The Windows Vista 64-bit upgrade from Windows Marketplace requires a 64-bit operating system.

Recently there were some reports of problems installing Windows Vista from Windows Marketplace. I followed up with a couple people who were kind enough to respond and it turns out all of them were having issues installing the 64-bit edition of Windows Vista.

One of them also pointed out this thread where people are all seeing the same problem. The error message they all were seeing was the following:

Cannot extract Windows Vista Setup to your hard drive. Please ensure that you can create files and folders in the same folder where VistaSetupPrep.exe was downloaded.

Unfortunately, that error does not actually explain with the real problem is. Instead, you have to go to the log file that is created in your Temp folder called "Windows Vista Setup Preparation (NNNNN).log". Patrik, who reported problems on my blog first, provided me his log.

Preparing Windows Vista Setup...
Extracting setup files to: C:\Vista Ultimate 64bit UPGRADE\
Error 0x80070005: Failed to launch: C:\Vista Ultimate 64bit
Exiting Windows Vista Setup preparation.

The 0x80070005 error translates into E_ACCESSDENIED. But access denied isn't exactly the problem either. If you run the setup.exe in the Vista folder you'll get the real error message. I don't have the exact text in front of me but it says something like: "This is not a valid 32-bit executable".

And now we have found the actually problem. The 64-bit Windows Vista install is actually a 64-bit install executable. Therefore, you must be running a 64-bit operating system (such as Windows XP 64-bit). Unfortunately, if you are running a 32-bit operating system you cannot upgrade to a 64-bit edition of Windows Vista with the bits currently available for download from Windows Marketplace.

Didi tried to capture this fact in a bright red warning at the top of the 64-bit page. It says something like:

Warning: You must have a 64-bit capable machine running a 64-bit Windows operating system to run Windows Vista 64-bit Editions. Learn more at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/editions/64bit.mspx.

Anyway, I'm on my way out the door to go snowboarding for a couple days for some much needed R&R. I just wanted to get this information out to those of you that have seen this problem. When I get back next week, I'll follow up with answers about other questions that have been asked here and things we're planning for the near future for Windows Marketplace.