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Windows 7: Going from 32-bit Win7 to 64-bit Win7

28 Feb 2020   #1
ToughDiamond

Win 7 Pro 32-bit
 
 
Going from 32-bit Win7 to 64-bit Win7

I've been thinking about going from Win7 Pro to Win 10 Pro, which according to the notice on this forum can still be done for free, and while I was at it I thought I'd best get the 64-bit version (which apparently my hardware is capable of supporting) rather than sticking with 32-bit which I suspect a lot of websites and services will be forsaking fairly soon. However:

I'm happy with Win7 and the only thing I want from the change is to keep my computer future-proof (for Web browsing and hopefully the occasional new program), and the idea struck me that simply going over from 32-bit Win7 to 64-bit Win7 might get me most of what I want without having the chore of defeating the spyware and other horrible things that Win10 is reported to be full of. My browser is Firefox, which is updateable via their so-called "ESR channel for 32-bit," which sounds like some kind of temporary concession, so I'm hoping that if I had the 64-bit version of Win7 that I'd be able to update Firefox "properly" just like I could if I had Win10 64-bit. It strikes me that as far as the Web is concerned, the only thing that matters is that the browser is up to date, and that whether it was 7 or 10 wouldn't really matter, though I don't know for sure.

So, does that seem like a sensible way to go, or is my plan seriously flawed? I'm aware that there might be issues with not having all the necessary 64-bit drivers, but if so then that would mess things up whichever OS it was. I'm pretty sure I've got a .iso for 62-bit Win7 somewhere, so would that be all I needed? And would I have to buy a new license (my OS is OEM), or could I do this for free? I presume an unactivated version wouldn't be useful for very long.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Feb 2020   #2
samuria

win 8 32 bit
 
 

To go from 32 to 64 bit you need a clean install you cna update any other way. So it a bit of a pain but you would need to update 7 to ten then download the free ISO and do a clean install of 10.
How much ram have you got the main reason to got 64 bit is you can use more than 3 gig ram
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2020   #3
ToughDiamond

Win 7 Pro 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by samuria View Post
To go from 32 to 64 bit you need a clean install you cna update any other way. So it a bit of a pain but you would need to update 7 to ten then download the free ISO and do a clean install of 10.
Thanks, do you mean to get from 7 (32 bit) to 7 (64 bit) I'd need to install 10 (32 bit?) first? I'm OK about doing that, just wondering. And if so, would I have to do an actual upgrade from 7 to 10, or would I clean install 10 as per the Ten Forums tutorial? Sorry, I'm just a bit confused about the exact steps I'd need to take.

Quote:
How much ram have you got the main reason to got 64 bit is you can use more than 3 gig ram
8 gigs.......I'd forgotten about that but it's a good point, presumably I'd finally be able to use it all . Currently my system says it can only use 2.5 gigs of it. Beats me why the makers gave me so much without giving me an OS that could use it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Feb 2020   #4
Bree

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ToughDiamond View Post
Thanks, do you mean to get from 7 (32 bit) to 7 (64 bit) I'd need to install 10 (32 bit?) first? I'm OK about doing that, just wondering. And if so, would I have to do an actual upgrade from 7 to 10, or would I clean install 10 as per the Ten Forums tutorial? Sorry, I'm just a bit confused about the exact steps I'd need to take.
It doesn't matter whether you want to end up with 64-bit W7 or 64-bit W10. You cannot upgrade any version of Windows from 32 to 64 bits, you always have to do a clean install.

So if you want to end up with 64-bit W10 and you are starting from 32-bit W7, then the simplest path is to upgrade 32-bit W7 to 32-bit W10 in order to get a W10 digital licence linked to the hardware ID of the PC.

After that you can clean install 64-bit W10 and when asked for a key click 'I don't have one'. Install the same edition as you got in the upgrade (Home or Pro) and it will activate automatically from the existing digital licence.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2020   #5
Bree

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ToughDiamond View Post
8 gigs.......I'd forgotten about that but it's a good point, presumably I'd finally be able to use it all .
Yes, a 64-bit OS will be able to use it all.

