So for anybody interested as I see there have been a few views but no replies; you can run 2.x and 1.9.6 (32bit) on the same pc. During the setup the installer will say that 32bit functionaility will be disabled but that it will not remove the 32bit app file, I confirmed this as the only app it changed was the 64 bit app file in the "Program Files" folder. I ran the 32 bit 1.9.6 and 2.4 without a hitch, just each time you switch between the versions you get a pop-up saying welcome and that you used the other version last.
As a side note prior to installing I did make a back-up copy of the 64 bit 1.9.6, I really don't plan to use it but I'll probably rename the file with ms-dos commands and then see if it works. Anyways, hopefully this will be helpful to someone