Upgrade Windows 7/10/11 32 bit to 64 bit without Losing Data

In order to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit without losing data, you need to backup files to a safe place and then clean install Windows 7 64-bit sysem.


By Ivy Updated on March 4, 2024

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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 and you can safely upgrade it without losing any data if your computer is compatible with  64-bit operating system. 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?”

Windows 7 32 Bit To 64 Bit

However, in all versions or editions of Windows (XP/Vista/7/8/10, Home/Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise), there is no “Upgrade” option that can directly upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit. The only way is to clean install a 64-bit operating system.

As you may know, the clean install process will delete all the installed programs and personal data etc, leaving only a fresh version of Windows. That's what users don't want to see. To avoid data loss during the process, it's suggested to backup files to external hard drive in advance. There are five main steps involved in upgrading Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit:

💻 Step 1: Check compatibility

Open the Start menu. Search for System Information and press…Full steps

📃 Step 2: Backup files

Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard and click Backup > File  BackupFull steps

🍀 Step 3: Clean install

Open Windows 7 USB DVD download tool, click BrowseFull steps

🎯 Step 4: Activate Windows

Type slui.exe in the search box and hit Enter…Full steps

📑 Step 5: Restore files

Launch the free backup software again, click Restore and Select Image FilesFull steps

Step 1: Check the current hardware’s compatibility

Before you upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit, you need to check the hardware compatibility of your computer first. It can help you to know if you are able to upgrade.

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:

1. Open the Start menu.

2. Search for System Information and press Enter.

3. Look for System Type. 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.

System Type

Note: The system stype can also be displayed as follow. You just need to check if your computer supports 64 bit processor. If it is, you can perform Windows 7 32 bit upgrade to 64 bit.
• 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor
• 32-bit operating system, x64-based processor
• 32-bit operating system, x86-based processor

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). To make it, type coreinfo in the command line window and press Enter, then hit Ctrl + F and type PAE, NX, SSE2, CX16 one by one.

CPU Compatibility

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.

After checking these compatibility, you may already know if your computer is compatible with Windows 7 64-bit system. If it is, please continue to see below and learn how to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit without losing data. 

Step 2: Backup files to external hard drive to prevent data loss

Backing up files to an external hard drive is a necessary way to ensure you can perform Windows 7 32 bit upgrade to 64 bit without losing data. Well now you just need the best free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard for help. 

AOMEI Backupper
Free Windows Backup Software
  • File Backup: Easily backup any files/folders to an image file and save it to external hard drive, USB flash drive, network drive, cloud drive, NAS, etc.
  • Quick Restore: Restore files from backup after upgrading Windows 7 32 bit to Windows 7 64 bit, quickly and free.
  • Auto Backup: Support daily/weekly/monthly schedule backup to help you backup files regularly, continuously protecting data in Windows 7 64-bit.

Besides, as time goes by, you may have more and more backups, eventually resulting in backup disk full issue. In this case, you can use its incremental backup feature to backup only changed files, which greatly improves this issue. Please download this software to a have a try! Also, an external hard drive with enough disk space is required to store backup images. 

1. launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, and then you will see its deep-blue interface. Click Backup > File  Backup subsequently.

Backup Files

2. Click Add Folder or Add Files to select what you want to back up. Then, click the folder-shaped button to select the external hard drive as backup destination.  

Backup Files to External Hard Drive

3. Confirm this operation and click Start Backup to backup files to external hard drive in Windows 7. 

Step 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

To create Windows 7 installation media, you need to prepare the following three things first.
Windows 7 64 bit ISO image files. If you do not have it, you can download it from Microsoft Store.
A flash drive with 5GB at least. It's used to save your ISO image files. And you can take it everywhere, because it's very portable. 
Windows 7 USB DVD download tool. This tool is used to burn ISO image file to your USB flash drive. 

Then, let's get started to burn ISO image files to USB flash drive with this tool.

