You need to be very careful when you want to upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 8. Microsoft, for whatever reason, decided to make things complicated. If you run the Upgrade Advisor to buy a copy of Windows 8 online, you will always get the version of Windows 8 that is corresponding to the currently installed version of the operating system. So, if you are running the Upgrade Assistant on a 32-bit version you will end up with a 32-bit Windows 8 version, while running it on a 64-bit version of Windows will result in a 64-bit version of Windows 8.
That's not a problem if you do not want to switch from 32-bit to 64-bit during the upgrade, but if you do, you will notice that you can't do that at all. If you are unlucky, you will notice once the system is up and running after the installation.
Can I upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 8?
Yes, but you can't do this using Upgrade Assistant. If your PC has a 64-bit capable processor (CPU) but is currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can install a 64-bit version of Windows 8, but you'll need to buy Windows 8 as a DVD.
In short: you can't use the Upgrade Assistant to upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 8.
It won't work if you run the installation directly using the Upgrade Assistant, and it won't work if you select to burn the operating system to DVD or copy it on an USB Flash Drive instead.
If you have the option, you can run the Upgrade Assistant on a 64-bit version of Windows and burn the contents to DVD or copy it on a flash drive. If you do not have the option available to you, you need to buy a 64-bit retail upgrade copy of Windows 8 instead or select the backup media add-on option during the purchase which also includes two discs. The retail copy includes two discs, one for 32-bit and one for 64-bit.
I'm not sure why Microsoft is making it that difficult for customers who try to upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit during the upgrade. It certainly would not be a problem for the company to add an advanced configuration to the Upgrade Assistant that can be used to pick the version of Windows you want to upgrade to.
Microsoft notes that you can't keep any files, settings or software programs when you upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit.
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