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can i install windows 7 32bit on a 64bit computer

Posted on 2011-02-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have acquired a dell optiplex system with 64bit architecture. I'll be attaching it to a windows sbs 2003 domain server, which doesn't like some 64 bit printer drivers. I'd like to downgrare the windows 7 OS to the 32 bit version. Can I do it?
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Question by:The_Old_Rock
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 34939703
Absolutely - x64 hardware is fully backward compatible with x86 (32bit) operating systems.
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Author Comment

by:The_Old_Rock
ID: 34939727
Leww - Would I simply reinstall the OS selecting the 32bit version?
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LVL 118
ID: 34939738
Yes, re-install selecting 32bit.
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Author Comment

by:The_Old_Rock
ID: 34939758
Have either of you done this?
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Accepted Solution

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 125 total points
ID: 34939762
Yes, I've accidentally installed 32bit on 64bit hardware, and in the old days, the media wasn't dual media, you either purchase 32 ot 64 bit media.
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LVL 118
ID: 34939763
what's the problem with the 64 bit printer drivers anyway?
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 125 total points
ID: 34939775
Let's be clear - Virtually EVERY computer sold in the last 5 years (except a few VERY low end systems and a good number of netbooks) have ALL been 64 bit (x64) systems.  I generally ONLY install 64 bit versions of Windows nowadays, but most recently, I DID have a Windows 7 Media Center system running x86 until last month when I rebuilt it to run x64 (when I got my Ceton tuner).

By the way, if the printer drivers exist in 32 bit Win7, they should exist in 64 bit win7, you'll just have a temporary problem in that you cannot install them from the server.  Once you get them installed, it shouldn't bother you again.
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Author Closing Comment

by:The_Old_Rock
ID: 34939860
I'm assuming the solution will work based on the experts experience. I'll know for sure when I perform the recommended action tomorrow, if I choose to do so. I have one printer, a HP P2015dn whose 64bit driver won't install.
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 34940173
That's because HP has gone to cr*p with their software.  Does HP really think a USB printer should take an HOUR to install the driver software?  When it comes to 64/32 bit HP drivers, HP has a nasty tendency to change the name for 64 bit driver from the 32 bit driver.  It can't install that way - it MUST be the same name.  If you open the INF file, you'll see a bunch of entries based on the printer name.  Unfortunately, the names MUST match down the spaces.  For example, I recently had to install a printer that had a 32 bit driver that was named "HP LaserJet 4150 Series PCL 6" and a 64 bit driver that was "HP LaserJet 4150 Series PCL6" - the space - and lack thereof between PCL6 and PCL 6 wouldn't allow the driver to install.  Rename them all in the INF files.
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Author Comment

by:The_Old_Rock
ID: 34957374
I've since found that the HP Printer in question simply has no Win7x64 drivers so I've decided  to leave the OS in tact & forget that printer. The other printers, Plotters & Scanners that I needed to attach did so without a hitch.

Thanks All.

The_Old_Rock
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