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Windows 7: In-place upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

1 Week Ago   #1
BlueBonnett

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
 
 
In-place upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit

Yeah, I know it's impossible but some of us have good reason to. So is there a guide on how to do the closest possible equivalent? In my case, I have a 32-bit Windows 7 that I wanna upgrade to 64-bit but move all my files, settings, user profile and everything that makes my current OS what it is.


The biggest problem currently is reinstalling programs which for whatever reason I cannot reinstall such as losing the activation key, losing the installer itself and so on. What can be done to transfer it? Obviously the first step might be copy-pasting the folder in Program Files to the Program Files (x86) on the new machine, its AppData folder. What else? Registry keys must also be copied but is it really that simple? How can one know in advance what exactly to copy?


Is there an official way to transfer the user profile and will it remember customized things like shell extensions, themes and so on?


What else am I looking at? I'm quite obsessive-compulsive so I don't mind spending hours doing what I need to do.


I was wondering if one should simply copy everything except the WINDOWS files to the 64-bit partition and then just have the registry (and other potential problems) to work thru one by one.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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1 Week Ago   #2
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

Install and run Belarc Advisor or Magical Jelly bean, and either these softwares will provide product key report as part of their software profiling.
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1 Week Ago   #3
Ranger4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1
 
 

BlueBonnett. Unfortunately you cannot switch over from 32 bit to 64 bit, it has to be a completely fresh install. It's a totally different Operating System. Yes can use saved personal files & data, but you will have to completely reinstall all your software programs & if you don't have their activation codes will mean having to probably purchase new ones, if they are still available.
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1 Week Ago   #4
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Your perceived need does not override reality.

The almost identical user interface of 32 bit and 64 bit operating systems hides the fact that internally they are VERY different. It is not just 32 bits difference. An in place upgrade from a 32 bit to a 64 bit OS has never been supported. For practical purposes it is impossible. As far as I know no one has ever done it successfully but I suppose many have failed.

I suppose it could be done if you were to devote enough time to it. But it would be far more than a few hours.



Be sure to make an image backup before you begin. You will need it.
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1 Week Ago   #5
townsbg

Windows 7 pro 64-bit sp 1
 
 

As stated Windows won't give you the option of upgrading to 64-bit. You don't need to transfer your entire profile. Just your documents, bookmarks, pics, vids, music, firefox or chrome profile, etc. Really most of the files in the profile outside of that is specific to your install. You will have to change a lot of registry entries to get it to work. If you really want to go to 64-bit you will need to get the license keys, your files, installers, etc. You will also need 64-bit drivers from the manufacturer. Your programs will have to be reinstalled. You can't copy the program files or program data folders and reuse them. Really IMO if you don't have (or plan on getting) 4+ gb of ram most people won't benefit from the conversion to 64-bit. Very few programs require it if any.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
1 Week Ago   #6
BlueBonnett

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
 
 

Guys, I already stated in my first sentence that I know full well what the reality is and that I'm merely seeking the closest possible alternative. I've been upgrade-installing for the past 15 years so you can imagine the level of customization (and baggage) I have as a result. I don't plan on losing it. However, I also know that it's merely a series of files and registry values and nothing is impossible if done right.


After the fresh install, I need an idea of what exactly to do to accomplish this. My main concern of course is to not damage the OS so the WINDOWS folder will be left completely alone. Yes, many programs put stuff in the WINDOWS folder and if that causes issues then reinstallation shall be the remedy.
This shall be done inside a VM first for experimentation, like I did when I was upgrade-installing my Windows XP to Windows 7 and accomplished it successfully.


As far as the registry, is it wishful thinking to hope that I can simply copy all values verbatim to the new system, run a registry cleaner and not expect problems? Or rather, can I simply copy the SOFTWARE hive and leave the rest alone?


Thanks for Belarc and Magical Jelly Bean but as expected they don't work for all software. The problem goes deeper. One game for example is a really old but tenaciously popular one which did not work as of Windows 7 without a reg fix patch so the colors don't look like an acid trip. Other obscure software I could barely get installed and had to specifically configure it in a way to do so and don't remember exactly how I did it.
There are one of many examples of why I can't simply reinstall everything.


I do have more than 4GB of RAM but it doesn't matter because I'm using PAE which allows me to use up to 64GB of RAM on a 32-bit system. The real problem is inevitability. I'm perfectly comfortable with my 32-bit system but it won't last me forever. I'm already having to jump thru hoops to find 32-bit drivers for my new 2017 computer and it will get worse in the future.
I don't need to upgrade to 64-bit right away but I need to start making plans. This is what I did a year before I joined this forum in 2014 to finally ditch my beloved XP box in favor of 7. It took a year of procrastination-ridden experiments in a VM before I made my current Win7 OS look exactly like my WinXP OS. It was worth it.
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1 Week Ago   #7
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BlueBonnett View Post
As far as the registry, is it wishful thinking to hope that I can simply copy all values verbatim to the new system, run a registry cleaner and not expect problems? Or rather, can I simply copy the SOFTWARE hive and leave the rest alone?

Yes, this is wishful thinking. Very much so. You have seriously underestimated the differences between a 32 and 64 bit OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
1 Week Ago   #8
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

In order to go from 32-bit Windows to 64-bit Windows, you will need to do a manual upgrade, not an in-place upgrade.

Here's what you need to do:

* Do a complete backup of your hard drive to an external drive, using a name-brand software such as Macrium Reflect Free.

* With pen and paper in hand, write down all information needed to get to where you are now in terms of Windows:
-- Make a list of all software that is installed, including all activation keys needed to get the software to work. Make sure you have all disks needed to do the reinstalls.
-- Make a list of all printers installed.
-- Make a list of all drive mappings.

* Do a screenshot of your main Windows screen, so that you will be able to see the icons currently there.

* Remove your hard drive, and install a new hard drive. This would be an excellent time to replace your hard drive with a new one, if you haven't done so in several years. Or get an SSD rather than a mechanical hard drive, to speed up your computer.

* Do a clean install of 64-bit Windows on the new hard drive. Get it activated and fully updated.

* Reinstall all software on your list.

* Reinstall all printers on your list.

* Remap all drives that are on your list.

* Install your old drive as the secondary drive. Copy all of your documents, pictures, etc. from the old drive to the new drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
1 Week Ago   #9
townsbg

Windows 7 pro 64-bit sp 1
 
 

How old is that software? If any of them are 16-bit you won't be able to run it on 7 64-bit. It sounds like you might want to convert your 7 install into a virtual machine using Virtual PC, Virtual Box, or VMWare and then you can do a do a clean install of 64-bit without having to worry about any of the issues of trying to do the conversion that you are talking about. What you are talking about is very complicated and probably won't work or you will end up with a system that is extremely unstable.

https://www.howtogeek.com/213145/how...rtual-machine/
How to convert Windows installations to virtual machine images - gHacks Tech News
My System SpecsSystem Spec
1 Week Ago   #10
BlueBonnett

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
Yes, this is wishful thinking. Very much so. You have seriously underestimated the differences between a 32 and 64 bit OS.

But it is the same OS. A registry value in a key pointing to an INF file for a specific app would be different in a 64-bit registry hive, how?

@townsbg They're all 32-bit. I already know about virtualization but I require this program to readily interact with the OS which would be annoying to sync with a VM.

@mrjimphelps
With due respect sir, everything you wrote is common sense. My OS is already on an SSD and I do have an empty spare for the new 64-bit clean install.



I guess I'll have to experiment with this on my own and note the progress (or lack thereof) in this thread.
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 In-place upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit




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