How to fix: 'This app can't run on your PC' when attempting Windows 10 64-bit Upgrade

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Frank C. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Thanks for your excellent articles on Windows 10. A few weeks ago I upgraded to Windows 10 32-bit, but now I want to upgrade to Windows 10 64-bit. I read your article, 'How to Upgrade from Windows 10 32-bit to 64-bit', but I don't understand why I am receiving the error 'this app can't run on your PC' when attempting to run the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. I have verified that my processor supports 64-bit, so I don't understand why I am being plagued by this error message. Do you have any idea how I can fix this problem so I can upgrade to Windows 10 64-bit? "

My response:

I have been asked this question many times in the past and for some reason I'm still being asked the same question (even though I've answered it in my previous article).

So, here is the answer again in more detail.

If you:

  • Are currently running Windows 10 32-bit and you want to upgrade to Windows 10 64-bit, and
     
  • You have downloaded the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft's website in order to download the Windows 10 64-bit ISO, and
     
  • You have verified that your processor is in fact 64-bit capable, and
     
  • You receive the error message that "this app can't run on your PC",

... then the reason you receive the error message that "this app can't run on your PC" is because you downloaded the wrong version of the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

Two Versions of the Media Creation Tool: 32-bit and 64-bit

If you go to Microsoft's website, you will have two versions of the Media Creation Tool choose from: one is 32-bit, and the other is 64-bit.

The 32-bit version of the Media Creation Tool can run on 32-bit Windows as well as 64-bit Windows because 32-bit programs are backwards compatible on 64-bit operating systems. However, the 64-bit version of the Media Creation Tool will only run on 64-bit Windows. So, if you downloaded the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool 64-bit onto Windows 10 32-bit, you will receive the error "this app can't run on your PC" because you are attempting to run a 64-bit executable program on a 32-bit operating system.

If that doesn't make sense to you, please re-read the above paragraph a few times until it does.

It's also worth noting here (in case there is some confusion) that the Media Creation Tool is simply an executable program designed to download the Windows 10 64-bit image (ISO) file onto your machine. The Media Creation Tool is not the actual Windows 10 64-bit "installer", so to speak - it is simply a program which is used to obtain the Windows 10 image file. Therefore, you must download the Media Creation Tool 32-bit if you are using Windows 10 32-bit in order to download Windows 10 64-bit image file.

Once you have the 32-bit Media Creation Tool downloaded, launch it. IMPORTANT: Do not select the option "Upgrade this PC now" from within the Media Creation Tool because it will automatically download 32-bit Windows 10 instead of downloading 64-bit Windows 10, leaving you with no choice in the matter.

Instead, choose the option to Create installation media for another PC which will then allow you to download the 64-bit Windows 10 as an image (ISO), then you can write it to DVD or USB. That way, you can re-use the DVD or USB later in case you need to do a Windows Repair Install if Windows 10 ever gets corrupted.

How to Install Windows 10 64-bit after using the Media Tool

Now, please read carefully:

Once you have the Windows 10 64-bit ISO written to DVD or USB, you must reboot the computer and boot from the DVD or USB in order to start the Windows 10 64-bit installation. If you attempt to run the setup.exe file which is located on the Windows 10 64-bit DVD or USB from within your Windows 10 32-bit operating system environment, you will receive the error that "this app cannot run on your PC" for the same reason I already mentioned above. Therefore the only way to run the Windows 10 64-bit installation is if you reboot the machine using the Windows 10 USB or DVD, because it effectively takes you out of the 32-bit Windows environment and allows you to run the 64-bit Windows installation.

Once the Windows 10 64-bit installation has started after reboot, then you must format your hard drive (or partition) in order to upgrade from Windows 10 32-bit to Windows 10 64-bit because Windows 10 32-bit operating system executables are not compatible with Windows 10 64-bit.

Having said that, you will then therefore need to reinstall all your programs (preferably using 64-bit versions) when you have Windows 10 64-bit installed on your computer.

I hope that makes things clear.

It's also worth nothing that everything I've mentioned above holds true if you are upgrading from any 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version. For example, if you wanted to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 32-bit to Windows 7 or 8 64-bit, the same is true.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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