SOLVED Reinstall Win10 PC with multiple Win10, 64bit + 32bit

Aug 27, 2015
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We have an older PC running two versions of Win10, 64bit and 32bit. This also means that this PC has dual boot, so when it starts you choose which version of Windows you will start. Reason for having both 64 and 32 bit is that my wife is running some older games that don't work on 64bit, and some newer that don't run on 32bit .... sick ... puuuh :rolleyes:
Well, the PC is in need of a serious refresh, so the best option is to just reinstall it all.

The easiest way as I can see it, is just to do a regular "reinstall" from inside windows, first the 32bit, then the 64bit, ending up with a dual boot as before the reinstallation. I think there is an option when reinstalling the OS, where I say that ONLY the OS partition should be overwritten, leaving the application disk unharmed, my theory is then that the other Win version should be left unharmed.

My Q is
- Will this work, meaning will the reinstall be done on the same OS disk partition as currently?
- OR will the installation overwrite whatever is on ALL disk in the PC, meaning my dual boot will be gone4ever?

regards // Mats
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Mar 4, 2016
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Hi there,

I've been pondering your post for most of the day - thinking how I might respond.

My initial query would be why it is, a 32-bit application [ a game apparently ] is not capable of being run on a 64-bit OS.
  • Theoretically, any 32-bit application should run inside a 64-bit architecture, but as your wife has discovered, a 64-bit application will not run inside a 32-bit architecture.
  • I suspect the reason the 32-bit games are not running in Windows 10 64-bit OS, is because of the application itself, which might well have been coded for an earlier edition of Windows, [ i.e. Windows XP, or Windows 7, etcetera ]. If that is the case, then your wife ought to copy the installation file for her 32-bit games, onto the partition using the 64-bit Windows, then right-click on the installation.exe file, then select Properties, then select the Compatibility tab, then check the box next to Run this program in compatibility mode for and select an earlier edition of Windows, such as Windows 7, or XP, then click Apply.

    Note: If she does not have the installation file for the game, but does have the executable for the game itself, she can do the same with that executable.

If she can do this, then I'd highly recommend installing just the one OS, namely, your Windows 10 64-bit version.

Having said all this, I note you were concerned to maintain your current Dual Boot. Assuming you have another reason to keep the status quo, then I feel the best way to achieve this would be to create a Bootable Windows 10 Flash or USB pendrive. Given you have two different architecture editions of Windows 10 [ i.e. 33-bit & 64-bit ], it would be handy to have two drives to create the Bootable OS on, although that is not absolutely necessary.

As I'm currently logged in on a 64-bit edition of Windows 10, I'll post what you need to do to create a Windows 10 64-bit bootable USB pendrive. The information below, can be replicated for the 32-bit Windows 10 too, but you will need to be signed in to the 32-bit edition when you follow the instructions.

Now, you'll need to forgive me, because I am old school at this, so I tend not to use third party applications to do something you can do for yourself, manually, using the tools Microsoft built into their OS. As a result, warm your fingers up - you've got a bit of typing to do!

Warning: BACKUP any personal files, include those games, BEFORE continuing ! ! !
  1. First, you want to sign-in to your 64-bit version of Windows 10

  2. Once signed in, open the internet browser you prefer to use and navigate to the following location:

  3. When you are on Microsoft's website, click the Download tool now button. When your browser prompts you, you can choose to simply Run. You will see a window pop up requesting your permission to allow this app to make changes. Click Yes.

  4. The Media Creation tool will briefly prepare itself for the task ahead. When its ready, you will see this screen:


    Click the Accept button!

  5. Next, you see the message that it is getting a few things ready. Microsoft is analysing your System to offer you its recommended settings. After a few seconds, you'll be greeted by this screen:


    Check the radio button next to Create installation media . . ., then click the Next button

  6. That will take you to the following screen, filled in already for you, based on the analysis Microsoft did on your System in the last step.


    The settings offered to you are the recommended ones. You can make a change if you want to by unchecking the box next to Use the recommended options for this PC which will activate the drop arrows next to the three options presented to you.

