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

I plan to buy a Notebook that does come with an OEM version of Windows 7 Professional 32-Bit installed.

Is it possible to use this licence to install the 64-Bit version of Windows 7 Professional (assuming I can get a recovery DVD for the 64-Bit version from somewhere)?


2 Answers 2


Officially and technically from Microsoft - Yes.

From your OEM - Unknown - you will have to ask them.

When you buy an OEM edition of Windows, you are mainly buying the key and not the media.... I buy loads and very rarely ever touch the CD, I usually only stick the sticker on the case and then use my PXE server to install the OS, I then give the media to the client.

The licence says the edition e.g. Windows Vista Ultimate, but it does not say x86 or x64, and the licence is valid on both editions. As like all commodities, the x86 and x64 disks are bought and sold by distributors at different times according to stock levels which means sometimes there are big price differences, I asked Microsoft about this and was told I can just buy the cheapest and use which ever platform I need as long as it is the correct edition.

That being said, I am still only able to give my clients the original disk I bought - if they require a reinstall, I usually come out to them and do it from my own disks... I have no idea if large OEMs will even help you do this.

Again, technically and legally, you can... If the OEM will let you is up to them. This is assuming you are getting an OEM copy from a big company such as Dell, HP etc. If you are going to a small company such as mine who buys their OEM disks from distribution, you can just use any other standard OEM copy and use your key.

  • My Windows 7 says: Win HomePrem 7 32-bit ES 1pk (it’s in spanish). but it “clearly” says 32 bits. Not sure if I could use 64 bits. Nov 21, 2009 at 1:43
  • We are not talking about the same thing - I am talking about the actual licence sticker... It shouldn't say 1pk, 3pk (or if they still do it - 10pk) anywhere. The media contained IS just 32bit or 64 bit. Nov 21, 2009 at 2:49
  • In General OEM Licences are for a specific architecture. it's seldom that OEM licences can get used for both architecture, at least now in 2015. Only Retail Licences can definitely switch the architecture. Linking an officially supported forum post: answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/… Jul 14, 2015 at 9:41

Yes. But OEMs are likely not to provide you any additional support or resources to help you to do that. You will need to figure out ways to get Windows 7 setup discs. (If you know someone who bought a Dell PC that is shipped with Windows 7 or simply the retail copy of Windows 7) Bear in mind that the product key that is put on the COA cannot be used to activate your Windows if you buy your PC from large manufacturer such as HP and Dell. You will need a separate tool to backup the activation status. The tool can be downloaded at http://cid-7be8c4ce2107619b.office.live.com/browse.aspx/Public/Softwares/Activation%20Backup%20%5E0%20Restore Note that this IS NOT a hack tool of any kind. It only let you to activate Windows 7 on the machine that you or other person previously have activated it. It does not enable you to transfer the license.

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