We had the first of our 'Ask the Expert' sessions this morning (you can still register for the others, here!) and there were a load of great questions - some even had us stumped!
One of the questions that we were asked was around upgrading from Windows XP to Windows Vista Business, but on different architecture, so from x86 (32-bit) to x64 (64-bit). Initially, I thought this couldn't be done, and would require a clean wipe, and a reinstall with the full Vista version rather than the upgrade version. I was a little bit wrong...
This KB Article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932795/en-us details the ways you can upgrade from x86 to x64, in a number of different scenarios. In response to the actual question, to go from x86 XP to x64 Vista Business, you need to do the following, but before this, there are a few pre-requisites:
You need to have purchased the Windows Vista Upgrade (Or Full version) - in this case, we'll be using Vista Business 32-bit Upgrade. You will then have to access the 64-bit version (unless you are running Ultimate, as this ships in the box) from here.
After you get hold of the editions, x86 and x64, follow these steps:
OK, so that was pretty straightforward - if you want any further info on 32-bit upgrades on their own, you can read this KB Article here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932616/en-us
Thanks Matt! I appreciate you taking the time to help clarify my understanding.
I have a laptop that came with Vista Ultimate 32 bit installed from OEM. It did not come with the media to install 64 bit. Is there a way to get this? If not, what are my upgrade paths.
If it came with OEM Vista Ultimate, you'd have to contact the OEM who built the laptop, i.e. Sony, Lenovo etc. They should be able to send you the 64-bit media, but I will ask, what is your need for x64? Do you have apps that are x64? If not, you won't see a real benefit by moving to x64, and any apps that are installed on your 32-bit version will have to be completely reinstalled. If you laptop has 4GB RAM, and you're worrying that the 32-bit OS won't see the full 4GB, if it's a newer laptop, it should have the Santa Rosa chipset, which will enable the full 4GB to be seen and utilised by the 32-bit OS. My Dell D630 for example, is currently running a 32-bit version, and sees the full 4GB.
Hope that helps,
I purchased a custom PC from a large computer shop here in town and they sold me the bloody machine with vista home premium OEM even thou I have 4 gig system memory and 2 gig vidoe memory on the 4870 X2, is the computer shop responsible for provideing me with x64 media?
In all honesty, I wouldn't worry about having 32-bit if you have a pretty new machine - the chipset in your new custom PC should allow Windows to see the full 4GB RAM, and utilise it for whatever it needs. If you have a 2GB graphics card, the graphical stuff will be offloaded to that, so the 4GB system memory will be used for regular Windows stuff etc. If you can't see the full 4GB RAM in 32-bit Windows, then it may be worth going back to the shop and seeing what they say. Have you got specific x64 applications? If not, you may find that going to x64 actually reduces your performance - however if you have specific x64 apps, then you would obviously see benefit. Also, if you plan to go to higher than 4GB RAM, then you would also need the x64 installation to see it all.
Alternatively, Windows 7 beta should be available to test very soon, so you could pick a copy of that up when it ships and test the x64 version of that. You drivers for Vista should work fine.
Am I the only one that thinks requiring $10 to ship a DVD to get a modern kernel for Vista is insulting? I know this is predictable MS behavior, but treating the 64-bit kernel as a sorta-but-not-really upgrade is backwards thinking and a joke.
Besides the already discussed removal of the memory limit, other advantages to running an x64 kernel are double the general purpose registers (16, up from 8) and SSE registers (again, 16 from 8.) This alone (depending on the application) can increase performance 20%. Applications can also default to SSE2 math as all x64 CPUs have SSE2. The system call interface is also more efficient which effects every call an app makes to the OS. All these things add up to a noticeable ~10-20% raw increase in performance.
There are other improvements made when AMD designed the AMD64 architecture that get rid of old brain dead ways of doing kernel stuff that makes things easier on a kernel developer, leading to less bugs, and remove the need to support arcane features of the venerable x86 ISA.
My point is I think MS makes an artificial distinction between a 64-bit and 32-bit kernel. The way I see it is 64-bit should *be* Windows Vista as the vast majority of consumer & business PCs sold since 1/30/07 (vista retail release) have been 64-bit. The 32-bit kernel should have been the rare exception to fall back on (say, driver issues) rather than the rule for the preferred kernel to use. What makes more sense is to have both as an option on the same DVD. But, alas, effectively selling as an add on what is an essential part of of the operating system is classic microsoft. Cheers MS, you have balls of uranium.
when I bought my computer, it already had Windows Vista Home Premium 32 bit already installed and came without install or recovery DVDs.. I want to upgrade to 64 bit Home Premium, and heard I can do this through Microsoft for around $20. If my OS is an OEM version, which it may be if it came preinstalled, is this possible?
Thanks for the post. Now, this isn't something that Microsoft provide if your OS has come shipped on the hardware, OEM. You'd need to contact the OEM and explain the situation, and they should be able to send you out the x64 media of Vista Home Premium.
Microsoft, as shown at the bottom here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/compare-editions/64-bit.aspx, will only ship out x64 media to those customers who've bought a retail copy of Vista, so in this scenario, you'd be best contacting the OEM. I assure you, you won't have been the first to do it!
