Article ID: 932795 - View products that this article applies to.
For a version of this article that applies to 32-bit versions of Windows Vista, click the following link to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
932616 Installation choices for consumer versions of Windows Vista (32-bit only)
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INTRODUCTION

This article discusses the installation choices for 64-bit consumer versions of Windows Vista. This article does not include information about Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Enterprise, or versions of Windows Vista that you install by using Microsoft Volume Licensing.

The method that you use to install a 64-bit bit version of Windows Vista depends on the answers to the following questions:
  • Is your current operating system 32-bit or 64-bit? See the definition of a 64-bit operating system in the "General information about how to install the 64-bit version of Windows Vista" section for more information.
  • Do you have an upgrade license for Windows Vista or a full product license? This is described on the Retail box cover and on an online sales receipt.
  • Does the version of Windows Vista that you purchased support an upgrade for the version of the operating system that is currently installed?
  • Do you want to preserve your personal files, settings and programs? Or do you prefer to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista?

MORE INFORMATION

General information about how to install the 64-bit version of Windows Vista

Definitions

  • An upgrade to Windows Vista An upgrade to Windows Vista preserves the personal files, the settings, and the programs that are currently installed. You can upgrade only from one 64-bit version of Windows Vista to certain other versions of Windows Vista. See the individual upgrade paths later in this article to find out whether this option is available for your current operating system.
  • A custom Installation or a "clean installation" of Windows Vista A custom installation of Windows Vista does not preserve the currently installed personal files, settings and programs. A custom installation is also known as a "clean installation." Windows Vista is installed without third-party programs. You can perform a custom installation of Windows Vista by using either an upgrade license or a full product license. However, if you own an upgrade license, you must select Custom at the installation choice menu to perform this action. Note your particular upgrade path for complete details on how to perform this installation type
  • An upgrade version of Windows Vista An upgrade version of Windows Vista is a license that lets you install Windows Vista only if you already own a license for a compliant version of Windows. Such compliant versions include versions of Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP, or Microsoft Windows 2000. You can perform either an upgrade installation or a custom installation of Windows Vista by using an upgrade license.
  • A 64-bit operating system Windows XP Professional x64 was the first widely-available consumer 64-bit Windows operating system. Windows Vista comes in a 64-bit version for every consumer brand. These brands include the following versions:
    • Windows Vista Home Basic
    • Windows Vista Home Premium
    • Windows Vista Ultimate
    • Windows Vista Business
    The 64-bit versions take advantage of the new 64-bit CPUs that are produced and sold in most new computers.

    Most Windows XP users have a 32-bit operating system for the following versions:
    • Windows XP Home
    • Windows XP Professional
    • Windows Media Center Edition
    Although you can install a 32-bit operating system on a computer that has a 64-bit CPU, you cannot install a 64-bit operating system on a computer that has a 32-bit CPU.
  • Upgrading a 32-bit operating system to a 64-bit operating system If you purchase a 64-bit upgrade version of Windows Vista with the intention of installing on a computer that is running a 32-bit operating system, you must install Windows Vista by starting the computer from the 64-bit Vista installation DVD.

    Important Do not remove the previous operating system before you start the Windows Vista installation. This is because Windows Vista Setup has to verify that your current operating system license supports the installation of a 64-bit upgrade version.
  • "N" versions of Windows Vista The "N" versions of Windows XP and of Windows Vista do not include Windows Media Center. You cannot perform an upgrade installation of an "N" version of Windows. Instead, you must perform a custom installation.

How to determine whether your computer is running a 32-bit version or a 64-bit version of Windows XP

For more information about how to determine whether your computer is running a 32-bit version or 64-bit version of Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
827218 How to determine whether your computer is running a 32-bit version or a 64-bit version of the Windows operating system

Operating systems that are eligible for a Windows Vista upgrade license

The following installed operating systems are eligible for a Windows Vista upgrade installation:
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows XP Home
  • Windows XP Media Center
  • Windows XP Tablet PC
  • Windows XP Professional x64
  • Windows Vista Home Basic (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Vista Business (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit and 64-bit)
However, depending on your installation choice, a clean installation may be required. Note the upgrade path later in this article for options that are available for your currently installed Windows version.

Installation choices

The following sections give details about the various installation options. Your installation choices depend on your currently installed operating system.

