Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I currently have a 32-bit Windows 7 installation, and want to do a clean reinstall to 64-bit Windows 7.

If I back up my 32-bit drivers/download the original OEM 32-bit drivers for my new 64-bit installation, will they work? Some? Hit or miss?

Windows 7, Dell Studio 1735 - 64-bit capable.

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Windows 7 is pretty good when it comes to picking up new drivers. It would probably work, but I would suggest not to bother with backing them up. Windows picks most of them up upon boot and via Windows update, and you don't want to be stuck with 32-bit drivers on a 64-bit OS which could be hindering your performance. Certain ones (i.e. video card) I would recommend grabbing the latest manually, as the Windows update website doesn't seem to contain the latest revisions all the time.

share|improve this answer
would the internet drivers work, or how would I get the drivers to work for that w/o backup? – studiohack Jan 2 '11 at 2:07
Windows 7 picks up most new hardware on boot. This is what I've experienced at least. At work I have made a generic Windows 7 ghost image on a desktop and applied it to a bunch of laptops and workstations without issues. – John T Jan 2 '11 at 2:12
32-bit drivers will flatly not work on a 64-bit Windows install. – Jamie Hanrahan Feb 22 '15 at 5:21

Before you do the clean install, go to Dell website and download drivers for 64bit and save them on a different partition or USB drive. In particular, pickup the chipset and ethernet drivers.

Those backup drivers program never seems to save all the misc application that goes along with the driver. You can still use it, but I won't solely depend on it.

share|improve this answer

Seems like no one ever said this, so I thought I would:

No, 32-bit drivers do not work on 64-bit Windows.

WOW64 is only for applications. Drivers must be compiled for the system on which they will be run.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.