1. Open Windows 7 USB DVD download tool, click Browse to find your ISO image files, then click Next.

Select ISO

2. Choose USB as your media type.

Choose Media Type

3. Insert USB flash drive and select it, then click Begin copying. And this tool will format your USB flash drive first, then create a bootable USB device. Thus, you need to backup USB first if there is something important.

Choose USB Flash Drive

 Upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit step by 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.

2. Wait for Windows 7 installation files to load, then you will see the main interface. Set up the language and other preferences, and click Install Now in the next window.

Install Now

3. Accept the license terms and click Next.

4. Select Windows 7 installation type: Custom.


5. Click Drive Options and then Delete to delete system partition & other operating system related partition. After that, select the unallocated space and use it to install 64-bit Windows 7.

★ 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 partitions. You can use the existing system partition to clean install your Windows.
★ The previous Windows is stored on Windows.old folder on the current system partition, it gives you a chance to restore Windows from it and go back to previous status.

Step 4: Activate Windows 7 64 bit to reuse product key

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.

1. Type slui.exe in the search box and hit Enter.

2. Click Show me other ways to activate now in the Windows activation interface.

3. Click Use the automated phone system.

Windows 7 Activation Phone System

4. Select the nearest location and click Next.

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.

Step 5: Restore files from backup with AOMEI Backupper

Now, you may already upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit successfully, then want to get your files or folders back. Launch the free backup software again, click Restore and Select Image Files to locate backup image, then follow the on-screen instructions to finish all the rest of steps.

For detailed steps, you can refer to:  3 Ways to Restore Files from Windows 10/8/7 Backup

Select Folders Files

Does this work for upgrading 32 bit to 64 bit in Windows 10?

The answer is YES. Except for upgrading Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit without losing data, some users still want to upgrade Windows 10 32 bit to 64 bit. Actually, no matter what operating system you are currently using, you can only clean install a 64 bit version of Windows. The core factors are below:  

  • Check if your Windows 10 is compatible with 64 bit system. 
  • Backup files with AOMEI Backupper Standard. This software applies to all Windows systems, including Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista.
  • Create a bootable disk with Media Creation Tool and install Windows 10 bit just as in Windows 7. And you need to restore files you backup before. 
  • Activate the license key using phone if necessary. You can refers to official method provided by Microsoft. 

In sum, the steps are almost the same, except for the way to create installation media. If you are currently using Windows 10, follow the steps below:

1. Connect a USB drive with at least 8GB of available space.

2. Go to Microsoft's Windows 10 download page and download the Media Creation Tool by clicking the Download tool now button.

Download Tool Now Windows 10

3. Double-click the MediaCrationTool.exe file to open Windows 10 Setup window. Read the license terms and click Accept.

4. Tick Create installation media for another PC in the following window. Then click Next.

Create Installation Media

5. Select language and other preferences, and select your USB drive as prompted. Remember to click Next in each step. 

FAQs about Windows 7/10/11 32 bit to 64 bit upgrade

#1. Can I upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to Windows 10/11 64 bit without losing data?

Yes, if your PC meets the hardware requirement you can try the in-place update or the clean install to directly update to Win 10 or 11. 

#2. What happens if you install Windows 7 64-bit on 32-bit?

You can't install 64-bit Windows on a 32-bit computer. It won't install, and if you somehow cracked it to install it, it won't boot when the installation is complete. The operating system previously installed on the machine may have been a 32-bit version of the operating system, which is why you think the machine is 32-bit.

#3. How to change 32-bit to 64-bit in BIOS?

Usually, you can upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows without changing anything in the BIOS, except for the boot sequence, which is simply booted from the 64-bit Windows installation DVD/USB stick.

The way forward

Clean Install is the only way to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit. If you don't want to lose any data during the process, please backup files to an external hard drive with the best free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard.

Also, it is suggested to keep this software installed on your Windows 7 64 bit system. With its excellent features, you can always keep the latest backup versions as well as help to alleviate or completely resolve the backup disk space full issue due to accumulated backups.

The best way to free up disk space is to delete old backup images with its Backup Scheme feature. It is available on the professional version at least. To unlock it, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.