I just ordered a laptop, and it came with Vista Home Premium 32-bit. I want Vista Home Premium 64-bit on it. I'm planning a reinstall. Does anyone know if my product key for Vista 32-bit will also work for Vista 64-bit for an OEM copy? As far as I know, I just need to get the 64-bit media. Is this correct? Thanks.


The laptop is a Dell XPS M1330, and its hardware is supported. Dell would even sell it with 64-bit. However, it was significantly more expensive for lower specs, and I couldn't get it in red.

  • as Nicholas H just noted in the comment to my answer, you can't mix OEM and retail keys. You can mix 32/64 OEM and 32/64 Retail. Good clarification. – Jeff Atwood Mar 19 '09 at 2:24

Does anyone know if my product key for Vista 32 will also work for Vista 64 for an OEM copy?

Yes, the same product keys work for both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Vista. Not sure why there's so much misinformation about this on the 'net. I know because I've done it!

As far as I know, I just need to get the 64 bit media.


  • I did the same thing with my laptop. I only had to get the media and use the product key. – Rismo Sep 26 '08 at 19:26
  • Quoting a Microsoft Answers Support Engineer: "Unfortunately your 32 bit OEM key will not work with a retail copy of Windows Vista 64 bit." – alpha Feb 12 '09 at 13:13
  • alpha; an OEM key != retail key. That's your problem. Not 32bit/64bitness. – Nicholas Mar 19 '09 at 1:41
  • I think the keys work, but you are breaking you contract with Microsoft if you use an OEM key to change between 64 bit and 32 bit. – stevehipwell Apr 14 '09 at 13:27
  • @Stevo3000: Which part of the contract? The OEM License only states that you may not use it more than once: "Alternative Versions. The software may include more than one version, such as 32-bit and 64-bit. You may use only one version at one time.". – Michael Stum Sep 23 '09 at 10:59

According to the Microsoft Site, you can "upgrade" your 32 bit version to 64 for free, minus the shipping cost of a 64bit version on DVD. I'm not 100% sure how it works, but I believe they'll re-register your key to be legit for 64bit Vista.

I've been looking to do the same for my Inspiron 1721. If you go this route, let me know how it works.

  • Thanks for this. I got 32bit Ultimate free for attending Heroes Happen Here, and now I'm gonna see if I can update it to 64bit. – Joel Coehoorn Sep 23 '08 at 21:45
  • @Joel: HHH keys won't work in their upgrade page. – Tom Kidd Sep 25 '08 at 21:31
  • Thanks. I have done this on one computer, but it was with a retail copy of Windows Home Premium. This is an OEM copy, and I don't think that MS sends out additional media for OEM copies. – Lance Fisher Oct 24 '08 at 17:39

One slight twist to the 32/64-bit thing:

If your key code is for Vista with SP1 built-in, you have to use a disc with SP1 built-in, or activate after SP1 has been applied. Apparently the key code mechanism was updated with SP1.

This is probably where the misinformation comes from - if you had a 32-bit disc from a promotional event with SP1 built-in but you tried to use the key with a non-SP1 64-bit disc, it would not accept your key and/or would not activate. You would have to use a 64-bit disc with SP1 installed, or install without a key and then apply the key and do the activation after SP1 has been applied.

Also I think Vista Ultimate and maybe Business are the only ones with both 32-bit and 64-bit discs in the box - the other versions just have the one disc for the version listed on the box.


I used a 64-bit DVD I had, entered my OEM product key, and Windows activated with no problem.


According to the information on my OEM disk, the key is only valid for 32 bit systems.


I suggest that you read over your EULA.

You should also consider if the laptops hardware will support 64bit Vista...


Firstly, the Microsoft site referred too only supplies 64Bit media to those who bought the retail product, not the OEM installed version.

If you want to go 64Bit, you will need to buy a new license, and the cheapest way (that I have found) is to buy an OEM 64Bit disk like these on www.dabs.ie (.co.uk, .com) and either use the key that comes with it or the key that came with your system.

If it doesn't activate immediately, ring the Microsoft activation number - it won;t kill you! Simply explain that you are reinstalling with 64bit Vista.

NOTE 1: If you wish to reuse the key which came with your system, you must install the same version (business, home, home premium) which came with your system.

NOTE 2: Windows Vista Ultimate has both 32Bit and 64Bit on the install DVD aparently


  • Boxed Windows Vista Ultimate has two DVDs. One 32-bit, one 64-bit. I know this because it's sitting next to me while I upgrade my desktop PC to Vista x64 (it needed a reinstall anyway). – Roger Lipscombe Oct 15 '08 at 13:09

If you live in the U.S. Contact Chris M. on the Dell Forums give him your service id and he'll send you the 64bit media free.

If outside the U.S. here is his instructions:

"To get the 64bit Vista DVD, your warranty with us must still be active. I can only setup orders for customers in the Americas. For customers in Euro or Asia Pacific, you must contact Dell Support for your country and tell them to look up

DSN Document ID: 158098 (Operating System Changes and Operating System Swaps - Dell Global Policy).

Once you load this 64bit Vista operating system, Dell will not assist in any operating system, software, or driver issues. We will only assist in hardware failures. If you want support for operating system, software, or driver issues, you must remove the 64bit Vista and reload the 32bit Vista." Dell-Chris_M.


Upgrading from a 32-bit version to a 64-bit version

You cannot perform an upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows Vista to a 64-bit version of Windows Vista. You must use a full copy of Windows Vista to perform a clean installation of a 64-bit version. For instructions on how to perform a clean installation, see Installing and reinstalling Windows. For more information about installing and upgrading 64-bit versions of Windows, go to Installation choices for Windows Vista (64-bit) online.

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