Quote:
Currently my system says it can only use 2.5 gigs of it. Beats me why the makers gave me so much without giving me an OS that could use it.
A 32-bit OS has a total addressable space of 4GB (that's 2 to the power 32). Some of that address space has to be reserved for addressing the video RAM, leaving the rest (2.5GB in your case) available for use by the OS.


Did you get this PC new, or was it second hand? I've bought a s/h laptop that was supplied with 8GB RAM and 64-bit W8 by the OEM, but it had been re-imaged with a corporate 32-bit W7 image by the original business purchaser.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2020   #6
ToughDiamond

Win 7 Pro 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bree View Post
Did you get this PC new, or was it second hand? I've bought a s/h laptop that was supplied with 8GB RAM and 64-bit W8 by the OEM, but it had been re-imaged with a corporate 32-bit W7 image by the original business purchaser.
It was indeed second hand, so that might well explain it. Makes a lot more sense than the manufacturer quietly and generously providing folks with a way to go to 64-bit and thus avoid buying another computer. The second hand dealer pointed to the 8 gigs of RAM but left it up to me to find out that the OS was only 32-bit.

Thanks for your advice about the path to 64-bit, I'll take a good look at that presently. I'm more than happy to do a clean install, in fact I'd prefer to do nothing but clean install(s), having read a number of horror stories about the mess that upgrading from 7 to 10 can create.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2020   #7
Bree

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ToughDiamond View Post
Thanks for your advice about the path to 64-bit, I'll take a good look at that presently. I'm more than happy to do a clean install, in fact I'd prefer to do nothing but clean install(s), having read a number of horror stories about the mess that upgrading from 7 to 10 can create.
I'd be more concerned with the mess that the currently installed W7 may be in, if it was a corporate image it may have all sorts of customisations or unwanted software (such as AVs). I've never had any issues upgrading from an OEM W7 to W10.

One possible complication. As this W7 Pro seems to have been installed by the previous (probably business) owners, then that may not be what the OEM originally supplied it with.

Does it have a W7 Pro CoA sticker? If not, it may have been supplied by the OEM with W8 or later pre-installed and an OEM key will be embedded in the BIOS. It may not be a key for Pro, it may just be a Home key. If so, a clean install will pick up that key from the bios and use it to install W10 Home.

You can check for an OEM embedded key with ShowKeyPlus: ShowKeyPlus - Windows 10 Forums

If there is an embedded OEM key for 8/8.1/10 Pro then you can do a clean install straight away. If there is an embedded key for Home, then you must upgrade your W7 Pro to W10 Pro first, it's the only way to get this PC a digital licence for W10 Pro.

After it says W10 Pro is activated with a digital licence, then you can do a clean install. A Home key in the bios will mean that 10 Home is automatically installed and activated, but the existing digital licence for W10 Pro means that you can then upgrade that W10 Home to W10 Pro just by changing the installed key to the generic W10 Pro key ending in -3V66T.

Generic Product Keys to Install Windows 10 Editions | Tutorials
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Feb 2020   #8
ToughDiamond

Win 7 Pro 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bree View Post
I'd be more concerned with the mess that the currently installed W7 may be in, if it was a corporate image it may have all sorts of customisations or unwanted software (such as AVs). I've never had any issues upgrading from an OEM W7 to W10.
Does Microsoft still provide the upgrading service, now that support is over? By the way, soon after buying the machine I restored it to factory settings, which was a Hewlett-Packard thing (i.e. the maker) - wouldn't that be immune from any monkey business by the second-hand dealer?

Quote:
One possible complication. As this W7 Pro seems to have been installed by the previous (probably business) owners, then that may not be what the OEM originally supplied it with.

Does it have a W7 Pro CoA sticker? If not, it may have been supplied by the OEM with W8 or later pre-installed and an OEM key will be embedded in the BIOS. It may not be a key for Pro, it may just be a Home key. If so, a clean install will pick up that key from the bios and use it to install W10 Home.

