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I purchased a Dell notebook and it came with Windows 7 64-bit installed.

Now when I try to install AutoCAD 2008 which is 32-bit, I am unable to do so. I get an error message stating I can't run a 32-bit program on a 64-bit processor.

What do I do?

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1  
Get 64-bit Autocad? – mdpc Mar 12 '13 at 19:23
    
You can run some 32-bit programmes on a 64-bit OS but not ALL due to library and other issues. Windows 64-bit is a MESS! – Julian Knight Mar 12 '13 at 19:25
    
Have you installed the service pack for AutoCAD 2008? The readme doesn't suggest there is any problem running AutoCAD on Vista 64-bit and I would be surprised if enough changed with Windows 7 to break it. By the looks of it there is a 64-bit version of AutoCAD 2008, are you able to get and install that? – Mokubai Mar 13 '13 at 4:38

Two issues in hand from experience:

  1. Autocad 2008 will not work past XP. You can install Autocad 2008 on Vista but you will run into issues with the program. I had to purchase a new OS when I purchased 3DS Max 2010 (an Autodesk product) and I could not run it on XP.
  2. The installer for AutoDesk products will ask when you are installing, is it for a 32bit system or 64 bit system, make sure to select the correct one.

I would possibly consider running a virtual machine (such as Virtualbox) or activating XP mode in Windows 7 if you know how.

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Use this: http://www.longbowsoftware.com/Converter.php. it allows installing 32bit versions of AutoCAD to run natively on 64 bit Windows.

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