Can you upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit?
It's no surprise that many users want to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit. The benefits of using a 64-bit operating system are most apparent in performance when you have a large amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer, typically 4 GB of RAM, up to 16 TB. However, the maximum RAM limit for Windows 7 32-bit is 4GB. Here is an example from Microsoft.
“I'm running windows 7 32 bit but I want to upgrade to 64 bit. And I want to keep all my data and software safe. Can I upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit without losing data? Will this cost me anything or is my product key still valid for windows 7 64 bit?”
However, in all version or edition of Windows (XP/Vista/7/8/10, Home/Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise), there is no “Upgrade” option that can directly upgrade to 64 bit. Therefore, you could consider using clean install to install 64 bit operating system and then restore files you will use in the near future. The premise is that the current computer is compatible with 64-bit operating system.
How to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to Windows 7 64 bit?
To complete the entire process of upgrading Windows 7 Pro or other editions from 32 bit to 64 bit, you need to check the current hardware’s compatibility and make sure you can upgrade to 64 bit operating system, backup your computer to avoid data loss, then clean install the new operating system. In addition, you still need to activate Windows 7 64 bit by phone.
Part 1: Check the current hardware’s compatibility
Check system type of your computer
To make sure you can successfully clean install Windows 7 64 bit, the first thing is to check the system type of your computer. If the system type is x64-based PC, you can upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to Windows 7 64 bit. If the system is x84-based PC, you cannot upgrade your Windows.
To check system type:
Step 1. Open the Start menu.
Step 2. Search for System Information and press Enter.
Step 3. Look for System Type.
Verify CPU and driver compatibility
To further determine that you can upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit without format, you need to verify CPU compatibility and driver compatibility.
To check CPU compatibility, you can download Coreinfo from Microsoft, then see if the processor include Physical Address Extension (PAE), No-eXecute (NX), Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 (SSE2), CMPXCHG16b (CX16). The detailed steps are to open the command line, type coreinfo and press Enter, hit Ctrl + F and type PAE, NX, SSE2, CX16 one by one.
To check driver (eg: graphics and sound cards) compatibility, you can go to device manufacturer support website and see if you can find 64-bit versions of the drivers.
Part 2: Backup your computer to protect data and system
After checking the compatibility of your computer, you need to backup your computer. Only in this way, you can upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to Windows 64 bit without data loss.
To backup your system, I recommend you free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. With it, you can backup system, disk, partition, and files according to your needs, and then restore system backup or ther backups when needed.
Here take system backup as an example to show you the entire process. By doing so, you can prevent system crash due human error, and have a chance to to restore files from backup in the event of disaster.
Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper Standard, install and launch it, then you will see its deep-blue interface. Click Backup > System Backup subsequently to start the backup process.
Step 2. AOMEI Backupper will automatically choose the operating system and boot-realted partition(s) required to start Windows. Here, you only need to select a destination path for your backup. Then, click Start Backup.
Note: For destination path, you can backup to external hard drive, USB drive, cloud drive, NAS, etc. In a simple word, as long as the device can be detected by your computer, you can use it as the destination path.
Part 3: Upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit free (Clean Install)
To ensure Windows 7 32 bit can be upgraded to 64 bit, you need an installation media for assistance. Therefore, please create an installation media for Windows first, and then clean install 64-bit operating system with given steps.
Create Windows 7 installation media
Then, let's get started to burn ISO image files to USB flash drive with this tool.
Step 1. Open Windows 7 USB DVD download tool, click Browse to find your ISO image files, then click Next.
Step 2. Choose USB as your media type.
Step 3. Insert USB flash drive and select it, then click Begin copying. And this tool will format your USB flash drive first, then create bootable USB device. Thus, you need to backup USB first if there is something important.
Step by step guide: upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit using USB
Step 1. Plug in your USB flash drive and set boot priority to this drive in BIOS, then restart your computer and press any key to boot from it.
Step 2. Wait for Windows 7 installation files to load, then you will see the main interface. Set up the language and other preference, and click Install Now in the next window.
Step 3. Accept the license terms and click Next.
Step 4. Select Windows 7 installation type: Custom.
Step 5. Click Drive Options and delete system partition & other operating system related partition. After that, select the unallocated space to install 64-bit Windows 7 and wait for the final result.
If the system partition is big enough to install Windows 7 64 bit, you do not need to delete system partition and other operating system related partition. You can use the existing system partition to clean install your Windows. At last, you will find a folder called Windows.old. It's used to save your previous Windows and gives you a chance to restore system and program from it.
Part 4: Activate Windows 7 64 bit by phone
It's said, if the product key was already activated in Windows 7 32-bit, you need to activate the 64 bit versions of Windows 7 by phone. Below are the steps for it.
Step 1. Type slui.exe in the search box and hit Enter.
Step 2. Click Show me other ways to activate now in the Windows activation interface.
Step 3. Click Use the automated phone system.
Step 4. Select the nearest location and click Next.
Step 5. Get the confirmation ID by the given phone number, and then enter the installation ID and confirmation ID. After that, click Next to start the activation process.
Note: That's the entire process to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit. These steps are also applicable to upgrade Windows 10 32 bit to 64 bit and upgrade Windows 8 32 bit to 64 bit.
How to restore files from system backup image?
If you can successfully boot from the fresh version 64-bit Windows 7, then you can get your data back by restoring files from backup. Please don't restore the entire system image backup, otherwise your computer will download your computer to 32 bit.
Here you can use "Explore Image" in AOMEI Backupper Standard to selective restore files. It allows you to explore the backup image to one or more virtual partitions in the Windows file explorer, then you can copy any files on the system image backup and paste it into the 64-bit computer. See detailed steps below to explore and restore files.
Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, then click Tools and Explore Image.
Step 2. Select the system backup image you created before and click Next.
Step 3. Select a backup point in the following list and click Next.
Step 4. Select drive letter for virtual partitions and click Next. Then, it will create 3 virtual partitions containing everything in the system backup in My Computer with assigned drive letter. Just open these partitions to select files you want copy and paste.
The way forward
Clean Install is the best way to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit. However, there is a risk of data loss. To avoid data loss and system crash, you need to backup your computer with AOMEI Backupper Standard. In addition, it still supports multiple backup solutions and backup options, so you can use it to backup disk/partition/file, create schedule backup at daily/weekly/monthly, automatically backup from or to detected USB drive, backup changes with incremental/differential backup, etc.
Please note that some of the mentioned features are charged. If happen to have this need, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional at least. If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. Don't hesitate and download this software to have a try right now.