I have a laptop running Windows 10 32-bit which I got last year as part of Microsoft Windows 10's free upgrade plan.

In Settings -> Updates and Security -> Activation it says that my Windows is activated using digital license linked to my Windows Microsoft account.

Is there a way to switch from 32-bit to 64-bit version without buying a new Windows 10 license?

  • As I understand it the same 'key' for windows 10 works for both 32bit and 64 bit versions. I am not aware of any restriction from Microsoft on how you got this key (as long as it was a legal upgrade). – Hennes Oct 14 '16 at 12:26
  • @Hennes I've upgraded from Windows 7 using the free upgrade to Windows 10, so it was a legal upgrade. – Ido Naveh Oct 14 '16 at 12:27
  • I suspect it will 'auto activate' on the same hardware. It did for me (win7 x64 to win10 x64 free upgraded followed by a clean reinstall to get rid of all the stuff which collected during my win7 times). Somehow it seems to register your hardware ID with MS and use that to determine that it is allowed. – Hennes Oct 14 '16 at 12:32

You’ll need to perform a clean install to get to the 64-bit version of Windows 10 from the 32-bit one. There’s no upgrade path.

Download the Windows 10 media creation tool from Microsoft. Since you’re using the 32-bit version of Windows 10 at the moment, you’ll have to download and run the 32-bit tool.

Be sure to back up your files, since we are now doing a clean install

Next, reboot your computer and boot from the installation media. Install Windows 10, untill you see the “Which type of installation do you want?” screen. Select the “Custom” option to ensure you’re performing a clean install and not an upgrade install. When you’re asked to insert a product key, skip the process and continue. You’ll have to skip two of these prompts in total. After you reach the desktop, Windows 10 will automatically check in with Microsoft and activate itself. You’ll now be running the 64-bit edition of Windows on your PC.

When you install and activate Windows 10 on a system for the first time, the installer confirms that you have a “genuine Windows” system installed and registers your hardware with Microsoft’s servers. After that, you shouldn’t have to enter that key again on the same PC–Microsoft will recognize your hardware the next time you install Windows 10 on that machine, confirm it’s registered, and automatically activate itself.

if you want to go back to the 32-bit version of Windows, you’ll need to download the media creation tool — the 64-bit one, if you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows 10 — and use it to create 32-bit installation media. Boot from that installation media and reinstall the 32-bit version over the 64-bit version.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.