Microsoft offers Windows 10 as a free upgrade for computers running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Also, similar to previous releases, the operating system is available on different editions and two versions: 32-bit and 64-bit.While upgrading from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro is not free, what many people are unfamiliar with is that Microsoft won’t ask for more money to upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit version.
However, the upgrade path only allows moving from a qualifying version to its equivalent edition on the same architecture. This limit means that if your PC is running a 32-bit version of Windows 8.1, after the upgrade you’ll be stuck with the 32-bit version of Windows 10 — even if your computer’s processor can handle the 64-bit version. The only solution is to make a clean installation of the operating system and reconfigure all your apps and settings.
In this Windows 10 guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to verify whether your computer in fact includes support for a 64-bit version and we’ll guide you through the upgrade process to Windows 10 (x64).
Make sure Windows 10 64-bit is compatible with your PC
A 64-bit version of Windows can only be installed on computers with capable hardware. As such, the first thing you need to do is to determine whether your computer has a 64-bit processor.
You can easily get this information from the Settings app.
- Use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
- Click System.
- Click About.
- Under System type, you will see two pieces of information: if it says 32-bit operating system, x64-based processor, then it means that your PC is running a 32-bit version of Windows 10 on a 64-bit processor. If it says 32-bit operating system, x86-based processor, then your computer doesn’t support Windows 10 (64-bit).
Make Sure Your Processor is 64-bit Capable
First thing’s first. Before even thinking of upgrading to 64-bit Windows, you’ll need to confirm that the CPU in your computer is 64-bit capable. To do so, head to Settings > System > About. On the right-hand side of the window, look for the “System type” entry.
You’ll see one of three things here:
- 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor. Your CPU does support 64-bit and you already have the 64-bit version of Windows installed.
- 32-bit operating system, x86-based processor. Your CPU does not support 64-bit and you have the 32-bit version of Windows installed.
- 32-bit operating system, x64-based processor. Your CPU supports 64-bit, but you have the 32-bit version of Windows installed.
If you see the first entry on your system, you don’t really need this article. If you see the second entry, you won’t be able to install the 64-bit version of Windows on your system at all. But if you see the last entry on your system—“32-bit operating system, x64-based processor”—then you’re in luck. This means you’re using a 32-bit version of Windows 10 but your CPU can run a 64-bit version, so if you see it, it’s time to move on to the next section.
Make Sure Your PC’s Hardware Has 64-bit Drivers Available
Even if your processor is 64-bit compatible, you might want to consider whether your computer’s hardware will work properly with a 64-bit version of Windows. 64-bit versions of Windows require 64-bit hardware drivers, and the 32-bit versions you’re using on your current Windows 10 system won’t work.
Modern hardware should certainly offer 64-bit drivers, but very old hardware may no longer be supported and the manufacturer may have never offered 64-bit drivers. To check for this, you can visit the manufacturer’s driver download web pages for your hardware and see if 64-bit drivers are available. You shouldn’t necessarily need to download these from the manufacturer’s website, though. They are likely included with Windows 10 or automatically will be downloaded from Windows Update. But old hardware—for example, a particularly ancient printer—simply may not offer 64-bit drivers.
Upgrade by Performing a Clean Install
You’ll need to perform a clean install to get to the 64-bit version of Windows 10 from the 32-bit one. Unfortunately, there’s no direct upgrade path.
Warning: Back up your important files before continuing and also make sure you have what you need to reinstall your programs. This process will wipe your whole hard disk, including Windows, installed programs, and personal files.
First, if you haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet, you’ll need to use the upgrade tool to upgrade. You’ll get the 32-bit version of Windows 10 if you were previously using a 32-bit version of Windows 7 or 8.1. But the upgrade process will give your PC a Windows 10 license. After upgrading, be sure to check that your current 32-bit version of Windows 10 is activated under Settings > Update & security > Activation.
Once you’re using an activated version of the 32-bit Windows 10, download the Windows 10 media creation tool from Microsoft. If you’re using the 32-bit version of Windows 10 at the moment, you’ll have to download and run the 32-bit tool.
When you run the tool, select “Create installation media for another PC” and use the tool to create a USB drive or burn a disc with Windows 10. As you click through the wizard, you’ll be asked whether you want to create 32-bit or 64-bit installation media. Select the “64-bit (x64)” architecture.
Next, restart your computer (you did back everything up, right?) and boot from the installation media. Install the 64-bit Windows 10, selecting “Custom install” and overwriting your current version of Windows. When you’re asked to insert a product key, skip the process and continue. You’ll have to skip two of these prompts in total. After you reach the desktop, Windows 10 will automatically check in with Microsoft and activate itself. You’ll now be running the 64-bit edition of Windows on your PC.
If you want to go back to the 32-bit version of Windows, you’ll need to download the media creation tool—the 64-bit version, if you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows 10—and use it to create 32-bit installation media. Boot from that installation media and do another clean install—this time installing the 32-bit version over the 64-bit version.
Final Words :
Finally, you are aware of the way through which you could be able to switch from the 32-bit windows to 64-bit windows really easily. There will be no difference in the functions or the working of the windows yet the only change that you will get is the more advanced architecture that is compatible with numerous high-end apps. If you are thinking to switch your windows to the 64-bit version then make sure you first check for your hardware compatibility. Hopefully, you would have liked the information of this post, please share this post with others if you really liked it. Provide us your valuable views regarding this post through using the comments section below. At last nevertheless thanks for reading this post!