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A relative of mine has bought a new laptop this year on which windows 7 (64 bit) is installed. Aside some standard programs he uses on that laptop, he also has some software for his bike that needs to run. The developers of that program still don't support 64-bit systems and therefor I thought about making it dual boot, so he can still use the power of the 64-bit, and just for the bike program, he can initiate the 32-bit version.

My questions now are:

  • What are the risks involved in this operation?
  • What steps need to be taken to make this dual boot succesful?
  • Any other ideas besides dual booting?

Thanks in advance.

Edit

I might have forgotten/misphrased something. The software does run on 64-bit, but it cannot find the bike connected to the computer. So I think it's a matter drivers which aren't compatible with the 64-bit system. That's why I wanted to install the 32-bit windows so the drivers would work.

Edit

I've used virtualization, but couldn't get the bike to work. i suspect outdated software/drivers from the manufacturers side.

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Won't the 32 bit application run? Does it show an error? Every 32 bit application for me has been able to run on a 64 bit machine –  Sandeep Bansal Nov 25 '11 at 14:17
    
@SandeepBansal: Not every 32 bit application can run. Notable, any 32 bit device driver, like the software to connect to hardware won't run. –  surfasb Nov 25 '11 at 17:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 0 down vote accepted

There should be no need to reboot.

If the device on the bike uses a USB to connect, then my suggestion would be to use VirtualBox or Virtual PC to install a 32 bit version of Windows.

After installing the OS inside the VM, install the drivers. Next plug in the device. You might need to surpress Windows Update from looking for a driver. Under either VirtualBox or VirtualPC, there is an option to attach USB device. Your bike's device should show up.

BTW, this is the same method I use for my old scanner, which does not have 64 bit driver support.

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Since sgmoore was -1'd I felt it appropriate to -1 this question. Section 2d of the OEM license agreement (available through the menus at microsoft.com/About/Legal/EN/US/IntellectualProperty/UseTerms/… ) states "You may use only one version at one time". Thus, implementing THIS solution would be MORE EXPENSIVE than sgmoore's since you'd have to buy another Windows 7 Retail license rather than the anytime upgrade to Win7 Pro if using the Home edition. –  Multiverse IT Nov 27 '11 at 4:58
    
@MultiverseIT: I must agree with your assessment. Upgrading editions is clearly a cheaper route. –  surfasb Nov 28 '11 at 15:28

You could try Windows 7's Boot from VHD. It lets you install another copy of Windows 7 into a VHD (virtual hard disk) file and boot the PC from it.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd758779

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+1: I have a Windows 7 Laptop and I boot Windows 7, Windows 8 Dev Preview, and Windows 8 Server - all run from VHDs and run quite nicely. The procedure to install to a VHD is fairly simple but does require a little typing in a command prompt during setup to mount the VHD so Windows Setup sees it. Further, because this would be "dual booting" it should not violate licensing (as I read and understand licensing) since you could still only run one copy of Windows at a time. The obvious downside is that you have to reboot to switch versions. –  Multiverse IT Nov 27 '11 at 5:01

Any other ideas besides dual booting?

Try XP Mode.

If you decide to install another operating system, you will need a separate drive or partition. You will also need another licence. Your Windows 7 licence does however allow you to use XP mode.

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-1: Not every edition of Windows 7 allows XP mode. Only Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise. –  surfasb Nov 25 '11 at 17:19
    
@surfasb. Good point. I keep forgetting about Windows Home. –  sgmoore Nov 25 '11 at 18:04
    
Using XP mode would LIKELY be the most practical solution, however, it's not free and would cost about $90 (based on the last time I used it to upgrade from Win7 Home to Win7 Pro). –  Multiverse IT Nov 27 '11 at 4:59
    
the operating system is still the standard Home which ships with most laptops, so I cannot use XP Mode. –  Djerry Nov 29 '11 at 16:12

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