You can check for an OEM embedded key with ShowKeyPlus: ShowKeyPlus - Windows 10 Forums
Yes it has a CoA sticker, and mercifully it says "Windows 7 Pro OA" on it, which I guess tells us that the maker sold it with W7 Pro. Don't know what the "OA" bit means, hopefully it's not bad news. And ShowKey Plus tells me the "installed key" ends in -6P6GT, if that's any help in figuring out my path to 64-bit 7. As for what the history of this machine is, I'm baffled. It looks like it's always been Win 7 Pro, but whether it was always 32 bit or the second-hand dealer reloaded it and changed it from 64 to 32, I don't know.

I'm also interested not only in the "how to" of my proposed move from 32-bit 7 to 64-bit 7, but also in whether or not it's a good idea in the first place to do so, with regard to my plan's effectiveness as a future-proofing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Feb 2020   #9
Bree

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ToughDiamond View Post
Does Microsoft still provide the upgrading service, now that support is over?
Yes. An activated W7 will still get a digital licence for W10 when upgraded.

Quote:
By the way, soon after buying the machine I restored it to factory settings, which was a Hewlett-Packard thing (i.e. the maker) - wouldn't that be immune from any monkey business by the second-hand dealer?
Good. Yes, that's now a clean OEM install.

Quote:
Yes it has a CoA sticker, and mercifully it says "Windows 7 Pro OA" on it, which I guess tells us that the maker sold it with W7 Pro. Don't know what the "OA" bit means....
OA stands for OEM Activated. This means that the OEM installed W7 self-activates if it finds an SLP marker in the bios,

Quote:
And ShowKey Plus tells me the "installed key" ends in -6P6GT, if that's any help in figuring out my path to 64-bit 7. As for what the history of this machine is, I'm baffled. It looks like it's always been Win 7 Pro, but whether it was always 32 bit or the second-hand dealer reloaded it and changed it from 64 to 32, I don't know.
That is the generic HP key for OEM activation of their pre-installed W7 Pro. As you did a factory reset then the OEM factory image supplied with this machine was 32-bit. That OEM SLP key was in the factory image and required a matching SLP marker in the bios in order to self-activate. You obviously have the SLP marker (and that should be confirmed by ShowKeyPlus).

See this post for more about that:

Quote:
THE ABOVE ARE LOADED ON THE COMPUTER AT THE FACTORY
and are used on every HP W7 PRO...
The COA (sticker) code is unique to every computer. -- basically a spare key
Win 7 "Installed Key" Identical on all PCs

Quote:
I'm also interested not only in the "how to" of my proposed move from 32-bit 7 to 64-bit 7, but also in whether or not it's a good idea in the first place to do so, with regard to my plan's effectiveness as a future-proofing.
The security risks should be the same for 32 or 64 bit W7. An upgrade to W10 (32 or 64 bit) would have the latest security patches and continuing support.

Whether you upgrade to W10 or stay with W7, 64-bit would let you use all your RAM. In order to clean install 64-bit W7 Pro that will self-activate you'd need a 64-bit HP W7 Pro install disk. Using a standard MS W7 Pro disk would require you to use the CoA key to activate it on-line.

If you upgraded the existing 32-bit W7 Pro to 32-bit W10 then no key would be needed to clean install 64-bit W10 Pro, the digital licence it would have got in the upgrade is valid for both 32 and 64 bit clean installs.

Once you have upgraded to 32-bit W10 or clean installed either 64-bit W7 or W10 then the factory reset image is no longer applicable as it's a 32-bit image. So before you do anything it would be a good idea to make a system image of all the partitions as they stand now.

It may also possible to make 32-bit W7 Pro HP factory reset media from your existing HP reset partition. See:
HP PCs - Creating Recovery Discs or Saving a Recovery Image to a USB Flash Drive (Windows 7) | HP(R) Customer Support
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Feb 2020   #10
Marie SWE

2xWin8.1, 1xWin7HomeX64, 2xWin7Prox64, 1xWin2008R2server. 1xXP Pro, 1xWin 2k, 1x98SE,3.11 LinuxLMDE3
 
 

ToughDiamond
I read your first post and I got the feeling that you want to keep win7 but that you want to switch to win7 64bit version. Is that correct or would you rather upgrade to win10 64bit?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Going from 32-bit Win7 to 64-bit Win7




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