I accidentally happened to install windows 8 (64 bit) in my 32 bit machine. Are there any problem that can occur in future? It is running quite smoothly right now.

EDIT: Added a screenshot.

enter image description here

System is 64 bit. I was using 32 bit Windows XP. So I got confused.

  • 4
    Pretty sure that's not possible. It must have been a 64bit system or downgraded itself to 32bit.
    – cutrightjm
    Dec 13, 2012 at 3:58
  • Nope. It is 32 bit system.
    – Sujan
    Dec 13, 2012 at 4:01
  • Open Control Panels > System and post a screen shot. Dec 13, 2012 at 4:04
  • 2
    @ekaj is right. The installer checks that your system is the correct architecture BEFORE it lets you install.
    – Moshe Katz
    Dec 13, 2012 at 4:12
  • 1
    @MarkAllen As the techies say, you can install a 32 bit OS on a 64 bit machine. But not vice-versa.
    – Sujan
    Dec 13, 2012 at 10:01

4 Answers 4


I accidentally happened to install windows 8 (64 bit) in my 32 bit machine.

How do you know? How do you know that the copy you installed was 64-bit and that the system was 32-bit?

Are there any problem that can occur in future?

Yes, lack of ability to boot or execute any of the 64-bit files. For all intents and purposes, it is essentially impossible to execute a 64-bit instruction on 32-bit hardware, and while 64-bit Windows may have some 32-bit files, the main parts are 64-bit, so it won’t even boot.

It is running quite smoothly right now.

Then one of two things is almost certainly happening:

  • The hardware is in fact 64-bit (as others have mentioned, since a 64-bit system can run a 32-bit OS, it may have been 32-on-64, leading to a misconception of the hardware)
  • The installation media was 32-bit (it could have been a “hybrid” source containing both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows and so it automatically detected the 32-bit hardware and installed that)

In either case, if it is working at all, then you are good and should not have any problems because an architecture-mismatch would be immediately noticeable since it won’t boot, let alone give errors about the executable files being an “invalid Windows file”.

  • Glad to help. We would still be interested to find out what the situation is when you get the information. ☺
    – Synetech
    Dec 13, 2012 at 4:53
  • Sure. I will post the information as soon as I get home.
    – Sujan
    Dec 13, 2012 at 4:57
  • There have been processors supporting 64-bit execution for AGES. Intel put 64 bit processing into their mainstream processors as early as 2004 and NEVER removed it. All Core2Duos support 64 bit
    – sinni800
    Dec 15, 2012 at 12:38
  • @sinni800, just because 64-bit started coming out a while back doesn’t mean that all systems are necessarily 64-bit (and by extension that everybody can afford to just dupm whatever they have and buy the latest thing). I bought my current desktop used in 2010 and it has only a 3.0 P4 HT (which was a big upgrade from my old 1.7 P4 from 2002). Oh wait, I see what’s happening. He updated the question with the system information and you are responding to that (though I don’t know what you are responding to my answer instead of directly to the question).
    – Synetech
    Dec 15, 2012 at 21:26
  • @Synetech I think that was it... I don't know anymore
    – sinni800
    Dec 17, 2012 at 21:21

You cannot install a 64 bit operating system on a 32 bit Processor. It is quite possible that the machine is both 32 and 64 bit, but the manufacturer put on the 32-bit system.

  • Ok. I will make sure if the system is 32 or 64 bit.
    – Sujan
    Dec 13, 2012 at 4:17

You can't install 64-bit Windows on a 32-bit machine. It won't install, and if you hack it somehow to install, then it won't boot after the install has finished.

It is possible that the previous OS installed on the machine was a 32-bit OS version and that is why you think the machine is 32-bit. However, a 32-bit OS will run with no trouble on a 64-bit processor.


If the CPU in the computer is less than 8 years old, then it almost certainly is 64-bit (exceptions being older Intel Atoms, and certain VIA or Transmeta CPUs).

If it's 8-10 years old, then there's a very limited selection of CPUs that are 32-bit, yet support SSE2 and NX (minimum system requirements for Win8)

Older than that, and it won't support SSE2.

  • 1
    2004 had the first Pentium 4s with 64 bit!
    – sinni800
    Dec 15, 2012 at 12:38

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