“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 ? ”
Can you upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit?
The benefits of using a 64-bit operating system are most apparent when you have a large amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer, typically 4 GB of RAM or more. However, the maximum RAM limit for Windows 7 32-bit is 4GB. It's no surprise that you want to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 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. Thus, here comes a question: can you upgrade Windows 7 32 bit?
As long as you make sure your computer can be compatible with 64-bit operating system, you can upgrade your Windows 7 32 bit. To upgrade to Windows 7 64 bit, the best way is to clean install 64 bit operating system. During the process, you can choose to remove the existing operating system and replace it with a new 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.
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
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 AOMEI Backupper. With it, you can backup system, disk, partition, and files. Also, you can restore your backup when needed.
Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper, install and launch it.
Step 2. Click System Backup under the Backup tab.
Step 3. AOMEI Backupper will automatically choose your operating system and boot files. 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 for backup.
Part 3: Upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit free (Clean Install)
To ensure Windows 7 42 bit can be upgraded to 64 bit, you need an installation media. You can use a flash drive with 5GB at least. Then, it can assist you in cleaning install 64-bit operating system.
Create Windows 7 installation media
To create Windows 7 installation media, you need to prepare the following three things first.
1. Windows 7 64 bit ISO image files. If you do not have it, you can download it from Microsoft Store.
2. Storage device. It's used to save your ISO image files. For a storage device, I prefer USB flash drive. It's very portable to carry.
3. Windows 7 USB DVD download tool. This tool is used to burn ISO image file to your USB flash drive.
Then, you can burn your ISO image files to USB flash drive.
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 make a backup first if there is something important.
How to upgrade Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit using USB?
Step 1. Plug in your USB flash drive
Step 2. Set boot priority to USB flash drive via BIOS, then restart your computer and press any key to boot from USB flash drive.
Step 3. Wait for Windows 7 installation files to load
Step 4. Click Install now after you set up language and other preference.
Step 5. Accept the license terms and click Next.
Step 6. Select Windows 7 installation type: Custom
Step 7. Click Drive Options.
Step 8. Delete system partition and other operating system related partition, then select the unallocated space to install your Windows.
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.
Step 9. Wait for the final result.
Now, you can upgrade your Windows 7 32 bit successfully. If you want to upgrade Windows 8/10 32 bit to 64 bit, follow the steps above.
How to restore your files with backup image?
If there is data loss, you can restore backup image. However, you cannot restore the entire system image backup, which will download your computer to 32 bit. AOMEI Backupper overcome this problem and offers you a feature called Explore Image. It allows you to explore backup image to a virtual partition. Then, you can copy any files on the system image backup and paste it into your computer.
Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper
Step 2. Click Tools and Explore Image
Step 3. Select a backup image and click Next
Step 4. Select a backup point and click Next
Step 5. Select the drive letter for the backup image you want to explore and click Next. Then, you can see several virtual partitions on your computer. These partitions contain all the contents of your backup image.
Step 6. Navigate to Computer, then copy the files from Virtual partition F: and G: and paste it into a safe place.
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, you need to backup your computer with AOMEI Backupper. It’s a great choice. It offers you various data protection solution, including System Backup, Disk Backup, File Backup. Aside from that, it's still a disk cloning software. You can use it to clone system, disk and partition.
If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network.