Upgrading Windows 7

Discussion in 'Ask DACS' started by dragonbite, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. dragonbite

    dragonbite Well-Known Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Here is the scenario:

    I have a desktop computer capable of running 64bit OSs and currently has 6 GB of RAM and is running Linux. I have a 32 bit version of Windows 7 Enterprise.

    I know that the 32bit Windows 7 will not see more than 4GB (+/-) or RAM and that I need a 64bit version to see the other 2 GB (or 4 if I max out the system).

    So my question boils down to :
    1. If I were to get a Windows 7 64bit upgrade, would it be able to upgrade from the 32bit Windows 7 installation into a 64bit? Sometimes upgrades are complete wipeouts of the installed OS so I wonder if this is available for the upgrade and if so would it replace 32 for 64?
    2. Is there a way to make the 32bit version see more than 4 GB of RAM? I know Linux includes PAE in their kernel which allows seeing more than 4 GB of RAM with 32bit versions.

    Buying Windows 64bit and Office 2010 (and new hard drive) brings the cost close to that of a "new" system and being an older (dual-core, pre-i3, i5 or i7) machine I don't know how long it would last.

    This would be only for a desktop, which is centrally located and family-orientated, and the system will not be upgraded from Windows 7 (e.g. to Windows 8).
  2. jscheef

    jscheef Administrator
    Staff Member

    Dec 4, 2008
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    From a Microsoft FAQ:

    Can I upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 7 or from a 64-bit version of Windows 7 to a 32-bit version of Windows?

    You can use the Upgrade option during Windows 7 installation, which preserves your files, settings, and programs, only if you're currently running a 32-bit version of Windows Vista and you want to upgrade to the 32-bit version of Windows 7. Similarly, if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows Vista, you can only perform an upgrade to a 64-bit version of Windows 7. For more information, go to Upgrading to Windows 7: frequently asked questions on the Windows website.

    If you want to move from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 7 or vice versa, you'll need to back up your files and choose the Custom option during Windows 7 installation. Then, you'll need to restore your files and reinstall your programs. For more information about performing a custom installation, see Installing and reinstalling Windows 7‍.
    So the answer to your question is "NO!". An in-place upgrade from Win7 to Win7 is not supported.

    32-bit Windows (any version) can only 'see' 3.9GB. I don't know what happens to the rest. Your only Windows option to use the 6GB RAM is 64-bit Windows.

    Personally, I think your best option is to buy a new computer with Win7 Pro 64bit preinstalled. Given that you have the 32-bit Win7, I'd buy a new machine with Win8 preinstalled and run Win7 and Linux in VMs. If you do the VMs, you'll want all the RAM you can get so buy the new machine with 16GB and at least a quad-core processor.

    Win8 is really ok if you install one of the start button programs. There are several. You can actually install several at the same time so long as you only run one at a time.



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