Windows 10 is compatible with both the 32-bit and 64-bit processor architecture. There might be a possibility that you are running Windows 10 32-bit version, although your system supports the 64-bit architecture. If you were previously running the Windows 7 32-bit version, then when you decided to upgrade, your device was updated to Windows 10 32-bit version only.
If you are running Windows 10 32-bit version but want to switch to the 64-bit version, you can do it without buying the new license, provided your current license is genuine.
However, it totally depends on whether or not your system’s processor and RAM is compatible with the Windows 10 64-bit version. Also, it requires a clean installation of Windows 10, so your device would be formatted.
In this guide, we would discuss the step by step process on how to change from 32-bit Windows 10 to 64-bit Windows 10 for free.
Advantages of Switching to Windows 10 64-bit Version
The 32-bit and 64-bit versions look similar in interface and features. However, you would get better performance with the 64-bit due to following reasons:
- The 32-bit architecture supports RAM up to 4 GB only. That means even if you install an 8 GB of RAM on your system, you won’t be able to use its full capability with a 32-bit OS. On the other hand, the 64-bit architecture supports up to 2 TB of RAM.
- The programs that support 32-bit can also be run in a 64-bit system. However, 64-bit applications are unsupported on 32-bit OS.
- Since on 64-bit, you can access more memory; therefore, multiple apps could be run simultaneously without the system being hanged.
- Switching to 64-bit OS can also help you increase your work productivity by smoothly running the high-end software like video rendering, virtual machines, opening multiple tabs on your browser, and more such tasks.
Check Your Processor and Hardware Capability for 64-bit
Before going further to install the 64-bit version of Windows 10, check whether your system’s hardware supports the 64-bit architecture.
Checking Processor Compatibility
– On Windows settings, click on System.
– In System window, on the left pane, scroll down and click About.
– Look for System type under “Device Specifications.”
- If you see the 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor, your system supports the 64-bit architecture, and Windows 10 64-bit OS version is already installed on your device.
- If you see the 32-bit operating system, x86-based processor, your system is running on a 32-bit version of Windows 10 and does not support the 64-bit architecture.
- If you see the 32-bit operating system, x64-based processor, your system is compatible with the 64-bit architecture, but running on Windows 10 32-bit OS.
Another thing to check on the About page is your system’s RAM. Make sure it is at least 2GB because it is the minimum requirement for 64-bit Windows 10 version.
Checking Hardware Compatibility
It is good if your system processor supports 64-bit architecture; however, it is not enough. Before installing the Windows 10 64-bit version, you have to make sure that your system’s hardware is capable of running the 64-bit version applications.
Modern hardware or hardware, which are just a few years old, are manufactured to support the 64-bit architecture. However, if your system is ancient, then maybe some hardware components such as graphic card and sound card are not designed to support the 64-bit drivers.
For ensuring that, visit your device manufacturer’s support website and check whether 64-bit drivers are available for your model or not.
Upgrade to Windows 10 64-bit from 32-bit
As already mentioned, unfortunately, for upgrading to Windows 10 64-bit from 32-bit, you have to perform a clean install of Windows 10. But fortunately, you can execute a backup before installing it.
If you are currently on Windows 7 32-bit, first upgrade yourself to Windows 10 32-bit for free and without any clean installation.
For installation first, you require to create a bootable media, either a USB or a DVD.
Create a Windows 10 64-bit Installation Media
- Check for Activation
Check whether your current version of Windows is activated or not. For that, follow this path: Settings > Update & security > Activation.
- Download Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
Next, download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft’s website. Since you are currently using 32-bit OS, you have to download the 32-bit version of the program.
- Create Installation Media
Run the downloaded program and choose “Create installation media for another PC.“
- Select the 64-bit Architecture
In the next window, choose preferred language, edition, and under architecture select 64-bit(x64)
- Choose Installation Media
In the next step choose the installation media
- Choose the Applicable USB Drive
Now, you would be asked to select USB flash drive
- That’s it. Windows 10 64-bit installation file would be downloaded in the selected USB drive.
Now you just need to install the Windows 10 using this bootable USB drive.
Install Windows 10 64-bit using Installation Media
– Restart your system and boot from the installation USB drive.
– When you are asked to enter the product key, skip it by clicking I don’t have a product key
– Select the applicable Windows 10 edition and click next.
– Select the drive in which you want to install Windows 10.
– That is it. Once you are done, you would be asked to sign-in/sign-up to your Microsoft Account to activate the Windows.
One last thing you must do is check for any updates in the settings to upgrade Windows 10 to the latest version.
So, this is how you can upgrade your 32-bit Windows 10 to 64-bit Windows 10 version. Again, a friendly reminder: take a full backup of your essential files, as your personal data would also wipe out along with the Windows. After the installation of 64-bit OS, the backup files could be restored.
YES, you can upgrade your Windows 7 32-bit OS to Windows 10 64-bit. Just ensure that your system is compatible with the 64-bit version. Then first upgrade to Windows 10 32-bit for free. After that, follow the step explained in this guide.
Unfortunately, there is no way to change from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows 10 without formatting. However, you always have the option of backup and restore.
Peter is an Electrical Engineer whose primary interest is tinkering with his computer. He is passionate about Windows 10 Platform and enjoys writing tips and tutorials about it.