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Windows 7: Installing 64 Bit over 32 Bit - Product Key and Hardware


18 Apr 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional 32 Bit
 
 
Installing 64 Bit over 32 Bit - Product Key and Hardware

I recently bought a refurbished pc with 32 Bit windows 7 professional on it. The computer has 4 GB of RAM but not all of it is useable with the 32 Bit version. I am thinking of re-installing with the 64 Bit version. I have the install disks that came with the pc with both versions. They said that I can use my same product key for either one. Here are my questions.

Is it worth it to install the 64 Bit version?

When I enter my product key, will Microsoft accept it even though I already used it to register my 32 bit version? The COA is specifically for refurbished pc's and is similar to an OEM license in that it can only be used on this machine.

I've heard that it can be harder to install the 64 Bit version because of older drivers. Is this true?

Thanks for your help!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Apr 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

"Worth it". Hmmm...

You probably won't notice the difference.

You should go to Microsoft.com and look for the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to confirm your hardware is 64-bit compatible.

If both of your discs were included in the same package with a single Product Key, that key should be good for either version, but ONLY ONE AT A TIME. If necessary, you may have to activate over the phone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

I know from experience that the retail version of Windows comes with a 32-bit DVD and a 64-bit one, and that the product key is good for both versions.

However, as ignatzatsonic rightly points out, you can only install and use one or the other at the same time, not both.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/w...sked-questions

As also suggested, do check first to see if all your hardware is capable of being used in a 64-bit environment, although I have to say, also from experience, that I haven't found a great deal of difference in performance between either version when using 4 GB of RAM.

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=20

It's not so much the age of a driver that gives cause for concern, it's whether 64-bit drivers have been written for it. Of course, it's also very true that older hardware is less likely to have 64-bit drivers, mainly because not so many people were using 64-bit systems because they just weren't available.

You may also have to reactivate, but this is easily and quickly done by a robo-call to Microsoft's activation server.

Do also be aware that as the license is good for one computer only, you won't be able to transfer it to another computer, in the same way as you can't transfer an OEM license.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Apr 2012   #4

Windows 7 Professional 32 Bit
 
 

Good insight. Thanks. I'm questioning whether it's worth it now, though. Doesn't really seem like it. My main concern was that some of my memory was just going to waste since the 32 bit system couldn't use it. I'm probably thinking of this the wrong way. If the difference isn't very noticeable, I may not bother.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by danxaz View Post
Good insight. Thanks. I'm questioning whether it's worth it now, though. Doesn't really seem like it. My main concern was that some of my memory was just going to waste since the 32 bit system couldn't use it. I'm probably thinking of this the wrong way. If the difference isn't very noticeable, I may not bother.
Some RAM is "wasted", but if you never use all of the 3.2 GB or whatever you can access now, the additional .8 GB would be completely pointless and unused literally.

Take a look at task manager when you are doing something heavy duty---you may see only 2 GB or so used--I rarely use over 3.

There are some other advantages to using 64-bit, but that is behind-the-scenes stuff that would matter little for most users.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2012   #6
Microsoft MVP

 

Type Resource Monitor into the Start Search box, click on result, then the Memory Tab to see a graph of how your memory is being apportioned. Chances are hardware is using what the OS doesn't.

I consider 4gb RAM the dividing line and would want to test 64 bit first - perhaps on a test partition shrunk from C to do a booted Clean Install Windows 7 with the 64 bit installer which we can provide.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by danxaz View Post
Good insight. Thanks. I'm questioning whether it's worth it now, though. Doesn't really seem like it. My main concern was that some of my memory was just going to waste since the 32 bit system couldn't use it. I'm probably thinking of this the wrong way. If the difference isn't very noticeable, I may not bother.
On balance, it's probably the right decision.

Where you would see a difference is with a new computer equipped with say, 8 GB Ram and a 64-bit CPU.

It won't hurt to have a look in Task Manager as suggested so that you can make a more informed decision.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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