32 bit os on 64 bit system

Sup computer peoples. Can you run a 32 bit OS on a 64 bit system? Since windows 7 is coming out i don't want to waste money on buying a 64 bit vista or some crap for my new build.

Thanks in advance!

Do you mean, run a 64 bit OS on a 32 bit OS? 64 bit Windows 7 can only be used on Virtual PC thats on a 64 bit OS. If you're talking about your computer specs, depending on what they are, yes you can. You'll need atleast 2 gigs of RAM and a decent dual core to run a 64 bit operating system.

the only difference between 64bit and 32 bit is that
64 bit can support upt 128gb of ram (i know crazy)
32 bit on the on the other hand can on support upto 3.5 or so gb of ram

so if your computer has 4gb or more and you install a 32 bit os operating system then only 3.5 out of the 4 will be seen by the os

hope this helped.

While you are correct that the 64 bit OS can support more RAM. There is a myriad of differences, first and foremost..Â
this is what 32 bits looks like
and this is 64 bits.

With that being said; Â A 32Bit OS, runs executing 32 bit binaries, compiled by a 32bit compiler with a 32bit processor.

The reason a 32bit OS can only handle 3.5GB of memory, is because the system has only 32bits of addressable memory space.
(232 = 4,294,967,296 = 4,294,967,296 / (1,024 x 1,024) = 4,096)

Now this is the total number of address' the system can handle.. but you end up using 600 or so of those address' for Video card, HDD IO and bunch of other things.

while the 64bit system;
(264 = 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 = 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 / (10246) = 16 exabytes)

we won't be running out of address' in the foreseeable future.

Now this is just the beginning of the differences between these two architectures. 64bit binaries are very different than 32bit binaries.

I could go on for awhile, as there is a lot to discuss. Â

To touch on the question at hand. I believe you are asking if you can run a 32bit OS on a 64 bit CPU, the answer is YES.

Most 64-bit processor architectures can execute code for the 32-bit
version of the architecture natively without any performance penalty.

The only CPUs that don't have this 32bit capability, you wouldn't be running Windows on... except maybe the IA-64 chips (itanium)

well after the last post i think whatever i was going to say has already been said haha