Upgrade confusion - 32bit - 64bit

Hi, as the title suggests im in a little bit of confusion on whether i can upgrade my current 32bit version of Windows 7 to the 64bit version.
About a year ago i purchased the Windows 7 Home premium upgrade package to run on my Dell desktop that was running Vista home Premium at the time.
The upgrade package came with 2 discs and i chose to install the 32bit version as my Vista version said it was 32bit.
Now after some time and getting more familiar with my computer i have become aware that it is infact compatible with the 64bit OS software.
From what ive read and understand if this was installed it would improve my computers performance so the what i need to know is can i utilise the second disc that came with my upgrade package?


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
As Trouble mentions, you cannot "upgrade", meaning an in place upgrade, from a 32 bit to a 64 bit version, they are not compatible. You can do a clean install of the x64, which would wipe the old install.

The x64 version does allow the use of more memory and a couple of other advantages, but to me the biggest drawback is the x64 drivers are not as available as 32 bit. If you have older devices that might need drivers, you may want to check that prior to upgrading. For instance, I have an older HP scanner that does not have a x64 driver and will not work in that version of Win 7.


Noob Whisperer
I've had the same experience as Saltgrass has mentioned above. I have a HP ScanJet 5470c, scanner which hasn't had any driver updates that will allow me to use it on my Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit computer. However, if you happen to be using Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise or Ultimate you may find that you can overcome some of these issues with older hardware as well as software by downloading and installing Windows Virtual PC / XP Mode . This is a virtual software environment that allows you to run an XP virtual machine inside of Windows 7 even if you don't have the hardware to support Hardware based virtualization. Believe it or not my scanner still works fine in this virtual environment so I managed to save a couple bucks (don't have to purchase a new scanner) and the software is free from Microsoft and installs a licensed / activated XP Sp3, virtual machine in a matter of a few minutes. Unfortunately this is not available to folks running Windows Home Premium or below.

Don't forget your apps!!! I don't know how many people do the migration to x64 from x32, and then realize they need to reinstall all of their applications and have no clue where their software is. Also, make sure you do the Windows Easy Transfer to get all your data, and the report does a nice job of telling you what applications you need to install.

The nice thing is the old Windows/Program Files/etc. directories are all renamed .OLD so you can browse through them if you need to look.

One thing you didn't mention in your post is how much memory you have. If you are running with 3GB or less, I don't really see a benefit in going 64-bit, especially for the amount of work you need to do in order to migrate. If you are running 4GB or more, there is more of a benefit.

On the other hand, you did say you upgraded your Vista to Windows 7, so you would benefit from having a fresh install regardless if you go x32 or x64. Your computer will be noticably snappier (at least for the first week or so until all your added apps and add-ons start slowing it down again!)


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