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I am a software developer, and I need to use old version of Borland/Embarcadero Delphi 7 for one software. The others ones are PHP software. I will have soon a 64 bits PC, running Linux, but I need a Windows 32 bits virtual machine for Delphi (because Delphi 7 is a bit old, and our clients still use Windows XP 32 bits systems). I already have a VM under virtualbox for my Delphi environment.

Will it run fine, or will I have some problem?

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What virtualization software are you using? – DanBig Feb 25 '11 at 13:33
Virtualbox (Oracle / Sun) – Cédric Girard Feb 27 '11 at 7:29
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Short answer, yes. You can almost always run 32bit software on 64bit hardware, just not the other way around.

You can sometimes run 64bit software on a 32 bit host, as long as the hardware is 64bit, depending on the hypervisor.

I currently have a Server 2008 Hyper-V role machine running several different OSes. I have about 6 WinXP 32 bit machines running, as well as several Win7 64bit.

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Yes: If the hardware is up to it, on VMWare 5 and up you can run 64 bit guests on 32 bit hosts. We do all the time! – samsmith Dec 14 '11 at 22:13

To run your 32 bit code you do not need a 32 bit VM. You can safely use a Windows 64 bit which is a multi-lib environment. This means that it has libraries (DLLs) for both 32 bit and 64 bit. See:

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the only issue is if the software wont actually run on the new operating system then the VM would be needed – anthonysomerset Feb 25 '11 at 15:48
We develop Windows softwares, so we need to have an environment very similar to our clients one. – Cédric Girard Feb 27 '11 at 12:26

yes it is totally possible because its a wholly seperate environment and kernel.

its even possible to do this on OpenVZ based servers (where the kernel is actually shared)

to my knowledge however i am not sure you can run a 64bit guest on a 32bit host even in virtualbox

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actually it is possible to use a vm solution like vmware/virtualbox to run a 64bit guest on a 32bit host as long as the CPU is capable, but thats not your question :) – anthonysomerset Feb 25 '11 at 13:27
+1, Also, Emulators (like QEmu) are able to emulate processors (64-bit included) even when they are running on completely different platforms. – Chris S Feb 25 '11 at 13:31

You certainly can, provided that your new hardware supports it. Without hardware details it is difficult to be certain, however, I have seen very few 64-bit systems that do not support virtualization.

That being said, you will need to decide on full- versus para-virtualization. Both are capable of functioning as you have described but there are differences between the two. It is also often possible to enable both and make the decision on a per (virtual) system basis.

You will also need to ensure that your kernel supports, and is built for, virtualization support. Some systems, such as Debian and Red Hat, offer pre-built kernels for this purpose as well as options to add on a hardware virtual machine, such as Xen, or a processor emulator, such as Qemu.

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Hardware support is not a hard and fast requirement for 32-bit guests. Some hypervisors (e.g. VMware) existed long before VT-x and perform very well using binary translation with no hardware support. – Skyhawk Feb 25 '11 at 13:41
the user is also specifically talking about virtualbox so most of this is slightly irrelavent to the question but still useful information – anthonysomerset Feb 25 '11 at 15:47

It will run fine. I'm running a number of VMs (in VMWare), both with 32 and 64 bits versions of Windows and Delphi 7 is running just fine.

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