Final option is, wait until the Release Candidate of Windows 7 is out, and download it for free from the web - it should come with a trial key, that will last at least until the final release of Windows 7, at which point, you may find that you prefer it to Vista, and you want to buy a copy.
Final point i'd raise is, think about why you want to go to x64. I have 4GB RAM in my box, and I still run 32bit Vista/Win7, because I don't actually use any x64 applications, it's not necessary to me.
Now for something completely different. I have 32-bit Vista Ultimate on a separate internal drive of my Apple Mac Pro (installed from a Vista Upgrade DVD). I access it using Boot Camp. I'd also like to switch over to 64-bit Vista so I can take full advantage of the twin Xeon processors and 6GB of RAM.
I'd have to connect an NTFS-formatted external drive and do a backup from within Windows, which is more complicated when the actual hardware is Mac. Will I have to wipe my Windows drive and do a new install as well...and deal with upgrading from nothing, since there's no prior 64-bit OS to work from?
Going from x86 to x64 is a wipe and reload I'm afraid - you're fundamentally changing architectures, so an inplace upgrade is not possible.
In terms of what you'd need to do:
If you have purchased a full license together with a Windows Vista DVD, follow these steps:
Back up all the data and settings by using Windows Easy Transfer. Windows Easy Transfer is available on the Windows Vista DVD. However, you must use the version that is on the Windows Vista DVD for your currently installed 32-bit version of Windows Vista.
Insert the 64-bit version of Windows Vista into the system DVD drive, and then restart the computer.
Start Windows Vista Setup from the DVD when you are prompted.
Note You must start Windows Vista Setup by starting the computer from the Windows Vista 64-bit DVD. The installation package will not run on a 32-bit operating system.
When you are prompted during Windows Vista Setup, remember to select Custom as your installation choice.
When the installation is complete, you can restore the data from its backup location.
You will still have to reinstall your programs, so make sure you have the discs, or install files handy when the x64 installation has completed.
Alternatively, you may want to wait to try out the x64 version of Windows 7 - the Release Candidate is just around the corner and would give you a performance boost over Vista.
Hey Matt, kinda a similar question with a twist. I have a Notebook that is downgraded with XP Pro 32 bit from Windows Business 32 bit... It's likely OEM since it was done off of Sony DVD's that came with the computer. I purchased a Vista Ultimate Product Red upgrade key and media from MS through an offer to students. I know I will have to do a clean install I don't have any info on the hard drive yet, but the key is for an "upgrade"
I don't have the DVD yet, that will take a few weeks, but they sent me the files, and a buddy is making me a bootable DVD from them... Am I going to run into many issues going from 32 to 64 with an "upgrade" key? From what I have read all the DVD's are the same being either 32 bit or 64 bit, it's just the key that determines what version you have (home prem, full, upgrade, etc...)
Thanks for any input!
Hmmm - tricky one. If you're currently running XP 32bit, and you've bought the Vista RED Upgrade (http://store.microsoft.com/microsoft/Windows-Vista-Ultimate-SP1-32-and-64-Bit-Upgrade-PRODUCT-REDTM/product/F2E929DF) you should have the 32bit and 64bit media in the box, which would give you the keys for both. You could stick with 32bit, install Vista SP1 upgrade, and you'd be good to go.
If you want to deploy x64, which unless you have applications that take advantage of x64 (or greater than 4GB RAM) I wouldn't advise it - I'm running 32bit Windows 7 now, and it fly's along. If you still want to 'upgrade' to x64, this is where it will be difficult as you'll need an x64 'base OS'.
You could always go to Sony and ask them for the original x64 media, flatten the machine to x64 Vista Business, and then upgrade with your RED version.
I just bought a notebook running 32bit Vista Premium, and wish to "upgrade" it to x64. I have x64 on my desktop, could I simply reinstall using my x64 disc but enter the original 32-bit serial from my new notebook?
I think you need a separate key for x64, so you'd have to contact whoever you got the x64 version off, whether it's your OEM etc.
Alternatively, why don't you upgrade to the release candidate of Windows 7 x64? You can download it for free, and the eval x64 key you recieve is good until March 1, 2010, at which point, you'd need to upgrade to the released version (which will ship way before this date!).
Win 7 is a fantastic improvement on Vista, and you can download it here:
I been reading all these posts and i still have a few questions. I am currently running vista premium 32 bit version and i would like to upgrade to 64 bit. When i followed the link to select the 64bit DVD upgrade and select the language, it takes me to the vista homepage and thats it. There is no page telling me anything about a 64bit DVD.??? Did i do something wrong?
Anyways, my other question is when i back up my files and stuff, why cant you backup program files? Does this mean i have to go buy microsoft office student again? Thats a lot of money to spend just upgrade to a different bit version. I am a gamer and soon will have my new gaming computer together and running. In order for me to run 4GB+ and extreme performance i need vista premium x64.
I have most of my program disks still like games and hardware intall disks but i dont have my office student and home or my norton. Thats because it has been used up (installed on the max allowed pc's) Is there anyway i can save these types of programs?
Also, i saw a post above that stated to contact your OEM computer builder (currently i have an Acer e700) to get the x64 bit disk from them? How will they know i bought there computer? And the store i bought my computer from went our business (comp USA)?
So all i want to do is upgrade to 64 prem and save my important programs like office and norton and not have to spend $400+ just on software to upgrade.