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I have a device for which there are no 64 bit drivers (a USB connected scanner). I am replacing the 32 bit machine (Windows XP) to which it is attached with a 64 bit Windows 7 machine. Will it be possible to create a virtual 32 bit machine instance in the 64 bit environment to run that scanner?

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Yes you can install those drivers into a 32-bit OS running in a VM on a 64-bit host. The biggest concern is ensuring you use a VM solution that allows passing the (assumed) USB connection for the scanner.

Since you mention you are using Windows 7 you may (depending on your edition of Windows 7) be able to use the "XP Mode" VM setup supplied by Microsoft. It's existence is intended for these exact situations.

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This is exactly what I do . I have an old scanner that whoops the crap out of anything on the market. Got for cheap on Craigslist. However, no x64 drivers. XP mode to the rescue! –  surfasb Jul 15 '11 at 19:16
    
Thanks, surfasb - I love to hear users who report real experience instead of just giving the results of an intelligent google search. –  BGM Jun 21 '12 at 18:44

If you install 32-bit Windows XP, it will run as 32-bit
You can then add the scanner as a device on the XP machine.

Source: Here

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