also, you can always install a 32 bit version of any program. Ideally, you would use the x64 bit version, but those programs don't always exist in 64 bit flavors yet. For instance, i have windows 7 64 bit, but firefox doesn't have an official 64 bit release, so if i want to use firefox, i have to use the 32 bit version. It works great; i'd imagine you can use the chrome browser as well if that is your plan. And like schultz said...there should be two versions of internet explorer installed..a 32 bit and 64 bit versions.
also, your girlfriend's geek squad friend did a good job. vista sucks, and using a 64 bit OS is the way of the future.