After a Big Hassle
Earlier in one of my posts, we discussed dual boot etc. I needed to upgrade my OS, but had a problem with my CAD software in WIN7.
I decided to take some of your advice from that earlier post and to keep it simple with a dual boot WIN7/XP. I purchased 32bit WIN7 Home Premium-System Builder Pack and as I had plenty of room on my main hard drive, I decided to re-partition.
What kind of PC do you have?
I'm wondering why you would go with a 32 bit Operating System, as most any CPU made in a number of years in going to support a 64 bit instruction set. Yea... 64 Bit versions take a little more memory, but not much more, and you're limiting your flexibility by using a 32 bit OS.
Heck, I've got a netbook with a single core Celeron CPU and only 2GB of memory that I still have 64 Bit Operating Systems installed on (64 Bit Win 7 + 64 Bit Linux distros). 64 Bit versions don't take much more memory, and you get more flexibility that way, along with the ability to add more memory later that will be used by the OS.
Are you a Photoshop user? I'm not, but it's very popular with photographers using Windows.
If you have a 32 bit version of Windows, then Photoshop will only use around 1.7GB of it, no matter how much you have installed.
For that matter, even Windows itself will only be able to use around 3.2GB of the memory you have installed, no matter how much you have (but, a 32 bit version of Photoshop won't use more than 1.7GB of it).
That's just a limitation of a 32 bit Operating System and the way the 32 Bit version of CS6 works. You need to go with 64 bit versions for Photoshop to be able to use more of the memory you have installed.
But, you'll see the same types of issues with many other apps. You're better off going with a 64 bit OS if your hardware supports it (and most CPUs made for a long time will support a 64 bit instruction set), as more and more apps are being optimized for 64 bit instruction sets anymore.
Another thing to consider... if you have enough memory available, run XP in a Virtual Machine under Windows 7.
With Win 7 Pro (and you can update to it from Home Premium with a new product key), you have what Microsoft refers to as XP Mode available (which is just XP running inside of Microsoft Virtual PC). That way, you're running XP in a Window under Windows 7; and you can setup shared access to the same folders.
You can also use the free Oracle VirtualBox for that purpose, where you can install XP in a Virtual machine so that you're running both XP and Windows 7 at the same time. Get it here (and again, it's free):
Or, use the free VMWare Player and do the same thing (install another Operating System like XP in a Virtual Machine under Windows 7).
I've got both Oracle VirtualBox and VMWare Player installed in Linux (so I can run other LInux distros, different versions of Windows, etc. at the same time I'm running Linux, so that I don't need to reboot to use a different Operating System).
Anyway, after you get everything up and running again, get in the habit of making full disk image backups on a regular basis.
That way, in the event of an issue (like the problem you just had), you can restore that disk image back so you'll be right back to where you were at the time you made it.
There are many other things that can cause serious issues (malware, software installations causing conflicts, human error, theft, fire, drive failures, and more).
So, unless you want to reinstall the Operating Systems, Programs, etc., from scratch if (or more likely, WHEN versus if) those kinds of problems occur, have a disk image backup you can restore from, and make new backups on a regular basis.
You can find a number of free utilities to make them. For example, I've seen others here mention liking Macrum Reflect. Get it here:
Personally, I use Clonezilla Live for that purpose. More about it in this post:
There are many more solutions around. But, you need to have a recent disk image backup handy for issues that may occur (as you could have a drive failure today for all you know, not just a "glitch" caused by a power failure).