    Once you have the options set as you want, click the Next button
  7. Next, you'll see the following screen:


    By default the radio button next to USB flash drive will be selected. You can choose that option is you want to, then follow an article on our Forum, written by Ian, located here:

    I prefer to grab the actual ISO and work with that [ because you can then save that ISO for a rainy day, to use for other things - which I won't go into just now ]. So for the purpose of this response, can you check the radio button next to ISO file, then click the Next button

  8. You'll now see the following screen:


    Select a location to save the ISO file to. I usually select the Desktop because its easy to get to for the next stage, but pick what ever location you want to, then click Save button

    At this point you'll see a screen showing you its progress, as it downloads the ISO file. When that is done, it then needs to verify the file's integrity, to ensure the downloaded file is fit for purpose.

    After verification is complete, simply click the Finish button.

    Depending on your internet speed, expect this process to take around 15 - 40 minutes.

  9. Once you have the ISO file safely saved to your Desktop or whatever location you chose to save it to, the next step is to create a Bootable Windows 10 USB pendrive - the manual way :)

    Owing to the current size of the latest ISO file, you'll be wanting a USB pendrive that is at a minimum, 8GB in size. It can be bigger if you want, but not smaller in capacity. The pendrive itself can be 2.0, or 3.0 - either is fine.

    Note: If there are any personal files on your USB pendrive you do not want to lose, now is the time to back them up in another location, as we will need to format this pendrive!

    When you're ready, plug that pendrive into your computer

  10. With the pendrive plugged in to your computer, you need to open an Administrator Command Prompt

    Press your Windows key once, then type cmd into the Cortana Search box, then press Ctrl + Shift + Return keys simultaneously

    When the User Account Control prompts you, click Yes to get to the Administrator: Command Prompt as illustrated below:


  11. At the prompt type diskpart then press Enter key


  12. That will bring you to the DISKPART > prompt as illustrated above. Here, type list disk then press Enter key


    A list of available Disks will be displayed as a result. What you are looking for is the Disk that reflects the size of your pendrives capacity. In my case, I plugged in a 32GB pendrive, and as you can see from the illustration above, Disk 6 must be my pendrive. It's normal not to see its full capacity, as there are some system files on the pendrive that use the remaining capacity.

  13. So in this example, I've identified that Disk 6 is my USB pendrive. You need to select the disk that contains your pendrive.

    To do that, type select disk 6 then press Enter key


    Note: Make sure you type the correct Disk number! Why? - because we are about to format it!

  14. Next type clean then press Enter key


    The clean command marks all files on the pendrive as deleted. This will results in all partitions and volumes being removed. Hence the importance of selecting the correct Disk # in the previous step!

  15. Since the clean command removed all partitions on the selected disk - i.e. the pendrive, we need to create a new primary partition. To do that type create partition primary then press Enter key


  16. Now you need to format the partition. To that, you need to first select the partition you intend to format. Given we have only just created one, the partition # will be 1, but if you wanted to check first, you can type list partition to see a list, and select one.

    As I just stated though, we already know there is only one partition here, so its # will be 1

    Thus, type select partition 1 then press Enter key


  17. With the partition on the USB pendrive now selected, we need to format it, so we can use it for our Windows 10 bootable device.

    Type format fs=ntfs quick then press Enter key


    Note: It will take a few seconds for the format to complete. When its done, you'll see a message conforming it succeeded.

  18. Now all we need to do it mark the partition as Active. To do that, simply, type active then press Enter key


  19. At this point the USB pendrive is ready to put the Windows 10 files onto. Type exit then press Enter key to exit out of DISKPART.


  20. Minimize the Command Prompt console to your taskbar. We'll need it again shortly.

  21. Now go to your Desktop, [ or if you saved your ISO file in a different location, go to that location ].

    Right-click on your ISO file and select Mount


    Note: If a third party application has control of your ISO - meaning you do not see the option Mount, you can instead select Open with then select Windows Explorer and click OK to mount it that way.

  22. Once mounted, you'll notice File Explorer opens and assigns it a Letter.


    Make a note of the Letters assigned! In this example the Letter assigned to the mounted ISO is K, and the Letter assigned to the pendrive being used is D

  23. Return to the Administrator: Command Prompt console. You now need to install a boot sector into the mounted ISO

    To do that you need to enter the following three commands, pressing the Enter key after each command:


    cd K:\boot

    bootsect.exe /nt60 D:


    Note: That third command must end with the Letter that is assigned to the pendrive you are intending to create the bootable Windows 10 media on!

  24. Now all we need to do is to copy the files from our mounted ISO to our pendrive, which in this case is assigned the Letter D.

