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

Updated Jul 27, 2023



  • PXI Controller


  • PXI Platform Services

Operating System

  • Windows

  • I would like to change or update the OS on my PXI(e) controller. Is there a recommended way to do so and will NI 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?

Depending on your controller's model, it is possible to change your Windows OS. NI will still provide support for the controller if that PXI(e) controller still has (or previously had) support for that OS. After installation, 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 NI and you will be responsible for purchasing the license and transitioning the appropriate OS. The exception is if you have purchased a PXI-8840, PXIe-8840, PXIe-8821 or PXIe-8880 controller with Windows 7 and would like to upgrade it to Windows 10. Since these are sold in both OS variants, you can do this upgrade by either purchasing Windows 10 license from Microsoft and performing a clean install on your controller or by purchasing a Windows 7 to Windows 10 IoT Field Upgrade Kit (PN 787535-03) from NI. This kit provides you with the proper image and license to upgrade your controller to Windows 10. Please contact your local NI Sales Representative to get more information on this kit.

Changing OS Bitness: 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?.

Downgrading Windows OS: If the controller is now sold with a newer version of Windows, but there exists an older PXI Platform Services version compatible with it and with 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 and Peripheral Drivers.

Upgrading Windows OS:

  • 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 controller has, check the processor compatibility in Does My Intel® Processor Support Microsoft Windows® 10?. In general, NI 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 appropriate Windows Peripheral Driver from the link at the beginning of this article. 

  • 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.

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. NI cannot replace recovery discs if the CD is misplaced or harmed. You will have to return the device via RMA for NI 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. Alternatively, you can purchase a Windows 10 IoT Enterprise USB Recovery Media For PXI (PN: 787269-03) from NI.

Upgrading OS via Generic USB Recovery Media: While It is possible to upgrade your controller using the Generic Windows Recovery Media provided by Microsoft, it is not recommended or supported by NI. Upgrading in this manner will use the Upgrade Install as the Default Installation method whereas NI recommends and supports only a clean Installation for upgrading its controllers.