Installing a 64-bit version of Windows Vista on a computer that is running a 32-bit version of Windows XP or of Windows 2000

Most Windows XP and Windows 2000 users have the 32-bit version of these operating systems. For example, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, Windows Tablet Edition and Windows Media Center Edition only come in 32-bit versions. For these operating systems, there is no upgrade installation path available when you upgrade from a 32-bit operating system to a 64-bit operating system. However, you can perform a custom installation that uses an upgrade license.

After you purchase a Windows Vista DVD, follow these steps:
  1. Back up all the data and the settings by using Windows XP Backup.

    Note You can also use Windows Easy Transfer. This back up program is available on the Windows Vista DVD. However, you must use the version that is on the 32-bit Windows Vista DVD if you want to use Windows Easy Transfer to back up a 32-bit version of Windows.
  2. Insert the 64-bit version of Windows Vista into the system DVD drive, and then restart the computer.
  3. Start Windows Vista Setup from the DVD when you are prompted.

    Note You must start Windows Vista Setup by starting the computer from the Windows Vista 64-bit DVD. The installation package will not run on a 32-bit operating system.
  4. When you are prompted during Windows Vista Setup, remember to select Custom as the installation type.
  5. After installation is complete, you can restore the data from its backup location.

Installing a 64-bit version of Windows Vista on a computer that is running Windows XP Professional x64

Windows XP Professional x64 users can purchase an upgrade license for the 64-bit version of Windows Vista. However, they must perform a clean installation of the operating system.

After you purchase an upgrade Windows Vista DVD, follow these steps:
  1. You can back up personal files and settings by using Windows Easy Transfer. This back up program is located on the Windows Vista DVD. To back up files and settings, insert the Windows Vista DVD while Windows XP Professional x64 is running and when the Install Windows page appears, click the Transfer files and settings from another computer link.
  2. Insert the upgrade version DVD of the 64-bit version of Windows Vista while the current version of Windows XP Professional x64 is running. Autorun will start the Setup program automatically, or you can manually run the Setup.exe program from the root of the DVD.
  3. Complete the steps in Windows Vista Setup.
  4. To restore personal files and settings when you are finished installing Windows Vista, click Start, and then click Windows Easy Transfer.

Installing a 64-bit version of Windows Vista on computer that is running a 32-bit version of Windows Vista

If you have purchased an Upgrade license together with a Windows Vista DVD, you must use one of the following methods.
Method 1
Purchase a full version of the 64-bit version of Windows Vista.
Method 2
  1. Remove the 32-bit version of Windows Vista.
  2. Install Windows XP.
  3. Install the 64-bit version of Windows Vista by using an installation method that is listed earlier in this article.
If you have purchased a full license together with a Windows Vista DVD, follow these steps:
  1. Back up all the data and settings by using Windows Easy Transfer. Windows Easy Transfer is available on the Windows Vista DVD. However, you must use the version that is on the Windows Vista DVD for your currently installed 32-bit version of Windows Vista.
  2. Insert the 64-bit version of Windows Vista into the system DVD drive, and then restart the computer.
  3. Start Windows Vista Setup from the DVD when you are prompted.

    Note You must start Windows Vista Setup by starting the computer from the Windows Vista 64-bit DVD. The installation package will not run on a 32-bit operating system.
  4. When you are prompted during Windows Vista Setup, remember to select Custom as your installation choice.
  5. When the installation is complete, you can restore the data from its backup location.

Installing a 64-bit version of Windows Vista on a computer that is running a different 64-bit version of Windows Vista

You may decide to upgrade to a more feature-rich version of Windows Vista.

The following list shows the 64-bit to 64-bit upgrade paths that are available:
  • Windows Vista Home Basic to Windows Vista Premium
  • Windows Vista Home Basic to Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business to Windows Vista Ultimate
After you purchase an upgrade Windows Vista DVD, follow these steps:
  1. Back up the data by using the "Backup and Restore" feature in Windows Vista.
  2. Insert the upgrade version DVD of the 64-bit version of Windows Vista while the current version of Windows Vista is running
  3. Autorun will start the Windows Vista Setup program automatically, or you can manually run the setup.exe from the root of the DVD.
  4. Complete the steps of the Windows Vista Setup program.

REFERENCES

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
930891 When you insert a Windows Vista 64-bit DVD within a 32-bit operating system, the operation is unsuccessful

Properties

Article ID: 932795 - Last Review: June 28, 2011 - Revision: 2.8
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
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