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Upgrading to 64-bit

Brittany from Wooster asks:

A while back, you talked about the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit systems. I’m considering an upgrade, but don’t know if my system can handle it. Can you tell me how to find out?

Thanks for the question, Brittany, and for the reminder, as this is a subject I’d planned to return to sooner. In the earlier articles, 32-Bit and 64-Bit Explained Part One [1], and Part Two [2], we attempted to define–and illustrate the differences between–the two system types. If, like Brittany, you’d like to upgrade, your processor must be 64-bit capable. Here’s how to determine whether your system will support the change.

In Vista and Windows 7, type Performance Information in Start Search and click the Performance Information and Tools link.


In Vista, click the view and print details link, found in the Performance Information and Tools dialog box.


In Windows 7, click the View and print detailed performance and system information link.


In both Vista and Windows 7, in the System section, look for the System type and, if yours is a 32-bit operating system, check for 64-bit capability.


In XP, click the Start button, right-click on My Computer, and select Properties.


In System Properties, if x64 Edition is listed under the General tab, you’re already running a 64-bit system.


If nothing is indicated, you’re running a 32-bit system, but you may still be able to make the conversion to 64-bit.


To learn whether or not your system is 64-bit compatible, download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor [3]. As far as I could tell, no XP or Vista 64-bit upgrades are available from Microsoft. So, in addition to upgrading to 64-bit, XP or Vista systems will also be upgraded to Windows 7,

On the site, click the red Download button and follow the installation instructions.


Once installed, click the Start check button. This check may take some time.


When the report is complete, click the 64-bit report tab at the top, to see what’s required in order to make the conversion.


Thanks again for the question Brittany. I hope this helped.