    Type xcopy K:\*.* D:\ /E /H /F then press Enter key


    Note: The order of the assigned letters is important in this command. We are copying all files from the mounted ISO, which in this example means we type xcopy K:\*.* and we want to copy it to our pendrive, which in this case is assigned letter D, so we continue the command with D: \ and finally we use some flags; /E tells it to copy all subfolders, /H tells it to copy all Hidden files, and /F tells it to display the location and filename being copied, as well as the destination its going to.

    Thus, after pressing the Enter key, you'll see a tonne of text scrolling your command console.

    This will take 5 to 10 minutes to complete, depending on the speed of your computer and whether you are using a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port and pendrive.

  25. When it has completed, you will see the K:\boot > prompt again. Simply type exit and press Enter key to close the console.


    With the command prompt console closed, you now have a Windows 10 Bootable USB pendrive :)

  26. Now shut down your computer. [ Leave the pendrive plugged in to the computer, as you are about to use it when you restart ]

  27. Restart your computer, and as it starts press the key that gets you into your Bios. In my case that means I need to press Esc

  28. Once in your Bios, change the Boot order to boot from your USB pendrive first, then Save changes and exit to allow the computer to boot up from your ESB Pendrive.

  29. After a short time, you will be greeted by the initial screen to install Windows 10. Adjust the settings to your liking, then follow the prompts, adjusting or selecting items to your needs.

    Eventually, you will come to this screen:


    It's up to you, but I generally choose the second option: Custom: Install Windows only (advanced). This option will create a Windows.old directory, which contains your data from whatever Windows 10 is currently on the partition you are doing the clean install on. You can access those files once installed, but any applications that did not come with Windows will be lost.

  30. Having chosen the option you want from above screen shot, you will then be presented with this:


    Simple select the partition that contains your Windows 10 64-bit version on it, the click Next

    That will lead to this:


    Once its most of the way through Installing updates you'll be warned it will shutdown in 10 seconds.

    Note: After the above shutdown occurs, your computer will automatically restart to continue the installation process. As soon as it begins to restart you need to tap the key to get into your Bios, so you can change the boot order back to booting from your Hard disk first!

    If you don't do this you will end up back at the first screen for installing Windows 10 again. If that happens, just close the screen, which will cause the computer to restart, after you have confirmed you want to cancel installation, and then as it restarts, tap the key you need to get into your Bios, so you can reset the boot order to boot from your hard drive first.

    All going well, you'll eventually be lead to the Hello Welcome and have a fresh install of Windows 10 64-bit version.

    Time: Expect the install process, from when you first started your computer with your Windows 10 64-bit bootable pendrive, until you are at your Desktop, to take around 30 - 40 minutes.

    Note: Once you get to the Desktop, you'll want to wait a few minutes to allow it to sync settings, etcetera. It may also adjust the display driver once it recognizes your screen. You'll notice the Notification icon in the bottom right corner pumps out a few messages over those minutes.

    When you have set things up as you want via the Settings window, reset your email account(s) and so on, and have grabbed any data from the Windows.old directory [ data from your previous Windows 10 install, you can run Disk Cleanup, to remove the Windows.old folder permanently, to save space if you wish.

  31. Now return to File Explorer and right-click on your mounted USB Pendrive and select Eject


    Then on the bottom right side of taskbar, click the ^ then right-click on USB symbol and select the USB pendrive to Safely remove hardware!


    Note: You can use the same steps for your 32-bit install, but obviously you'll be wanting a 32-bit ISO to create a bootable pendrive with, and when you get to that screen where you select a Partition to install the 32-bit OS onto, make sure you select the partition with the current 32-bit OS on it.

Well that is it.


Jan 27, 2016
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Dual boot of Win10 x64 and x86 is touchy, X86 should be your Primary, then x64 as secondary, and all my x86 games install and run perfect on x64. some I have to run in compability mode.... but all work...
Aug 27, 2015
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Thanx a lot "Regedit32" ... you must have put in a lot of time to create your answer ... rly appreciate your answer.

Also thanx to "Snuffy". Actually I also have noted that the compability mode install/exec on x64 seems to work really good.

I thought this over, and I will first do a serious try to make everything running on the x64 partition. If this works, then I just remove the x86 partition and do a clean reinstall of x64 on the whole disk. Sure is the best way thinking about future maintenance.


Aug 27, 2015
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Marked this as "Solved". I skipped the dual boot and went for a single Win x64. Most of the old applications works fine with different settings for the compability mode :)

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