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Formatting and installing Windows 7 using an upgrade disc

Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
Here's my situation:

-I had a genuine copy of Windows XP installed 3 years ago or so.
-I bought a digital upgrade copy of Windows 7 Home Premium, 32-bit, and installed it over Windows XP
-I want to format and reinstall Windows 7, but now that I have more RAM and a 64-bit processor, I want to install a 64-bit copy of Windows 7.

So, my questions are:

1) Will the key I have from my upgrade copy of Windows 7 work when I activate a 64-bit Windows 7 install?
2) Will the upgrade disc I burned 3 years ago be able to install a 64-bit version instead of a 32-bit version? I'm guessing it won't since I had to choose before purchasing, if I recall correctly.
3) If not, but my key will work, what's the best way to get the software to install without actually buying it, since I already have a key?
4) If I do end up installing Windows 7 from the upgrade disc, how can I ensure I don't get the notorious "this key is only for upgrades" error, since I know it's totally possible to do a clean install with an upgrade disc in some circumstances?

Inquisitor wrote: »
I fucking hate you Canadians.
Evil Multifarious on


  • HonkHonk Honk is this poster. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I got Windows 7 through digital download and there were different files for 32 and 64 bit versions, so probably your disc won't install W7 64.

    PSN: Honkalot
  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    1) Yep, your key will work fine. Windows 7 keys are interchangeable between x64 and x86.
    2) Nope, you'll need 64-bit install media.
    3) The easiest way would be to find a friend with 64-bit install media* and use theirs. The harder way would be to contact Microsoft support and ask them for 64-bit media. If you're lucky they'll provide you with a digital download, if you're unlucky you'll have to purchase physical media from them... which will probably run around $10-15 and take a week or two to ship. Since you've got a license key, they will work with you.
    4) You'll be asked to enter your Windows XP key as you install. If you don't have it anymore, just install Windows 7 (and don't bother entering your license key, it gives you a 30-day grace period to activate) then install Windows 7 again over your existing install. You'll avoid the upgrade key check that way, and as long as you own licenses it doesn't matter how you get it installed, from a EULA perspective.

    *If their install media does not match your version of W7 (such as they have a Windows 7 Ultimate disc), then it is possible to prepare new install media based off theirs that will be version-agnostic. This link should help, should it come to that:

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    That's excellent, thanks for the info! I think I can get my hands on a Win 64 disc, actually, of the same edition, and if my key works then I'm set. I even have my old Windows XP key as well, in case I need that.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
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