It was cheaper than buying a Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit followed by an
upgrade to Pro.
I have been bitten by this price difference as well. I can't begin to fathom the chasm that must exist between Home and Pro in order to cause it to cost so much to do what is essentially a very basic upgrade.

It's beginning to sound like our best bet in the future is to buy Win 7
64-bit Pro and use XP mode to get to 32-bit.
That's what we've done at my office. As an aside, you are technically getting 32-bit with any version of Windows 7 64-bit. (That is to say that I can run any 32-bit program directly in Windows 7 without XP Mode.) The part you are specifically missing in your case is the 16-bit layer that Windows XP had. And you are correct that XP Mode will get that back for you.

(which is the model we had stolen)
Okay, this is totally off-topic...but...I had to pause at this statement, and then--after a long pause with my head tilted ever so slightly to the side in silent confusion--I recalled that you had a laptop stolen *from* you. This was a good reminder to me of the ambiguity possible in the written word.

Carry on! :)

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