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Is it ok to install both windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit on one machine?I just want to see if 64 bit is really bad for a system with only 2Gb of ram.

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Be aware that using the same key for both the 32 and 64-bit installations simultaneously is a violation of the Microsoft license agreement. It works for both, but you have to pick one. My recommendation is not to activate either within the 30-day grace period; you should be able to decide by then. – Shinrai Oct 15 '10 at 14:47
See also: FAQ about Windows licensing – nhinkle Jul 4 '11 at 6:30
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The most obvious way is to make a new partition and just install Windows on it. It's as simple as that.

This question explains how to shrink an existing partition. Keep in mind that 64bit version needs at least 20GiB of disk space in order to properly work.

After you install it, it should add itself to bootloader and you should have a menu where you will be able to select which version you want to boot.

But to directly answer your question, yes it's OK as long as you use separate partitions for each version of Windows.

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If the amount of RAM is your only worry, I would say go ahead and install 64 bit on its own; it works just as well as 32 bit.

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The only real reason you will need to use a 64-bit OS is to take advantage of the upper 4GB+ memory limit, if you have less RAM than 4GB then you won't really see any improvements.

Also, you need to install 64-bit drivers for your hardware, which can be problematic for some devices, your mileage my vary.

I'd say stick to 32-bit unless you have a really good reason you actually need 64-bit.

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