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I have 32 bit Windows Xp on my machine now i want to install Windows 7 64 bit. Can i install it? My machine is 3-4 years old. Does the bits of OS has anything to do with hardware? Or it's just a addressing scheme?

Should i go on and install 64 bit version?

Update :- My laptop doesn't support 64 bit OS and it's confirmed. I have a desktop though not so powerful as my laptop which has E2200 Intel processor and my motherboard is 82801G Intel. Can anybody now tell me whether this motherboard and processor supports 64 bit OS or not?

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migrated from Jun 7 '10 at 6:44

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What's your CPU? – CharlesB Jun 7 '10 at 7:07
You motherboard is NOT an Intel 82801G. The Intel 82801G is an I/O Controller Hub (ICH). It is also referred to as simply "ICH7". This is probably one part of the chipsets used on your motherboard. If you're curious what motherboard your desktop is using I suggest trying the CPU-Z utility suggested in my answer below and seeing what it can tell you. – irrational John Jun 7 '10 at 15:51
up vote 7 down vote accepted

You must reinstall the machine to do 64 bit (which I think a move from XP to 7 requires anyways). Your processor must support 64 bit. All newer Intel and AMD chips do. If it's 3-4 years old and an AMD system, it almost certainly supports 64 bit. Intel was a little slower adding 64 bit support and may or may not support it. The only major advantage to 64 bit is the ability to use over 3.5GB of ram on a windows client operating system. Your 3-4 year old motherboard probably cannot support that much memory though. There's some extra registers in there as well, but for most applications, you won't notice any difference.

I would recommend sticking with 32 bit as there are still certain things that don't work with 64 bit (although that list is shortening every day) and your computer probably won't get any benefit performance wise.

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Thanks. Actually wanted to install Sharepoint on my laptop but they have a silly demand that the machine should be 64 bit only else it won't install :(. what to do should i go for Vmware? will Sharepoint run perfectly? or will there be a huge performance degradence? – TCM Jun 7 '10 at 4:27
VMware won't run a 64 bit os unless your cpu supports virtualization. If it's 3-4 years old, it probably does not. I would say that you should hope your CPU is 64bit and install a 64 bit OS on the bare metal. – Jason Berg Jun 7 '10 at 4:33
Thanks Jason Berg – TCM Jun 7 '10 at 4:36
It will run, but note that it'll be somewhat slow. So yeah. VMWare and VirtualBox runs without -VT/VT-X or any special ext. Only VPC requires the Virtualization stuff. – Shiki Jun 7 '10 at 6:47
As long as your processor has hardware assisted virtualisation (Intel VT-x and I also presume AMD-v) you can set up a 64-bit guest on a 32-bit host in VirtualBox, it will only support one processor of a multicore system though. At least I've gotten a 64-bit linux guest to work on my Intel powered Vista 32 bit lappy... If you don't have hardware vitualisation the you are stuck with 32-bit guests. – Mokubai Jun 7 '10 at 8:23

the bitness is 100% dependant on the machine hardware (specifically, the processor has to be a 64-bit CPU).

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A 64-bit operating system uses instructions provided by a 64-bit CPU. If your CPU doesn't support them then you won't be able to run, much less install.

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Update :- My laptop doesn't support 64 bit OS and it's confirmed. I have a desktop though not so powerful as my laptop which has E2200 Intel processor and my motherboard is 82801G Intel. Can anybody now tell me whether this motherboard and processor supports 64 bit OS or not?

You could just Google E2200 Intel and see if you can get a link to its specs. Intel might also have a (free) utility you could download which would list the capabilities of your CPU. (I didn't look).

If it was me, I would check using CPU-Z, a slightly more technical free utility that I and lots and lots of others are fond of. It's a very bare bones Windows program that doesn't really require an "install". You just run the program.

alt text

The image above is a screen shot of CPU-Z from its web site. What you want to look for is EM64T in the "Instructions" box. This indicates support for the x86_64 64-bit Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). This is what is required to install a 64-bit version of Windows (or Linux for that matter). If it's not there then you can only run a 32-bit OS.

BTW ... I forgot that I was going to mention that 64-bit versus 32-bit is a subject that people bring up quite often on this site.

You should see a list of links to questions similar to yours along the right hand side of this page. If you didn't get enough info in the answers here or even if you're just curious then I encourage you to browse through the other/earlier questions along this line.

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Running a 64-bit OS isn't really something to consider unless your computer has more than 2gb of ram. If you do have more than 2gb then the next thing is to check and see if your CPU can handle the 64-bit OS... Start here...

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Though there are plenty of reasons for going with the 64bit version even if you only have 2 GB of ram, especially for Windows, but also see Pros and Cons at – Oskar Duveborn Jun 7 '10 at 6:45
64-bits OS have also a performance advantage – CharlesB Jun 7 '10 at 7:06

Yes, the E2200 Intel processor and the 82801G chipset support "emt64", that is, the 64 bit Intel instruction set.

You may still have peripherals that lack a driver for a 64 bit O/S such as Windows 7 64. We can't tell you much more unless you better describe your system.

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