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If I have a PC running Windows XP SP3 32 bit on which VirtualBox is installed, could I install Windows Server 2012 in VirtualBox as it requires 64 bit?

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From the virtualbox website:

VirtualBox supports 64-bit guest operating systems, even on 32-bit host operating systems, provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. You need a 64-bit processor with hardware virtualization support
  2. You must enable hardware virtualization for the particular VM for which you want 64-bit support; software virtualization is not supported for 64-bit VMs.

So for virtual box you need a 64 bit CPU (just about every x86 CPU from the last decade is 64 bits) and one with virtualization support (That is rarer. Usually that means a core i7 or an AMD CPU)

Alternatively you could try qemu and have it emulate 64 bits, but it would be extremely slow.

The other way around ( Server 2012 as OS and XP in a VM ) would work fine.

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