First time poster, long time reader. Usually I can find everything I need through some extensive "Google-ing" and forum surfing, but there's so much at stake for what I am attempting to do, and I can't afford to just utilize advice given to someone with a different set of circumstances, to end up experiencing anything short of complete success. So here we go.
I bought my Dell XPS 410 in 2007, and at that time I was using for very basic purposes. Here are the specs as of today (only changes made were to the GFX Card when the old one died, the RAM from 2gb to 4gb, and the use of my Audio Interface):
-Dell Dimension DXP061 (Purchased under the name "Dell XPS 410")
-Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz 2.39 GHz (Number of processer cores: 4)
-4 GB Ram (PC2-5300 4X1GB Sticks with 4 total slots)
-288 GB Internal Hard Drive
-NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS (Stock GFX Card died, and I replaced it with this less than a year ago)
Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit (64-bit capable/compatible)
-Single 22" Dell E228WFPC
-Behringer USB U-Control UCA200 Audio Interface (It is a miserable excuse for an Audio Interface, and I am going to be getting a better firewire Audio Interface)
Today, I use my PC for Music Production. Currently, I run Cubase 5, Reason 5, and Fruity Loops Producer simultaneously. This can be (for my computer) a task at times, and I am pretty limited in the amount of tracks I can run in one session. Once you throw in a few live audio recordings, the program crashes. Now I recognize that this can be attributed to a few things: 1) RAM, and 2) Audio Interface. About a year ago I upgraded the 2gb RAM my computer came with to 4gb. I saw a slight increase in efficiency, but not as much as I had hoped. After doing research, I found that Windows Vista 32-bit does not support the full 4gb of ram that I have installed. Also, I found out that my computer is quite capable of operating on a 64-bit OS. The audio interface I already know is the source of some other sound issues that I am having, but that's about it. Given all this new information, here are the things I would like to do and the questions associated with them:
1) Upgrade from Windows Vista 32-bit to Windows 7 64-bit (I recognize that this will have to be a clean install, removing all of the files and programs I have on the computer).
-Do I have to buy the full version of Windows 7 to do this, or can it be done just as well/easily in the upgrade version of the software?
-Will most of my 32-bit Music related programs and files function fine?
-Will files backed up externally from current 32-bit operating system be accessible in a 64-bit system?
-Since I have 4 slots for ram, after upgrading to 64-bit, could I go from 4gb to 6 or 8gb?
2) Replace current primary internal hard drive with larger one.
-Should I do this before I upgrade the OS, or after?
3) Utilize second monitor.
-I know that my current GFX Card and OS can support it, but would it be of ANY benefit/need for me to upgrade?
If you've gotten this far, you are probably as exhausted as I am, but PLEASE HELP! This is so important and I can't afford to make any mistakes I can't reverse.
Thanks in advance!
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