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, so that you can upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit without losing data. The premise is that the current computer is compatible with 64-bit operating system. The entire process is below.
Step 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:
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.
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.
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 your computer to protect data and system
Before upgrading Windows 7 32-bit, you still need to make a system image backup for your computer. A trust and reliable backup and restore software makes thing simple, here I strongly recommend you using AOMEI Backupper Standard to backup system and then restore system backup when needed. Also, it allows you to restore files from backup in the event of disaster.
And you still can use it to schedule backup system after upgrading, the process is automatic. You just need to set backup settings for it, such as, daily/weekly/monthly plus full/incremental/differential backup. It can be the last resort to save your computer when it's unbootable. To unlock all the useful features, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional.
In the first of place, click the download button below to install AOMEI Backupper Standard on your computer. Also, you need to prepare an external hard drive or USB drive to store backup image, which greatly reduces the data loss due to computer failure, suchas, system crash, disk failure.
1. launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, then you will see its deep-blue interface. Click Backup > System Backup subsequently to start the system backup process.
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.
• 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.
• It's suggested to create a bootable media, either USB or CD/DVD, so you can restore your computer when it's unbootable.
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
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.
2. Choose USB as your 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 bootable USB device. Thus, you need to backup USB first if there is something important.
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 preference, and click Install Now in the next window.
3. Accept the license terms and click Next.
4. Select Windows 7 installation type: Custom.
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.
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.
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 system backup image with AOMEI Backupper
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. Detailed steps are below.
1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, then click Tools and Explore Image.
2. Select the system backup image you created before and click Next.
3. Select a backup point in the following list and click Next.
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.
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.
The way forward
Clean Install is the best way to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit. However, during the process, it will delete everything on the system partition, including the installed programs and personal data. Thus, it's necessary to create a system image backup with free backup software - AOMEI Backupper. Also, you can choose to backup entire disk or specific files or folders per your needs.
In addition, it's suggested to keep this software installed on your computer to protect data and system continuously by its powerful feature, such as, schedule backup at daily/weekly/monthly, automatically backup from or to detected USB drive with USB plug in, backup changes with incremental/differential backup, delete old backup with backup scheme, universal restore etc. Some of mentioned features are only availble on the AOMEI Backupper Professional or advanced version.