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Are Windows 7 Professional 32 and 64 bit serials the same?
October 29, 2009 2:19 AM   Subscribe

Are Windows 7 32bit and 64 bit serials the same?

I've just purchased an OEM of Windows 7 Professional 32 bit for my laptop, which I've since [before installation] upgraded with more RAM. I can now happily run as a 64 bit installation. I have a 64 bit version of 7 coming as an OEM with a new desktop - my question is twofold? Will a 32 bit serial work with a 64 bit installation, and legally - if it does work - am I allowed to install it? I do have two Win 7 licenses...
posted by n3rt to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
 
Nope. Definitely different serials. If you purchase one, it's incompatible, serial-wise, with the other. You also cannot upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit at all, which is why I haven't upgraded my home desktop from build 7055 32-bit to the OEM RTM 64-bit I have, and also why I haven't ordered my Dell free upgrades for my office machines, as the site thinks they're 32-bits, and the serial will screw me if I go through with it.
posted by disillusioned at 2:37 AM on October 29, 2009


n3rt: I have a 64 bit version of 7 coming as an OEM with a new desktop - my question is twofold? Will a 32 bit serial work with a 64 bit installation, and legally - if it does work - am I allowed to install it? I do have two Win 7 licenses...

It's pretty clear that you can't use 32- and 64-bit serials interchangeably; each serial you buy is for one computer, one copy of the software, and each copy is either 32- or 64-bit; it is not both.

I don't know if I understand your question properly, but if I were getting a new license (with the new desktop) for a copy of Windows 7 64-bit, I might be tempted to try installing that copy on my laptop as well. After all, as I recall, AutoDesk's AutoCad (one of the most expensive pieces of software out there) allows you to install on both a desktop and a laptop, so long as both are owned by the same user. But sadly, n3rt, the answer here too is no dice; to quote the unholy EULA [cite] :
The Windows 7 desktop operating system software is licensed on a per copy per computer basis for consumers. In this context, a computer is a physical hardware system with an internal storage device capable of running the software. A hardware partition or blade is considered to be a separate computer. Users may install one copy of the software on one computer. That computer is the “licensed computer”. Users may use the software on up to two processors on the licensed computer at one time.
This appears to hold true unless you bought a "qualified family pack" of several different licenses for a household. I don't imagine you did, else you wouldn't be asking this question.

Sadly, then, the answer appears to be no; you can't install Win 7 64 Pro on more than one computer. And knowing Microsoft trying to do so will probably blow up your computer, so I wouldn't try it.

However, as always, Ubuntu is free to install on as many laptops or desktops as you like – in 32- and 64-bit varieties – and it can even install and share a computer quite easily with Windows 7. Might be a good idea if you want to take advantage of the full 64-bit capability of your laptop.
posted by koeselitz at 4:11 AM on October 29, 2009


It should work as long as you are not trying to install two copies of Windows with the same serial number. The retail packages of Windows 7 come with both 64-bit and 32-bit installation disks with the same product key.

With Vista, I changed from 32-bit to 64-bit with the same serial with no issues. I don't believe that has changed with Windows 7. Note that you will have to do a clean install in order to change from 32-bit to 64-bit (in place upgrade not possible), but since you're using OEM disks that shouldn't be an issue. You might consider backing up your activation prior to the switch (google for a utility to do this). That should ensure smooth sailing. Good luck!
posted by roomwithaview at 5:05 AM on October 29, 2009


When you say you added RAM and can now run 64-bit, what exactly do you mean? Ability to run a 64-bit OS isn't dependent on how much RAM is installed, in fact it's quite the opposite.
posted by entropic at 6:24 AM on October 29, 2009


entropic: The 64-bit version of Win7 has steeper minimum harware requirements than the 32-bit version. 2GB of RAM as opposed to 1GB, IIRC.
posted by wsp at 7:50 AM on October 29, 2009


Your serial covers both 32 bit and 64 bit versions, but you may install and use only one version at a time.

Windows 7 Professional EULA for OEM version is available as a PDF here. Paragraph 2. section d is the one you want. By my reading you can switch to a 64 bit version, the only restriction is on switching languages.
posted by IanMorr at 8:59 AM on October 29, 2009


The copy that comes with your new desktop uses a different license key then the oem one you bought at say new egg.

One key wont work with the other. if you can get a hold of a 64bit oem disk then your 32biot oem key would work.
posted by majortom1981 at 10:33 AM on October 29, 2009


What i mean is that the disks that com e with say a dell machine or hp machine cant use a retail (oem or full retail package) key. The dell and hp disks can only use a cdkey from dell or hp.
posted by majortom1981 at 10:35 AM on October 29, 2009


Will a 32 bit serial work with a 64 bit installation?
Retail has both flavors in the box. You can install the 64bit version on your laptop now with the same key.

Repeating from above:
The retail packages of Windows 7 come with both 64-bit and 32-bit installation disks with the same product key. See bullet point four on that list.
posted by anti social order at 12:09 PM on October 29, 2009


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