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Can I run 64 bit AND 32 bit Windows 7 on the same PC?

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  • Windows 7
Last response: in Windows 7
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June 3, 2012 2:03:17 PM

Hey guys!
So basically what's up is that my Dell Inspiron 530 runs the 32 bit version of Win7. I opened it up a few weeks ago and I saw that I could upgrade it a lot from it's current condition. I'm thinking of buying two sticks of DDR2 2GB RAM's, so it'll boost my RAM to a steady 6GB for a low-moderate gaming PC. However, the problem I'm having is that I run 32 bit Win7, which supports only 4GB's of RAM. I know 4GB is steady for a gaming PC, but I already have bought the two sticks.
Now to the part of why I'm asking this- My PC is fully loaded with a bunch of my dad's business software, which, sadly, runs on 32 bit only. So I want my PC to run both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Win7. (My PC is compatible with x64, JIC). Can I do this? If so, how?

MY SPECS-
Intel Pentium Dual Core @2.5 GHz OC'd to 3.0 GHz
Win7 Ultimate x86
Intel G33 (getting my HD 6670 soon)
2GB RAM
350W PSU

More about : run bit bit windows

a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:07:24 PM

Yes you can. Just not at the same time.
Usually, each OS will need to be installed in separate hard drives or partitions on a hard drive.

The 'easy option' is to upgrade to 4GB of RAM and keep your 32bit OS.

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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:08:08 PM

How much free space do you have on the HDD?
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June 3, 2012 2:12:53 PM

WR2 said:
How much free space do you have on the HDD?

On the C:\ drive? Or on the D:\ drive?
C:\ - 61.8GB
D:\- 135GB

Both combined- 196.8GB

And, as you said, I would probably take the 'easy' option, but then I'll have a stick of RAM extra that, even if I gave to a friend, wouldn't want it at all as they all have a good amount of RAM on their PC's.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:14:41 PM

It's a better option that buying a new hard drive.

What else is on that D: drive?
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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:16:24 PM

Drive C: doesn't have enough space for a full OS install, plus the usual software and a half dozen of so games.
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June 3, 2012 2:18:13 PM

WR2 said:
It's a better option that buying a new hard drive.

What else is on that D: drive?

I've actually specially left it empty for a fresh OS install :p 
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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:20:09 PM

Really all you need to do is go ahead and install Win7 64bit on the D: drive.

Just be very careful it's the D: drive.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:22:45 PM

given the use of a 6670, and a pentium dual core you'll be somewhat overbalanced on memory if you hit 6GB, so its not realy worth the effort, essentially anything that uses that much memory will need more than a 6670 and a P2.4, your PSU at 350W is too weak to go beyond a 6670, so you are looking at a decent refurb to take advantage of anything that can utilise a 64bit OS. IMO.
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June 3, 2012 2:23:52 PM

Thanks! I just asked on the forum to make sure I wouldn't do anything wrong :) 
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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:24:01 PM

You'll be using the Custom (advanced) option during installation so you can choose the right drive.
Everything after that is a normal install.
When installation is complete you'll see a Windows Boot Manager screen with two options.

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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:25:42 PM

note that you probably can't use the same key on a 32bit and 64bit OS at the same time, it'll keep wanting you to enter the key if you use the same key. I believe this to be the case unless anyone knows otherwise.
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June 3, 2012 2:25:57 PM

13thmonkey said:
given the use of a 6670, and a pentium dual core you'll be somewhat overbalanced on memory if you hit 6GB, so its not realy worth the effort, essentially anything that uses that much memory will need more than a 6670 and a P2.4, your PSU at 350W is too weak to go beyond a 6670, so you are looking at a decent refurb to take advantage of anything that can utilise a 64bit OS. IMO.


Well, I could easily buy a 450W PSU from Antec, I found one at around $39.99 and it's well under my budget...
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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:28:40 PM

You'll probably want to make your Dad's Win7 32bit boot option the default.

To help you set up the options you might like to check out EasyBCD.
It's a handy Boot Manager utility.
http://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/

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June 3, 2012 2:29:07 PM

WR2 said:
You'll be using the Custom (advanced) option during installation so you can choose the right drive.
Everything after that is a normal install.
When installation is complete you'll see a Windows Boot Manager screen with two options.

http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/2009-01-18_212848.png


Okay, so basically let's just say the Boot Manager doesn't come up. Is there any key to bring it up manually? I know it's stupid to ask, but I just want to make myself covered from all angles.
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June 3, 2012 2:30:17 PM

13thmonkey said:
note that you probably can't use the same key on a 32bit and 64bit OS at the same time, it'll keep wanting you to enter the key if you use the same key. I believe this to be the case unless anyone knows otherwise.

It's no big deal, since I'm buying 64-bit, I'm probably getting a license key with it....
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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:31:28 PM

Since you're using only Windows 7 you don't have to worry about other boot loader issues. If it were a WinXP or Linux install there might have been extra steps to get XP boot loader or Linux Grub loader playing nicely.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:33:04 PM

cool that's fine, I know when I brought mine it came with 32 and 64 disks. Just wanted to be sure you knew. WR2 definitely knows what he's talking about. And easyBCD can force the boot manager to come up.
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June 3, 2012 2:43:47 PM

13thmonkey said:
cool that's fine, I know when I brought mine it came with 32 and 64 disks. Just wanted to be sure you knew. WR2 definitely knows what he's talking about. And easyBCD can force the boot manager to come up.

Ok, so that's why you told me that... In my area they sell the two separately, so it's easier but a bit more expensive.
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June 3, 2012 2:45:04 PM

WR2 said:
Since you're using only Windows 7 you don't have to worry about other boot loader issues. If it were a WinXP or Linux install there might have been extra steps to get XP boot loader or Linux Grub loader playing nicely.

Oh okay, so only for XP and Linux you have to do this? Okay then, I guess I'm covered!
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a b $ Windows 7
June 3, 2012 2:45:23 PM

Actually, I think C: 32b it will be the first OS as default.
The actual Boot Loader should be on the C: drive. As in, it's already there.
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June 3, 2012 2:47:38 PM

Okay, 13thmonkey and WR2, thanks for all the help! I really appreciate it, and maybe in a few days I'll be going through the x64 bit install, and hopefully it goes well!
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June 3, 2012 2:48:32 PM

Best answer selected by Justgotowned.
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June 4, 2012 5:44:49 PM

shouldnt have gotten a 32 bit in the first place
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a b $ Windows 7
June 4, 2012 5:49:39 PM

adhdpimp said:
shouldnt have gotten a 32 bit in the first place


nice contribution, was it really worth the typing?
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June 4, 2012 6:33:35 PM

yes
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a b $ Windows 7
June 4, 2012 7:00:42 PM

adhdpimp said:
yes


software thief, stupid, and doesn't know when to keep his trap shut, good combination.
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