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Can we install a 64-bit OS in a system having 32-bit processor?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 7 '11 at 13:52

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You've tagged this x64 so you're talking about PCs - can you really buy 32-bit only processors nowadays? My 2004 desktop is 64-bit. –  Rup Apr 7 '11 at 10:25
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Funnily, you can install a 64 bit OS in a virtual machine on a 64 bit processor running in 32 bit mode under a 32 bit operating system. Don't ask me how this works, it is pure madness, but it sure works perfectly well (using it every day). –  Damon Apr 7 '11 at 10:36
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its cause of vt extension related witchcraft. –  Journeyman Geek Apr 7 '11 at 14:15
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Can you fit a 2" pipe inside a 1" pipe? –  Ondrej Tucny Apr 7 '11 at 14:31
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sure. all you need is to bend space itself. –  Journeyman Geek Apr 7 '11 at 14:44
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4 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The only option would be emulation (such as qemu), but that requires a 32bit system underneath, and won't be very useful in practice (very slow, RAM still limited)

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No,

You can install a 32bit OS on a machine with a 64bit CPU, but not the other way around.

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The quick answer is no

The longer answer is, there's quite a few reasons you wouldn't want to do so, even if you could.

  1. 64 bit windows may perform worse than 32 bit windows with less than 4 gb of ram this may or may not be true for linux
  2. 32 bit only systems were phased out by intel in 2004 AMD did it around 2005 so there's no point running the latest and greatest os on it.
  3. your processor may be 64 bit, and be running 32 bit - check it up - in which case there's no issue- other than that you may want to run a 32 bit OS
  4. Its more likely that the hardware for your geriatric 32 bit era system is supported on a 32 bit os than a 64 bit os

  5. it is more likely that your software will run on 32 bit than 64 bit , tho there's sxs on windows, and the ability to run mixed libraries on linux.

  6. it just wouldn't run. If it did its a 64 bit system. If it didn't you wasted your time. You can check with something like cpu-z or SIW on windows, or lshw on linux.

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I don't see how that could work.

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