Ask the Doctor: 32 to 64


My current PC, which has Windows XP professional 32-bit installed, is dying. I have begun ordering hardware for my new rig from Newegg. I am a college student and recently found out that I can get a student discount from Microsoft on a Windows Vista upgrade. Can a 32-bit version of XP be upgraded to a 64-bit version of Vista? If so, what’s the best way to do so? I know I will have to call Microsoft for a new XP keycode, as my hardware will be entirely different, but I’ve gone through that process before.

Kevin White

According to Microsoft, you can’t upgrade a 32-bit version of XP to a 64-bit version of Vista. However, you can install a clean 64-bit Vista OS from an upgrade disc. But since you’re building a new rig, that shouldn’t be much of an issue; you’ll want a clean install anyway. You’ll have to start the install process from the Vista DVD, as the 64-bit installer will not run on your old 32-bit Windows install. And, of course, be sure to back up all your documents and data before you start.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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