Computer Newbies

Question

Switching from Windows Vista 32-bit to Windows 7 64-bit

by jrdegaetano / March 11, 2012 4:57 AM PDT

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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All Answers

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Answer
You have more than 3 questions.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 11, 2012 5:08 AM PDT

1. If you have your Vista DVD, then the upgrade package will be fine. I will not vet this answer as it's up at Microsoft today.
a. No.
b. For most, yes. No one can write all of them will. For example what if the app does not work on Windows 7? You didn't tell what the apps are.
c. Should be fine. JUST ONE THING. Let's hope these are not the last copies. One wrong move and it's all gone.
d. YOUR CHOICE. I saw very little difference from 6 to 8GB but if it's cheap enough?

2. A STELLAR IDEA. Why not install the new OS to the new drive and leave the old HDD alone so you can go back with a drive swap?

3. Iffy. No make, model, no answer.

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Answer
I'll agree with Bob BUT ...
by Edward ODaniel / March 11, 2012 2:23 PM PDT

if you want to buy the cheaper Upgrade DVDs I would suggest that you just contact Dell and get them to send you the Vista Installation DVD so you have it when you need it during the Custom Installation process. Dell should be able to provide it cheaply and you might even be able to get the upgrade to Win 7 pretty cheap direct from Dell also.

These two links should help answer upgrade questions:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/help/upgrading-from-windows-vista-to-windows-7-custom
and this one expand question 5:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/32-bit-and-64-bit-Windows-frequently-asked-questions

Since you are working with audio files you would probably notice more of a difference between 4 and 8 GB of RAM than Bob as the audio files you are working with are probably fairly large and you wouldn't be ccessing the swap file as often as with a lesser amount of RAM.

Since audio files aren't graphics intensive you probably are fine with dual monitors on your current card. Try it that way because if you do find you require a better card you can always get one but if you don't need one you are already set to go.

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uprgading
by daterdave / March 14, 2012 8:33 PM PDT

if i just install windows 32 bit twice wont i have 64 bits?

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Sure.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 14, 2012 8:42 PM PDT
In reply to: uprgading

But for other posters who may read this, no, it doesn't work like that.

Mark

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no you will have 32 bits twice.
by Edward ODaniel / March 17, 2012 3:07 PM PDT
In reply to: uprgading

only ONE of the installations will run at a time.

Try again only THINK this time. Wink

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