Will 32-bit Windows 7 work on a 64-bit system?

I had built a 32-bit desktop PC in Dec 2007 and installed on it Windows XP Prof, upgraded it to Vista, and then upgraded to Windows 7 Home Basic.

Now I am planning to build a 64-bit system. Will the same 32-bit Windows 7 work on this system? If it does not then matter ends here, but if it does, then to what extent the performance of 64-bit system may be compromised?

I have HP 1010 Laser Printer and HP F380 All-in-one. I remember, when I upgraded OS to Vista and then in quick succession to Windows 7, there were no drivers available and it took very long for HP to provide drivers but with relatively limited functionality.

That makes me wonder if these will work with 64-bit system?

Thank you.
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. You cannot upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit.

    In order to get 64-bit you need to do a complete Windows re-install (clean install).

    And to know if there drivers for your HP printers just check on the HP website.
  2. Best answer
    Can you install the 32bit Windows 7 on a 64bit system?

    You will still have all of the limitations of the 32bit Windows, though.
  3. If something has Windows 7 drivers it likely has both 32 and 64 bit versions.

    A 32 bit OS will limit your RAM to 4GB. Other than that and a few memory optimization tricks that 64 bit does better than 32 bit there is no difference. 64 bit systems will not run 16 bit programs so basically anything already obsolete when Windows XP was new will not be supported by a 64 bit OS.
  4. Hi

    most recent Intel & AMD processors support 64 bit computing
    (except Intel Atom which is possibly crippled in bios when used in Netbooks)

    If you have more than 3GB or 4GB of ram you probably should install Windows 7 x64 as 32bit Windows only recognises about 3.5GB of ram (depends on chipset & graphics card)

    But check on Driver availability first, sometimes there is a Vista 32bit driver available but not a 64bit driver for old hardware (Vista drivers often work on Windows 7)

    But there is nothing to stop you re using Windows 7 32 bit
    (provided it is a retail DVD not a OEM System Builder DVD which has license restrictions against changing the motherboard or PC)

    Software like CPU-Z will report if your old PC supports 64bit Windows


    Mike Barnes
  5. Thank you mbarnes86 and anort3 for additional details.
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