 7 32bit).

Question is, what is my best option here? I have already purchased a key, will this work on x64?

I'm considering installing Windows 8 Preview x64 and upgrading from there, but not sure if that will work or if it will make me purchase it again.

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Key will work for 32 or 64 –  Moab Nov 22 '12 at 21:23
    
any idea if i can use it for the preview? Then upgrade to Windows 8 Pro with it? –  parkviewK Nov 22 '12 at 21:27

2 Answers 2

You can upgrade Windows 7 to 8 in-place, as long as the bitness remains the same - 32 or 64. If switching from 32 bit to 64 bit or vise versa, a full clean install is required.

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All I have is windows 7 32 bit though? Can I install the Windows 8 Preview x64 then upgrade? –  parkviewK Nov 22 '12 at 21:29
    
@ChrisF - This is false. If you have the upgrade media for the x64 installation you can install over a 32-bit installation of Windows 7. –  Ramhound Nov 22 '12 at 21:33
    
@Ramhound - Oh. Fair enough. I'll remove my comment then. –  ChrisF Nov 22 '12 at 21:34

Since you have upgrade key, you have to have previous version of Windows installed and activated when you start installing Windows 8. Otherwise Windows 8 will not activate.

To install Windows 8 Pro (upgrade), customers must be running:

  • Windows XP SP3,
  • Windows Vista,
  • Windows 7,
  • Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or
  • Windows 8 Release Preview.

In your case you will need to:

  1. Install your 32 bit version of Windows 7 with the old key. (It would be a clean install).
  2. Activate it.
  3. Start installation of Windows 8 booting from DVD or USB.
  4. Choose clean install. (It would not give you Upgrade option.)
  5. You can even wipe out the partition where Windows 7 was installed. After you entered the Windows 8 key, it will validate that you have a previous version of Windows installed. At this point you can reformat the drive.

I would recommend installing 64 bit OS only if you have 4 GB of RAM or more.


You cannot perform upgrade installation if you current version is 32 bit and you install 64 version, or vice versa.

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I would probably recommend that unless you have a very good reason that you should install the 64 bit version. No point in reinstalling the entire OS if you decided to upgrade your memory anyway. Sure, using 64 bit, some programs may use more memory than their 32 bit counterparts, but with x86-64 you not only get access to more memory, but more registers in the CPU, more SSE registers and additional SSE instructions. –  Kibbee Nov 23 '12 at 13:25
    
@Kibbee The common trend now is to switch to 64 bit. And I saw 64 bit was installed on computers with only 2 GB of memory. It's not a lot of memory, and I'd stay with 32 bit version in this case. Otherwise I'm really for using 64 bit OS, more and more software has 64 bit versions. –  Alexey Ivanov Nov 23 '12 at 13:36

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