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Windows 2003 R2 32-bit on 64-bit hardware

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  • Windows 2003 R2 32-bit on 64-bit hardware

    I'm reaching out to the community on this one.
    Is there any document from Microsoft or somewhere that says you can run Windows 2003 R2 Standard 32-bit on a 64-bit hardware machine and not have any performance problems?

    We've got an HP Proliant DL38 G6 server (64-bit hardware) that we would like to use. Currently we have a DL 380 G4 server that is currently our DC and file server.

    We have a couple of ways to go about moving our existing file server / DC to the new server. (we have a 2nd DC in our environment)

    1. Use Acronis Universal Restore (a specific document on how to restore to dissimilar hardware is available

    2. Setup the new box from scratch. If we went with this option, we can install win2k3 r2 standard 32-bit on this machine. (we dont have licenses for the 64-bit version) promote it to a dc, move fsmo roles and data.

    If we went with step # 2, would we need to be concerned with our double take replication replicating from a 64-bit hardware / 32-bit OS to a 32-bit harwdare 32-bit OS? Or does the hardware not even matter?

    I personally wouldn't do step #1 ... in my opionion when doing a universal restore, there are instances of reg entries in your original machine that is now on your new machine.

    any thoughts?

    Would it make sense to do a clean insta

  • #2
    Re: Windows 2003 R2 32-bit on 64-bit hardware

    I'm always of the opinion with OSs that a clean install is the best thing to do wherever possible. Dunno about Acronis, IME BESR is really the only thing I've used which is good at restoring to dissimilar hardware. Even then I'd only use it in a DR situation, I'd always do a clean install for a new DC especially if you intend it to be the FSMO holder.

    No reason why you can't install a 32-bit OS on 64-bit hardware, it should work fine. I've done it myself on an ASUS board with an Athlon processor as I didn't have a 64-bit OS at the time. I assume cost is an issue, because it really would be better now to introduce a 64-bit 2K8 server. Server 2003 will be EOL pretty soon.

    DoubleTake should be fine as long as the software you're installing on meets it's requirements. It replicates at the file system level and doesn't care about hardware.
    BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
    Cruachan's Blog


    • #3
      Re: Windows 2003 R2 32-bit on 64-bit hardware

      Problem with running 32bit software on 64bit hardware is you will limited to 4GB RAM no matter how much is actually installed. In todays world I would never install 32bit software on 64bit hardware and as our learned collegue above mentions, Sever 2003 is now getting the the end of its life. It is now 7 years old .
      Joined: 23rd December 2003
      Departed: 23rd December 2015