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I'm wondering if some of the device drivers will fail, or does the 64-bit CPU emulate 32-bit?

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marked as duplicate by Scott Chamberlain, David, jjlin, nerdwaller, AthomSfere Sep 28 '13 at 4:47

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Why should you use 32-bit version? All new devices have 64-bit driver. And in fact 64-bit version will be more stable since Microsoft requires all drivers for 64-bit Windows to be digitally signed – Lưu Vĩnh Phúc Sep 28 '13 at 5:02

Yes, you can. x64 is an extension of x86 (additional registers and some new instructions). So anything for x86 should run fine on x64 - the reverse is not always true since x64 can address more "space".

[Edit] If you search this, you'd have found answers already

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my next question is: if Win7(x86) installs properly, will all x86 software I install also work? – Frank R. Sep 28 '13 at 4:14
Why wouldn't it? If you are having a specific problem with a specific software ask about that instead. Some software may not work on Win7 because it just does not work on Win7 (for example software to go with hardware that has drivers that where never updated to Win7), it has nothing to do with being 32 or 64 bit. But for situations like those you can use stuff like XP Mode or a emulator like DosBox to run the program. – Scott Chamberlain Sep 28 '13 at 4:16
Yes, I've yet to see that be untrue. But I am sure it could happen (not due to a x86/64 issue - but something obscure in Windows that only 0.0001% of people would ever see). I second @ScottChamberlain. – nerdwaller Sep 28 '13 at 4:16

Of course you can. However, if your computer has 4GB of memory or more, you would not be utilizing all your memory (it is getting difficult to even find PC with less than 4GB of RAM). In practice, I have never seen 32-bit Windows OS to utilize more than 3.5GB. Linux can use 4GB and more with PAE extensions, but this is really awkward and still not perfect way - any given app still cannot get more than 2GB of memory in that mode.

On other hand, if you install 64-bit OS, you can use all of your memory, and run any legacy 32-bit software. Also, on 32-bit OS you cannot run 64 virtual machines in VMware, but on 64-bit OS you can run any combination of them.

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