1. #1
    Shintaro's Avatar
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    Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    I have just come across a user that put Windows 32bit on a system that is running a 64bit processor.
    Now I think that is odd, to say the least.

    Their rationale was that they had old programs they needed to run. I politely as I could told them that is what WOW64 and XP mode were for. No answer yet. That's cool.

    But anyway, has anyone ever done that.......sucessfully?? The fact that they were able to install it suggest that it is possible.

    BTW, I know that they are running 32bit from a crash dump. Then I looked up the processor type.

    Strange or what?
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  2. #2
    Wrench97's Avatar
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    CPU's have been 64 since the single core Athlon 64 and Pentium 4 days of XP, nothing strange there, OEM systems have just started shipping with 64 bit as standard in the last year or so.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Was it a Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise version? XP mode is only available in those three. I am not familiar with XP Mode myself since I have Home Premium. I could upgrade to Professional for a low price through my student license, but I do not feel inclined to do so given the age of Windows 7 at this point. It probably won't be well supported for much longer with 8 on the horizon unless users make the same complaints as they did with XP support being revoked. From what I've heard, that won't happen.

    Back to your question: If a user running 64-bit uses XP mode, is it an XP 32-bit or XP 64-bit emulation? If it is 64-bit, that would still leave 16-bit programs unsupported. To me, the better method would be to use something like DOSBox for the 16-bit software emulation it provides. That would alleviate the need for a 32-bit OS installed on a 64-bit processor. Thoughts?
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  4. #4
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    I wouldn't do it today but in 2007, I installed 32-bit Windows Vista Ultimate on a machine with a 64-bit AMD processor. The reason I elected to install the 32-bit version was because, at that time, 64-bit drivers were few & far between.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by writhziden View Post

    Back to your question: If a user running 64-bit uses XP mode, is it an XP 32-bit or XP 64-bit emulation? If it is 64-bit, that would still leave 16-bit programs unsupported. To me, the better method would be to use something like DOSBox for the 16-bit software emulation it provides. That would alleviate the need for a 32-bit OS installed on a 64-bit processor. Thoughts?
    It an emulator so it could be either 32 bit or x64. Although if it's x64 any of the apps will most likely run on Win7.

  6. #6
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Corrine,
    How quickly I forgot about that problem. I remember there was a bit of time before there were 64bit drivers.

    As far as I understand WOW64 allows 32bit programs to run on 64bit system. The use of XP mode allows the user to drop back to 16bit for real old programs.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WOW64

    Not sure which release of Win 7 (Home, Pro.....) they are running.
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  7. #7
    writhziden's Avatar
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Thanks for clearing that up Bruce. Wasn't sure if the Microsoft emulator was the same as those used for programs like VirtualBox. I know I use VirtualBox to run XP 32-bit. Sadly, the graphics support through Virtualbox does not run some of my programs that I need it for, so when I needed those, I was running a dual boot of 7 and XP on my desktop. Now I just use VirtualBox for my 16-bit programs that do not require intense graphics use.

    Does XP Mode have the same graphics limitations, or does it do a better job with the graphics interface than VirtualBox to allow a more integrated feel? I could understand a user running a 32-bit OS if the user needed better display support for graphics intense applications.

  8. #8
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    XP Mode, as far as I know is Microsofts Virtual PC. Or some variant of it.

    The 32bit license should work on the 64bit version so long as the version is the same. For example 32bit to 64bit home.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    XP Mode in Win7 is 32-bit only.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shintaro View Post
    XP Mode, as far as I know is Microsofts Virtual PC. Or some variant of it.

    The 32bit license should work on the 64bit version so long as the version is the same. For example 32bit to 64bit home.
    XP Mode has its own Key - it's an OEM_SLP Key for XP Pro 32-bit.

    There is no such thing as 64-bit XP MOde - and I'm not sure that Windows Virtuall PC can even now run 64-bit guest machines

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  11. #11
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by NoelDP View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Shintaro View Post
    XP Mode, as far as I know is Microsofts Virtual PC. Or some variant of it.

    The 32bit license should work on the 64bit version so long as the version is the same. For example 32bit to 64bit home.
    XP Mode has its own Key - it's an OEM_SLP Key for XP Pro 32-bit.

    There is no such thing as 64-bit XP MOde - and I'm not sure that Windows Virtuall PC can even now run 64-bit guest machines
    I know that Virtual PC cannot run 64bit guest machines on a 32bit computer, even if your CPU supports it, however, I can't remember off hand whether it can do it on a 64bit host.

  12. #12
    NoelDP's Avatar
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by niemiro View Post
    I know that Virtual PC cannot run 64bit guest machines on a 32bit computer, even if your CPU supports it, however, I can't remember off hand whether it can do it on a 64bit host.
    That puts both of us in the same boat, then Richard :) - I know that VPC2007 64-bit didn't support 64-bit guests, but they revamped and renamed it for Win7 and I've not played with that at all.

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  13. #13
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corrine View Post
    I wouldn't do it today but in 2007, I installed 32-bit Windows Vista Ultimate on a machine with a 64-bit AMD processor. The reason I elected to install the 32-bit version was because, at that time, 64-bit drivers were few & far between.
    Yep... 1 member of my family that bought an early Vista x64 laptop has been running Windows 7 x86 since 2009 because I cannot find a W7 x64 wifi driver.

    Core 2 duo, 3 GB RAM - system is perfect for her needs... & the x86 wifi driver works fine!

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  14. #14
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Sorry for my lack of clarity.

    I was thinking that the user could use their 32 bit license for the 64 bit version. Weather that is Home, pro. For example Home 32 bit to Home 64 bit.

    John, did make me think that all the 64bit drivers need to be found prior to the change. But maybe it not even necessary to change if I can get the users computer going.

    The reason for XP mode was that it will allow 16 bit programs to run via WOW. Whereas WOW64 does not support 16bit programs.


    Thanks to everyone for your thoughts.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Good, informative thread.

    I found out about the x64 drivers the hard way - several installs until someone suggested that I try x86. (I learned Windows under Vista ~5 yrs ago).

    I like these threads.

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  16. #16
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    Re: Windows 7 32bit on a 64bit system? Possible or just crazy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shintaro View Post
    Sorry for my lack of clarity.

    I was thinking that the user could use their 32 bit license for the 64 bit version. Weather that is Home, pro. For example Home 32 bit to Home 64 bit.

    John, did make me think that all the 64bit drivers need to be found prior to the change. But maybe it not even necessary to change if I can get the users computer going.

    The reason for XP mode was that it will allow 16 bit programs to run via WOW. Whereas WOW64 does not support 16bit programs.


    Thanks to everyone for your thoughts.
    All Windows 7 Keys are valid in both 32-bit and 64-bit installs (one at a time!) :)

    You would have to do a reformat/reinstall to swap bitness - it requires a change in MBR, so the partition will be wiped.
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