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XP Pro 32 bit to Windows 7 64 bit?

Last response: in Windows 7
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April 10, 2011 3:55:09 PM

Current system:
Dell 530 Q6600
3GB
EVGA 8600GT
Windows XP Pro 32 bit

1. PC is about 3 years old so given the accumulated programs etc, if I'm generally satisfied with current performance and not necessarily planning to upgrade, would it make more sense (less headaches etc) to just commit this machine to 32 bit Win 7 rather than attempt 64 bit upgrade? From what I understand, if not upgrading RAM etc and since I have no 64 bit applications, the slight performance improvement of 64 bit on this machine would not outweigh the potential driver issues I may encounter when going from 32 bit to 64?

2. Also,would there be any issue with Office 2003, currently on above PC, if I installed 64 bit Win 7?

fyi - home Network includes this machine and an XP Pro Laptop 32 bit...plan to purchase laptop with W7 64bit and later a scratch desktop build, obviously W7 64 bit.


Thanks in advance for the help.

More about : pro bit windows bit

a b $ Windows 7
April 11, 2011 2:30:25 AM

I don't believe that you can upgrade to either 32 or 64 bit versions of W7 from XP- you'll have to do a clean install. Unless you use applications that require a lot of RAM, it would be easier to just go with W7 32 bit.

In regard to Office, I've noticed that some have had issues with 2003 and 2007 on W7, while others haven't. With a clean install, I don't see there being any issues though.
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April 11, 2011 2:40:40 AM

Thanks....I expect I'll need to perform clean install. But basically I'm wondering if, given I obviously have zero 64 bit applications currently, installing W7 64 is worth the potential hassle of driver/app issues etc versus whatever performance gain.

Maybe just save whatever $$ from adding RAM etc for future build if not much performance gain and just install 32 bit W7 and let this become the #2 when I attempt my first build?

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a b $ Windows 7
April 11, 2011 4:01:35 AM

There's more benefits to going with the 64 bit OS. It can recognize more RAM, but you also have the virtual XP mode, if you want to run 32 bit applications.

You will need to do a custom install, to go from XP 32 bit, to Windows 7 64 bit.
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April 11, 2011 4:47:05 AM

aford10 said:
There's more benefits to going with the 64 bit OS. It can recognize more RAM, but you also have the virtual XP mode, if you want to run 32 bit applications.

You will need to do a custom install, to go from XP 32 bit, to Windows 7 64 bit.


"More benefits"? Please exlain.

Would you say that 64 bit Win 7 with XP mode necessarily protects me from incompatibility issues with my current 32 bit system?
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April 11, 2011 6:00:34 AM

The 64 bit mode will run 32 bit software but it has to emulate a 32 bit enviroment when it runs, as I understand. There have been some noted incompatibility issues but a lot of it was with stuff that you would have issues with on XP anyways.

Edit: some examples include older programs that you'd see in a business enviroment (number crunchers that don't update often) and older games (you'd be surprised how may people play flight sims/ flight combat games from like 98)
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a b $ Windows 7
April 11, 2011 12:30:59 PM

kramerica20 said:
"More benefits"? Please exlain.

Would you say that 64 bit Win 7 with XP mode necessarily protects me from incompatibility issues with my current 32 bit system?


Can use more RAM
Digitally signed drivers for security
Greater ability to multitask


Also, in addition to the virtual XP mode (32 bit environment), most 32 bit applications will run right there in 64 bit windows 7. See the picture below. It allows for 32 bit and 64 bit applications to be installed.

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a b $ Windows 7
April 11, 2011 12:33:00 PM

internetlad said:
The 64 bit mode will run 32 bit software but it has to emulate a 32 bit enviroment when it runs, as I understand. There have been some noted incompatibility issues but a lot of it was with stuff that you would have issues with on XP anyways.

Edit: some examples include older programs that you'd see in a business enviroment (number crunchers that don't update often) and older games (you'd be surprised how may people play flight sims/ flight combat games from like 98)


The problem isn't so much with the applications, as it is with peripherals. The virtual XP environment isn't much help there.
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April 11, 2011 3:15:27 PM

aford10 said:
Can use more RAM
Digitally signed drivers for security
Greater ability to multitask


Also, in addition to the virtual XP mode (32 bit environment), most 32 bit applications will run right there in 64 bit windows 7. See the picture below. It allows for 32 bit and 64 bit applications to be installed.
]http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/730/windows764bittwoprogram.png


I was steering toward just installing 32 bit on this machine (Dell 530 q6600, 3 gb ram - would consider this upgrade since fairly cheap, 8600GT), but with all your help, I'm leaning back toward 64 bit as I've confirmed my printer, Brother 7820N will work with 64 bit, as will the old video card.

I'm all about needing to multitask - gigantic outlook pst's simultaneously with multi-tabbed firefox, word excel, itunes, picasa, and other misc software. My current system is just now beginning to show slight symptoms of sluggishness and if it's not too cumbersome, i.e. your helpful screenshot above, maybe it does not make alot of sense to use x86 version?

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a b $ Windows 7
April 11, 2011 6:56:04 PM

I would.

There is already solid support for 64 bit systems. But I think you're going to see a more widespread support coming for 64 bit systems.
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a b $ Windows 7
April 11, 2011 7:23:16 PM

The common 64bit chips we consumers run don't emulate a 32bit environment. Servers chips like Intel's Itanium would need to do that. The biggest issues you have with win7 64bit is driver support for older hardware, and old games that use a 16bit .exe file. Win7 64bit can't open those as they dropped 16bit support. The 32bit copy can.

