Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Install Windows x64 Over x86: Take That, Microsoft!

Say you've got a server running Windows Server 2003 x86, and you have no CD-ROM drive, and no physical access to the box. The only way to get to it is through RDP. Now, say you want to move it to 64-bit to be able to add more RAM. It should be as simple as mounting an Windows Server x64 ISO and starting the installation from Windows, right?


You see, installing x64 from inside x86 is not allowed, Microsoft says so. You can't even do a clean install that way. So you're thinking, maybe you could do it with Windows Server 2008. right?

WRONG AGAIN! You can't do a clean install of Windows Server 2008 x64 over Windows Server 2003 x86 either. Any way you slice it, the x64 installer won't even execute on Windows x86.

I have been dealing with this problem for over a year now. My host, ServerBeach, doesn't support x64 installations yet, so I've been SOL. Last week, I set out to find the solution. ServerBeach graciously offered their assistance, since other clients have been asking for this too, and their support has been amazing.

Well, after beating my head against my desk for the past week, today I finally accomplished it: a completely unattended upgrade to Windows Server 2008 x64 from inside Windows Server 2003 x86. It turns out, there are actually two ways this is possible, neither of which is for the faint of heart. Once will only work for WS2008, and the other will work for both WS2003 and WS2008.

Right now, I'm trying to buy new servers in ServerBeach's Texas data center so I can beef up my hosting network, but as soon as I can, I'll be documenting the process step-by-step, so that others may do the same.

I'm so happy right now I could explode. Woo hoo!



  • Michael said:

    I love breakthroughs.

    August 8, 2007 9:03 PM
  • Y2K said:

    Really????Tell us how...

    August 9, 2007 4:44 AM
  • Feelam said:

    How to? is that true?

    August 9, 2007 5:40 AM
  • Fred Beiderbecke said:

    Is this possible with Vista?  To go from Ultimate x86 to Ultimate x64 would be nice.

    August 9, 2007 6:30 AM
  • xeonfeng said:

    Good news~

    August 9, 2007 8:28 AM
  • Rtury said:

    ....真的假的 ? 为啥不透露点呢

    August 9, 2007 8:40 AM
  • John Obeto said:

    Rob, are you freakin' kiddin'?

    Dude, I've gotta blog this......a real godsend!

    August 9, 2007 8:36 PM
  • Mattias said:

    "You see, installing x64 from inside x86 is not allowed, Microsoft says so."

    So are you violating some EULAs by doing this? Why is this not allowed? It would be interesting to hear Microsofts responce.

    August 10, 2007 9:30 AM
  • August 12, 2007 6:34 PM
  • pashvin said:

    When are you going to submit instructions?

    August 15, 2007 7:43 PM
  • Mattias said:

    are you going to answer the questions and comments to this entry?

    September 2, 2007 11:59 PM
  • Garrett said:

    yes, we are anxious for this article, I would be willing to even help you proofread, edit, create it!!!

    September 6, 2007 3:56 PM
  • dotnetjunkie said:

    Any update on this?

    We are dying to hear your solution!

    September 23, 2007 6:45 AM