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Switching Windows 10 32-bit to Windows 10 64-bit


NicoleU
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I have a custom built desktop and upgraded a couple months ago to Windows 10 32-bit, without realizing I can't use my RAM to it's full potential (16GB is what I have installed). I have researched online and it looks like you can download the Windows Media Creation Tool and use it to switch from 32 to 64-bit. I talk to my friend who built my computer and he said to buy a brand new 64-bit code and do a clean reboot/install. 

Either way, I'm terrified to wipe my computer (Everything I have (photos, music, files, etc.) is stored on one of my external hard drives.) but my question is - can I use the Windows Media Tool? Is this a legit way to switch/upgrade?

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Conversationally speaking, a 32-bit operating system caps out at 4GB, with 3.5GB usually being accessible. Yes, I have heard of people getting around the 4GB limitation with some sort of hack/work-around (I think you can get it to 6GB or something,) but between you and me...and for the 99.999999% of us out there, we will stick with the 4GB Limitation of what Microsoft says.

You can not upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit. You are going to have to nuke the HD and do a fresh install of the OS. The Windows Media Creation Tool will create a 64-bit installer, but there is not an in-place upgrade path. 64-bit is completely different than 32-bit. Fortunately, your friend is half-correct...the reformat and re-install everything part is correct, but the Windows Media Creation Tool will create a 64-bit installer and I think the Key will be the same, provided that all the hardware is the same and since this is the same computer, you should be good.

First, before taking the plunge, is your system 64-bit capable? Do you have 64-bit drivers for the various components in your computer? Video Card Drivers, Sound Card Drivers, Chipset Drivers, Network Card Drivers, etc. The most important driver out of everything is to get the Ethernet Driver. That allows you to connect to the internet to download other drivers to get things running if needed. Windows 10 has a fairly large database of drivers these days, so it's not as big of a deal as it once was, but I'm still paranoid about this driver. ;)

Second, once you have everything backed up and you have a list of license keys for everything, download the 32-bit Windows Media Creation Tool. Make sure your Windows 10 is activated (it should be,) and then run the Tool. Have a fresh/clean/no software/blank 8GB Thumbdrive (or 16GB would be a safer bet) at the ready. When you run the tool, select "Create installation media for another PC" and under the Architecture Drop Down Menu, select 64-bit (x64). Create the Windows 10 64-bit installer on that clean Thumbdrive. When you reboot off the Thumbdrive, select a custom install and choose "Overwrite the Current Version of Windows," or something like that. Since you are staying with the "Home" Edition of Windows 10 and are just switching from 32-bit to 64-bit, your License Number should work. Now if you were upgrading from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro, that's a different story. Then you'd need a different key.

If your friend builds any future PCs, tell him to stick with 64-bit. The ONLY reason to install 32-bit is if you have a old piece of software that requires it. For the people here who edit photos and use Photoshop / Lightroom / Photoshop Elements, there are 64-bit versions of the software and are Windows 10 compatible. Not only will it make things run MUCH faster, it's less of a hassle down the road, especially when an end-user wants to upgrade from 4GB to 16GB / 32GB.

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As far as I know, my system is 64-bit capable? I'm running on a 64x based processor. My friend built it with the idea that I would be using it for Photoshop. It was my goof of moving from Windows 8 64-bit to Windows 10 32-bit. I just must not have been paying attention that day.

Is there a way to check the Ethernet Driver?

 

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Since you are running on a 64x CPU, you are fine. Plus you were running Windows 8 64-bit, so no worries. Is the Ethernet Port built into the motherboard? If so, you'll need the make / model of the board and head to the company's website. There should be a downloads or support section where you can download stuff. Or you might even have driver disks. Your friend should be able to point you in the right direction but like I said before, it's probably not that big of a deal. Windows 10 supports A LOT of stuff.

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Ok, so I backed up everything and everything goes well UNTIL the 64 bit is almost all the way installed and my monitor driver resets and it goes to sleep and I can't wake it up. I did a clean reboot and deleted everything and then first ran into this issue. My monitor works for a couple times and then shuts down. I figured out I had to go into device manager and update driver software. Took me sometime to finally have the monitor stay on long enough for me to update the driver. Now, I tried to install the 64 bit and all went well until I ran into this issue. It happens sooner so my computer reverts to recovery mode and goes back to my 32 bit install.

Any ideas on how to keep the driver update?

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I would download the driver from the manufacturer's website to a thumbdrive (from another computer) and Install it locally. Since things are timing out, the windows update isn't helping you. 

Also, you might have to format 1st and do a fresh install. Is your friend available? 

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