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

I'm getting a new PC soon and thinking that I'll start with Win 7/32 bit then upgrade later (if needed) to 64 bit and add RAM (beyond 4 GB).

Is this fairly easy to do?

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marked as duplicate by nhinkle Jun 28 '11 at 1:38

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

No.

X86/32-bit to X64/64 bit is not supported in any version of Windows through either upgrade or anytime upgrade.

Your only option would be to do a fresh install - however, if I was you, you should format the drive first to really get a fresh start.

You can however use Windows Easy Transfer which should make it easy to transfer your documents and reinstall your programs.

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Short answer to your title question: No.

More detailed answer as to what I believe to be the easiest way to migrate: This is fairly easy to do, but you need to do a clean install. That means you need to

  1. Backup your data and programs
  2. Insert the x64 disc and restart your computer
  3. Boot into the disc and install Windows
  4. Restore your data and reinstall programs

There are built-in tools for backing up your data and your program settings and there are third-party tools to reinstall all your programs. For example, Laplink PCMover will automatically reinstall your applications, but I don't know much about it (I only read about it in Ed Bott's Microsoft Report and I don't know any more about it). Note: I in know way endorse this software and I do not know if it will work for this purpose.

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As people have said there is no easy way to go from 32 to 64 bit windows without pain. Lots and lots of pain. Best to get over it to begin with than go through the upgrade pain twice with WinXP/Vista -> Win7 32 -> Win7 64.

To be honest unless you have some older software or hardware in your computer that you know is incompatable with 64-bit such as ancient Creative soundcards (which was my upgrade problem) then there is no reason not to go straight to 64-bit. 64-bit has been on the cards for a good few years now so most, if not all, manufacturers will have 64-bit drivers for hardware that needs it.

Chances are though if you go straight to 64-bit then you'll notice almost no difference to how you work, it'll just make the intended future RAM upgrades easier. All the 32-bit software should continue to work, generally the only time they will misbehave is when they try to bypass the new security models that were introduced by 64-bit processors and operating systems.

My computer is only just on the cusp of being 64-bit capable (one of the earlier AMD64 systems) and, apart from a soundcard that was almost 10 yeard old and marked as "obsolete" by the manufacturer, all of my hardware "just worked". Just after I chucked the card I saw a driver update for Windows 7 which may have made the replacement moot, but oh well.

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