Converting a 32 bit to a 64 bit VM in Vsphere?


Some time ago I defined a Windows Server 2003 VM in Vsphere 4.1 and chose the default options.  One of those probably was using a 32 bit vCPU.  I wanted to upgrade that VM to Windows Server 2008 but the upgrade blue screened on me.  Not sure, but I suspect it is looking for the 64 bit instruction set and can't see it.

Is there a way to determine if this VM is defined as 32 bit only, and if so, is there a way to 'upgrade' the cpu to 64 bit?

Thanks much!

Ben ConnerCTO, SAS developerAsked:
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R. Andrew KoffronCommented:
not 100% sure, but without some weird hacky stuff  but I don't think there's anyway to change the OS from 32 to 64 bit in the OS, so why bother with the VM instance?, just setup a new VM as 64bit and migrate to the 64 one.
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
If you are running a Windows 32 bit Operating System you cannot upgrade to a 64 bit Operating System, it is a full reload.

You also need to ensure that your System supports Intel VT (your ESX/ESXi host) to allow for 64 bit guests.

If you boot the virtual machine and look at system properties it will tell you if it's a 64 bit Windows 2003 OS, otherwise it's 32 bit and you have to rip and replace.
Even if you discovered it was 32 bit only, you cannot 'upgrade' the cpu to 64 bit. As Harel suggested, all you can do it set up a new 64 bit installation.
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Not possible.
Ben ConnerCTO, SAS developerAuthor Commented:
The approach I was going to take was to see if I could switch the CPU to a 64 bit emulation, then immediately install W2008 R2 and hopefully it would see the prior version and do an upgrade.  That's what snapshots are for.   Never hurts to ask. :)

Wasn't expecting the Win 2003 to run on a 64 bit architecture.


R. Andrew KoffronCommented:
are you severely limited for space? why not just make a new VM and copy over the files? delete the old one when you're 100% happy with the new one.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. Power Off the Virtual Machine.

2. Edit the Settings for the Virtual Machine.

3. Select the Options Tab in the Virtual Machine

4. Select the 64 bit Windows version required.

 Select the 64 bit Windows version required in the Virtual Machine
This utility will check if you are running a 64 bit processor

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Ben ConnerCTO, SAS developerAuthor Commented:
Hi Harel66,

Not at all. :)  This server has been around for years and has layer upon layer of applications on it and configuration.  To redo all that from scratch would take a good while and lots of chipped teeth.  Would like to avoid that if at all possible.

Ben ConnerCTO, SAS developerAuthor Commented:
The best type of solution (such as the one presented) is where you go 'Oh!  That was obvious.' after you read it.  But it never is at the time.  Thanks!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The simplest solutions are always the best, and we are often blinded! (well I am!). Just needs two heads sometimes! Good Luck.
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