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Windows x64 or x86 for older software?

Last response: in Windows Vista
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July 26, 2012 5:31:19 AM

Hi everybody. I have a new AMD Phenom II X3 processor that I got 8GB or RAM for and it's with a GTX 560. I have old games that are under 16-bit and some old drivers etc that have only worked under 32-it but I want to use all of my 8GB of RAM. What should I do? I heard about some 32-bit hack that will let me use all of the RAM but i'm not sure about it. Any idea's??
July 26, 2012 4:30:23 PM

You're going to have to make a choice then, because Microsoft removed the PAE option that was in older versions of Windows.

There is no 16-bit support in 64-bit Windows, so that right there may be a deal breaker for you, and you cannot use 32-bit drivers on a 64-bit OS. So that may be another nail in the coffin.

One thing you can try, is installing a copy of a 32-bit version of Windows inside of a VM like VirtualBox. That may let you sort of split the difference, at the expense of some considerable additional overhead. You will need a second license for Windows to install into the VM, you cannot simply use the same disc and key for your current setup. If you wanted to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, then you could use the XP Mode to neatly solve the problem of needing a VM and second Windows license.
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July 26, 2012 6:51:08 PM

I have ALLOT of XP keys just sitting around of home edition and professional. I might get a larger 1TB hard drive and run both 32-bit and 64-bit on different partitions but I heard of some way to get around the memory limit on 32-bit somewhere.
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July 26, 2012 7:00:25 PM

On Windows 2000 and NT4 I believe, there was a PAE switch for CPUs that supported PAE, but this is no longer an option. The only solution for using 4GB+ of RAM, with Windows, is to use a 64-bit version.

Another option to consider is to have an older system running a 32-bit OS for your legacy programs and hardware, and then your new computer for everything else. The idea being to gradually replace all of the legacy hardware and software with something compatible with a 64-bit OS.
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