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How to get to 64-bit from 32-bit

By Alcsaar · 15 replies
Feb 19, 2011
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  1. I'm currently running a PC With Windows XP Professional 32bit. I have a CPU and GPU that support 64 bit functionality. But I have an issue.

    I purchased a Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit disc from my college. This disc states it requires a previous installation of Windows XP Vista or 7 to work. Now, I figured that since I had a legitimate version of Windows XP 32bit, that all it had to do was check to make sure it WAS legitimate, and then I could use it to install Windows 7 64 Bit.

    I know that it is not possible to "upgrade" per say from 32bit to 64bit. It requires a drive format so I have to back up my files. I'm okay with this and I understand it. However, I'm running into an issue installing Windows 7 at all. When I insert the disc, I get this error

    "This installation disc isn't compatible with your version of Windows.  To upgrade, you need the correct installation disc.  For more information, check your computer's system information.  To install a new copy of Windows, restart (boot) your computer using the installation disc, and then select Custom (advanced)"
    I also tried booting from CD, but it doesn't even attempt to, it just goes straight to HDD even when CD Rom is my primary boot device.

    Now, I was under the impression that Windows 7 wouldn't actually USE any XP files; so the Windows 7 disc I have SHOULD be a full version of Windows 7 right? It doesn't piggy back any files from XP. So why is it not possible for me to just prove that my copy of windows xp 32bit is legitimate and then allow me to install the full version of windows 7 64 bit afterwards?

    What exactly prevents me from being able to do this? Or am I just not doing something right?

    Furthermore - If for whatever reason this ISNT possible and I wasted money purchasing this copy of Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit from my school. what are my options?

    I NEED to upgrade to 64bit. I currently have 6 gigs of ram installed and I'm only able to use 3.5. Its time for me to get rid of XP as well, and theres no point in sticking with 32 bit.

    Browsing the Microsoft store, it would APPEAR that my only option is to purchase a full copy of windows 7 for $199.99 (And thats the cheap home or premium one or w/e)

    I really don't want to spend that much to get to 64bit. Are there any other options?

    MIXEDD TS Member Posts: 38

    Hey, you need to do a clean install. Which means you need to boot your disc. You should check your BIOS more further and make sure that the settings are properly setted. :)

    1st boot device: CD/DVD
    2st boot device: HDD
  3. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    As the other answer eludes to, you are trying to upgrade windows from Xp to 7. That is not possible. However, you do not have to boot from the disc to install Windows 7. In fact, Microsoft recommends you don't. Simply log into windows xp > insert the windows 7 disc and when the Windows 7 screen appears choose to install windows 7. When the screen appears that ask you to choose upgrade or advanced installation choose advanced. You will then be prompted to choose the drive you want to install windows 7 on. If you only have 1 drive then the choice is simple. Be advised, however, installing windows 7 on the same drive which xp is on WILL delete all the data on the drive including and pics, docs or other data you may want to keep. So, you may need to back the data up before installing Windows 7
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    upgrading from xp to win 7 is not recommended. It can be done in some cases, in others it is difficult because there are no drivers - especially with 64 bit versions of win 7. I have several computers, only one of which can handle win 7 64bit. On my old laptop, there were no win 7 graphics drivers even for the 32bit edition. A computer originally designed for xp may not run well with win 7 due to its age. Go ahead and try it, but be forewarned. Back up everything to an external hard disk before proceeding.
  5. Alcsaar

    Alcsaar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yea, I put the error I get in CODE wraps in my original post. Thats the error I get when I attempt to put the CD in while im logged into Windows XP.

    My CPU and GPU are both able to run Windows 7. I have 6 gigs of ram so thats plenty. I've used Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to make sure that my PC can run Windows 7, and it can.

    Here is the error when I try to simply run the CD

    "This installation disc isn't compatible with your version of Windows.  To upgrade, you need the correct installation disc.  For more information, check your computer's system information.  To install a new copy of Windows, restart (boot) your computer using the installation disc, and then select Custom (advanced)"

    Basically at this point I'm looking for the cheapest option to get from Windows XP 32bit to Windows 7 64 Bit. I really dont want to drop $200 for a full copy of Windows 7.

    Also, when you have a student copy of Windows 7 like I do, you can't format your HD before you try installing it, because you'll get an invalid key error. You have to be able to select Custom Install and then format your HD at installation. And since I can't actually run the CD straight thru XP, I tried to boot from CD. I changed both the boot option to CDRom and I changed it in my BIOS settings.
  6. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    Hmmmmm.... This is tricky. Are you certain the disc contains a bootable iso image. This is what I would try. Put the disc in the drive while logged into xp. Exit out of the error message. Navigate to the rom device then right click > explore > navigate to the set-up file then execute it. See if you get the same error. If you do, create a new folder named Windows 7. Copy all files/folders on the Windows 7 disc. Paste them into the Windows 7 folder you created. Now download and install Imgburn. Click on "Create image from files/folders. Make sure you choose to make the image bootable. Burn the image to a dvd and try to boot from it making sure your dvd rom device is set to boot first.


