32 bit running with a capable 64 bit CPU

Out of curiousity, my copy of Windows 7 is 64 bit, I am well aware of what the differences and I know this does not make much sense, but out of curiosity could I install a 32 bit operating system on a CPU that says 64 bit certified, I am wondering because my buddy recently used an old copy of windows xp cause he hates 7, I could have sworn his Windows 7 was 64 bit and then i looked on his xp and he has a 32 bit, everything seems to run fine except Steam games and belive we have tried every steam forum help possible to no luck so i was just wondering if it was possible that his old os was 64 bit and he installed 32 bit and that might be whats causing the problems. Thanks
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More about running capable
  1. 64-bit Intel and AMD processors have a 32-bit mode in which they are identical to a 32-bit processor (in just the same way that they - and 32-bit processors - have a 16-bit "real" mode that makes them the equivalent of the original 8086). But it does mean that you are not using about 66% of the potential of the processor. It's a bit like having a V8 and then pulling the spark-plug leads off 5 of the cylinders.

    So, yes, you could install a 32-bit OS on your PC.
  2. I have 4 Core2 systems running quite happily on 32 bit XP - well, three now. I picked up a Win7 Family Pack when I was home on vacation last year and I'm changing three of them over.

    Biggest advantage that I have seen so far is complete access to all of my memory.
  3. Hmmmm this could be the answer to my friends Steam problem!!!!!! Thanks guy, I am going to install a linux 64 bit and see if steam works.
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