I recently decided to do this very upgrade. I picked the 64bit copy because I have no "old" hardware and I wanted the more memory support. I haven't encountered any issues so far.
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a b $ Windows 7
April 11, 2011 7:38:17 PM

4745454b said:
The common 64bit chips we consumers run don't emulate a 32bit environment. Servers chips like Intel's Itanium would need to do that.


Not true. I currently have several 'common' CPUs, running the virtual XP mode.
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a b $ Windows 7
April 11, 2011 9:01:46 PM

You misunderstand. They can run a VM just fine, but they don't NEED to emulate a 32bit environment. I wish I could explain it better. Virtual machine != emulation.
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April 12, 2011 1:24:33 PM

I think I found a sticking point. I've been reading that my Dell Motherboard model # 0FM586 is limited by 4GB max RAM? I currently have 3gb total across 4 dimms. I realize 4GB is the starting point for 64 bit W7, so if the motherboard limitation is true, 4GB seems low for 64bit in practical terms?
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a b $ Windows 7
April 12, 2011 1:43:40 PM

If you're not going to go beyond your 3GB, then you won't see all the benefits. At that point, it's really up to you.
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April 12, 2011 8:12:31 PM

Is it true that 4GB is minimum memory for 64-bit? I have a system similar to kramerica20 with 4GB memory installed. Since it is maxed out, does that mean that I MUST go with 32-bit upgrade?
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a b $ Windows 7
April 12, 2011 8:59:18 PM

SouthernMan said:
Is it true that 4GB is minimum memory for 64-bit? I have a system similar to kramerica20 with 4GB memory installed. Since it is maxed out, does that mean that I MUST go with 32-bit upgrade?


Not at all. You can run the 64 bit version with as little as 2GB (recommended amount) of RAM. It's just that the 64 bit version is capable of utilizing more than the ~3.2GB that the 32 bit version is limited to.
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a b $ Windows 7
April 12, 2011 9:02:15 PM

I don't understand your question SouthernMan. 4 gb is recommend to operate smoothly,just like 2gb is recommend for the 32bit systems to run without noticeable slow downs. If you have 4 gb ram right now I would go with the 64 bit operating system, since graphic cards also affect the 4GB limit: Meaning you have a 1gb graphicard installed, only 3gb or less of your ram would be usable. I wouldn't worry about not being able to install additional ram, since 4gb is really more than enough for the average user.

The only reason to go with a 32bit, would be for compatibility reasons. Some older hardware will not have vista or windows 7 drivers for 64 bit, while there might be drivers for 32 bit. This is especially true for OEM hardware from the likes of Sony, hp or dell where they never created 64bit drivers for some older models (2007 and back). In those cases putting a 64bit os would render you with a half working machine and a lot of headaches. I did an install on an older sony vaio and it was a nightmare to get working with windows 7 since there were literally no drivers available.

A lot of times it is actually easier to find drivers for a custom built machine, since the manufactures actually care to make their old products compatible with newer Operating Systems, Sony just told me to go buy a new laptop if I wanted to use windows 7.
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April 12, 2011 9:03:07 PM

I probably need to confirm whether the motherboard supports 64bit OS.

Does W7 32 bit take advantage of the mutli core CPU (as well as 64 bit), or is that entirely application dependent?
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a b $ Windows 7
April 12, 2011 9:13:05 PM

Really application dependent. I've switched to 64bit on 3 machines, while 2 older machines only worked in 32 bit. Considering your machine is fairly new, I would imagine them to offer drivers. I installed win7 on a similar aged HP workstation without problems.

Check this website for compatibility http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/supp...
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April 12, 2011 9:15:35 PM

Supermuncher85 said:
I don't understand your question SouthernMan. 4 gb is recommend to operate smoothly,just like 2gb is recommend for the 32bit systems to run without noticeable slow downs. If you have 4 gb ram right now I would go with the 64 bit operating system, since graphic cards also affect the 4GB limit: Meaning you have a 1gb graphicard installed, only 3gb or less of your ram would be usable. I wouldn't worry about not being able to install additional ram, since 4gb is really more than enough for the average user.

The only reason to go with a 32bit, would be for compatibility reasons. Some older hardware will not have vista or windows 7 drivers for 64 bit, while there might be drivers for 32 bit. This is especially true for OEM hardware from the likes of Sony, hp or dell where they never created 64bit drivers for some older models (2007 and back). In those cases putting a 64bit os would render you with a half working machine and a lot of headaches. I did an install on an older sony vaio and it was a nightmare to get working with windows 7 since there were literally no drivers available.

A lot of times it is actually easier to find drivers for a custom built machine, since the manufactures actually care to make their old products compatible with newer Operating Systems, Sony just told me to go buy a new laptop if I wanted to use windows 7.

Thanks for the clarification about Win7 practical memory requirements. I was thinking that if 4GB was the absolute min. memory as suggested by kramerica20, then it would not be wise for me to go to 64-bit. Looks like kramerica and I both need to check with Dell about 64-bit support for our systems.
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a b $ Windows 7
April 12, 2011 9:40:17 PM

Yeah that should be your first step. Check the link I posted earlier that should tell your right away if it works or not, then I would check again your specific computer download section if for some reason they forgot to updated that compatibility list with your specific machine.

Also check that the other components you own work with windows 7! This includes wirless cards (this can be a real pain!), printers and scanners you might have. The more research you do now, the less of headache and surprises you will have later! Most of the time visiting the appropriate manufacturers site and checking their respective download section should give you a good picture of the driver situation. Alternatively, and probably a lot faster, doing a quick google search for *product name windows 7 compatibility* should give you fairly quick answer as to how well the driver situation is for your specific products.

Windows 7 hardware recognition is remarkably good, but not everything works all the time. I prefer to have any special drivers on hand (cd/usb stick) prior to installing the os.
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