    Edit: You state you set your "CD Rom" device to boot first in your bios. Is it a cd rom or a dvd rom? WIndows 7 is ALWAYS on a dvd.

    I am going to try this myself right now.
  7. Alcsaar

    Alcsaar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Its an EXTERNAL dvd rom. I'll possibly give your idea a shot, but first I need to check and make sure that I'm not going to get an invalid key error doing that and screw myself over.

    Can you still boot from an external dvd rom? I have no clue if the PC can even detect it before windows boots up.
  8. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    There is an interesting topic on the link below. You may want to check it out. If you are using an external device then you would not want the cd/dvd rom to be the first boot device. You would want to set the first boot device to removable usb device. Depending on the age of you computer it may not support that option. However, considering it is x64 I suspect it will. That is certainly the reason why you are not getting the option to boot from the disc.

  9. JasonWinTeam

    JasonWinTeam TS Rookie Posts: 24

    How are things coming along? I'm not sure if you have already, but I recommend that you download and run the free Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor . It helps find potential issues with your computer’s hardware, devices, or programs that might affect installing Windows 7, and gives recommendations on what to do. Also, here's a good resource that describes how to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.

    Let us know how things coming along with the install.
  10. Alcsaar

    Alcsaar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hello, and thanks I've already used the Windows Upgrade Advisor (all okay) and also have looked at that site a bit as well. I have yet to try what the poster above you recommended. It all comes down to whether or not a student copy of windows 7 allows me to boot from it and whether or not I'll get an invalid key error if I try doing that.

    I have a lot to do yet deciding what to back up and what to get rid of, could be a while before I decide to go through with it :)
  11. Alcsaar

    Alcsaar TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I was able to select USB - CDDVD as my bootable device, and it seemed to be working perfectly. It took a few minutes to "Load Files" then it sent me to the Windows 7 Splash screen and said starting windows, then it just stopped there. All I had was a background and I could move my mouse, but there were no buttons, no options, just a background. I gave it a few minutes and nothing happened so I did a hard reboot and booted back to my hard drive. Going to give it one more shot I think to see what happens.

    Update2: Tried a couple more times, its still hanging on that screen with just the background. Arghh, not sure what the issue is.

    After some googling, this appears to be a possible issue with the fact that I'm using two monitors. Going to deactivate the second one and give it another shot.

    Update3: Disabling the second monitor didn't help. Still hangs on the desktop background (Or whatever it is)
  12. akannitaoheed

    akannitaoheed TS Rookie Posts: 79

    Consider using another USB CD/DVD DRIVE to be sure the drive you are using isn't the cause of response failure
  13. Alcsaar

    Alcsaar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've also heard that USB Devices themselves can cause the issue. I've finally gotten around to finding a SATA Cable so I could just hook up the brand new DVD Rom drive thats been sitting in a box for like 2 years. Going to try now with it. Will post a reply shortly, if it doesn't work. Otherwise I'll post a reply after reinstalling Firefox and importing my favorites. (Fingers Crossed)
  14. Alcsaar

    Alcsaar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Uhg, now I've run into an entirely different and unrelated issue. I have two boot up options. One is in the BIOS, the other is F12 Boot Menu. Before, I was able to set the boot options in my BIOS (First Boot USB CDRom, Second Boot Hard Disk) and then I'd access the F12 Menu and change that boot up to USB CDRom as well, and it would work fine.

    Now, after removing my USB CD Rom drive and installing an internal CDRom Drive, I was able to change my BIOS settings to first boot CD Rom and Second boot Hard Disk, but now when I access the F12 boot menu, my PC freezes (Or the USB Keyboard becomes unresponsive). I'm wondering if this might be an issue caused by my removal of the USB CD Rom drive before I changed the settings back to Hard Disk or something else on my F12 Boot Menu. When I got to the menu, it SAYS Hard Disk is the boot option however.

    Now, if I leave it like that (Since i cant change it) my PC Says "Press any key to boot from CD" but when I do nothing actually happens, so it skips to hard disk and loads XP. I'm fairly certain both options need to be set to CD Rom, but I have no idea how to change Boot Menu to CD Rom when it freezes now every time I try to access it.
  15. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +422

    Only one has to be set to boot from the CD drive not both. The BIOS setting is permanent until you manually change it again. The Boot Menu is temporary and for just this one time.
  16. Alcsaar

    Alcsaar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Great Success!

    As it turns out, for whatever reason, My BIOS reverted to previous settings which disabled USB Keyboard/Mouse support. Re enabling it allowed me to once again boot from CD. I was worried because it once again hung on the wallpaper part after "starting windows". This time I waited a while (7 or so minutes) and set up finally started. Was able to format and install with no further issues! I am now happily running on Windows 7 (And trying to get use to the new themes).

    Thanks for the help everyone :) I'll recheck this thread for a few more days incase anyone has any questions about steps I took during this very lengthy process.

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