how do I upgrade windows vista 32 bit to windows 7 64 bit

I have a windows vista 32 bit system.  I want to upgrade that pc to windows 7 64 bit because my licensed cd (purchased recently) is a windows 64 bit version.  How do I do this?  I want to retain my files, and programs if possible.  I will do a clean install if I have to but then I would have to reinstall all of my programs.
Richard ChristensenRetired computer technicianAsked:
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Michael DyerSenior Systems Support AnalystCommented:
If you want to move from 32 bit Vista to 64 bit Windows 7, upgrading is not an option.  You have to back up your files and choose the Custom option during the Windows 7 installation.  

You should run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to confirm that your computer will support Windows 7 64 bit.  You can find that here:

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Michael DyerSenior Systems Support AnalystCommented:
For more information, check out the "Upgrading to Windows 7: frequently asked questions" at this page:
Richard ChristensenRetired computer technicianAuthor Commented:
I guess that means that I would have to reinstall all my programs?  is that correct?
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Michael DyerSenior Systems Support AnalystCommented:
that is correct - your programs are currently installed as 32 programs and they will have to be reinstalled to support the 64 bit environment.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I cannot add anything to what Michael has said about doing a fresh install of a 64-bit operating system and re-installing software.

A word about software, however.  Drivers and network software normally need to be 64-bit or 64-bit compliant. On the other hand, Microsoft continues to recommend Office 32-bit (I use 32-bit Office) and I also recommend 32-bit Flash, Adobe and Java.

So a lot of your 32-bit software will work just fine, but drivers and network software will likely need to be 64-bit.
An interesting twist I guess: your product key can be used with the 32-bit-setup as well, so you could upgrade if you wanted. If you don't plan to use more than 4 GB RAM, there's no drawback in using the 32 bit version.
also - look if the 64 bit drivers are available for your devices
often there are no drivers for severla older devices
Richard ChristensenRetired computer technicianAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all for your helpful advice.
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