Change or Update the Windows OS on PXI(e) Controller

Updated Nov 14, 2019

Reported In


  • PXI Controller


  • PXI Platform Services

Operating System

  • Windows

Issue Details

  • I would like to change or update the operating system (OS) on my PXI(e) controller. Is there a recommended way to do so, and will National Instruments continue to provide support for the controller if I do?
  • Will the product key associated with Windows X 32-bit be compatible with Windows X 64-bit?
  • Can I perform a clean install of Windows on my PXI(e) controller?


Yes, you can change your operating system, and NI will still provide support for the controller if that PXI(e) controller still has (or previously had) support for that OS. After installing the new OS, you will need to install the corresponding software that matches the OS and controller model:
Note: You will not be able to buy the new operating system through us. You will be responsible for purchasing the license for the appropriate OS and transitioning the OS. Keep in mind that after doing so, you should ensure that the proper NI drivers are installed. 

Downgrading Windows Operating Systems 
If the controller is now sold with a newer version of Windows, but there exists an older PXI Platform Services version for the Windows version you are downgrading to, the controller can be downgraded and will work properly provided you install the appropriate version of PXI Platform Services.

Upgrading Windows Operating Systems
Windows 10
Controllers installed with Windows 7 that have compatible chipsets for Windows 10 should be able to support Windows 10. To check what chipset your computer has, check the processor compatibility in 'Does My Intel® Processor Support Microsoft Windows® 10?. In general, National Instruments does not provide support if you do choose to upgrade these controllers. Please call NI to determine if we support the upgrade for the controller. If you decide to do this, be sure to download the Windows 7 Peripheral Support Driver from the link at the beginning of this article. 

Note: As of July 2017, the NI-8840, NI-8821, and NI-8880 are all currently sold with Windows 10 and Windows 7. If you purchased these devices previously with an older OS, you should be able to install Windows 10 and the proper drivers successfully. All Windows 10 devices are compatible with all updates of Windows 10.

Windows XP and Windows 7
In situations where you are upgrading to Windows XP from a previous upgrade, it may be beneficial to reach out to NI Support before continuing to ensure that the products have not reached end-of-life (EOL), as they may no longer be supported.

32- vs. 64-bit Product Licenses
The Windows OS license will activate both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Please refer to 'Is a Windows 7 license key valid for both 32-bit and 64-bit?'


Additional Information

Professional and Enterprise Licenses
The specifications sheet for any given controller will denote the type of license it ships with. This is not something that can be changed upon shipping the controller. The end user is free to install their preferred version on the controller once it is in their possession.

Recovery Disc Replacement
Recovery discs are sent out for specific controllers and Windows operating systems at purchase. National Instruments cannot replace recovery discs if the CD is misplaced or harmed. You will have to return the device via RMA for National Instruments to reinstall the OS that it was shipped with. Alternatively, you can purchase recovery media from NI as long as it is for the same OS your controller was sold with. Lastly, you can purchase a new license from Microsoft. 

If you are prompted to re-activate your  Windows OS with a Product Registration Key, please follow the instructions in Windows Product Registration key for My NI Controller.

Note: Recovery CDs are no longer sent out with Windows 10. All Windows 10 recovery information and images can be found online.