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I have Windows 7 32 bit running on a 64-bit capable machine.

I would like to install Windows 8 Pro 64 bit (64 bit, to take advantage of support for more than 3Gb RAM).

Naturally, I'm looking for the cheapest way to do this and would therefore prefer to purchase an upgrade pack.

Prior research

I looked at the zdnet article about upgrading from 32 bit previous version of windows to 64 bit: But not sure if this is a policy statement about going from 32bit to 64bit or a technical one. From a technical point of view, I don't care about keeping my existing programs or files - I will back them up and re-install them. So assuming the Windows 8 installer just checks for the presence of an eligible older OS and then has an option to do a clean install of Windows 8 64 bit, then this should be possible.

I already know that that a clean-install of Windows 8 32 Pro is possible on a machine already running Windows 7 32 bit. Here, the Windows 8 install checks for the eligible OS and when passes, it offers 2 options for install: 1) in-place upgrade, keeping existing programs and files and 2) option to wipe/format the disk and install. For my required case of going from 32 bit to 64 bit,option 2 is what I would want.

Similar questions and answers I already looked at (but didn't answer my question - note how I worded my question title) :-

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Technical AFAIK… – Aug 4 '13 at 12:28
So it is does appear to be possible: see section "Upgrade from Windows XP/Vista/7 32-bit to Windows 8 64-bit" - happy to do that - it means buying the upgrade as the standard physical package - i.e. DVD-media and running a clean install - which is what I wanted. Thanks. – therobyouknow Aug 4 '13 at 12:48
+1 thanks – therobyouknow Aug 4 '13 at 19:36
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As linked in his comment above, Paul Thurrott did a very thorough investigation of this type of upgrade (quoted below):

Upgrade from Windows XP/Vista/7 32-bit to Windows 8 64-bit

Yes. [...] But you can't do it electronically. Instead, you will need to purchase the retail Windows 8 Pro Upgrade media, [...]. This package provides both 32-bit and 64-bit media, so you can choose which to use. (In case this isn’t obvious, you can’t actually do an in-place upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version fo Windows 8. Only clean installs (“Custom” install type) are supported.

A commenter posted a clever workaround if you have another computer running 64-bit Windows:

You could go to a computer running a 64 bit version of Windows. Download the Upgrade assistant and create a bootable copy of Windows 8 64 bit [from that computer].

Therefore, it is possible to "upgrade" from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows.

share|improve this answer
+1 thanks and accepted! – therobyouknow Aug 4 '13 at 19:36

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