Difference between 64-bit and 32-bit Windows – Advantages and Benefits

What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating system? The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer’s processor or CPU, handles information. The 64-bit version of Windows handles large amounts of random access memory or RAM, more effectively than a 32-bit system.

bits bytes Difference between 64 bit and 32 bit Windows   Advantages and Benefits

Find out if your computer is running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows

  • Open System by clicking the Start button , right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties.
  • Under System, you can view the system type.

The benefits of using a 64-bit operating system are most apparent when you have a large amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer, typically 4 GB of RAM or more. while the maximum RAM limit for 32-bit Windows 7 editions is 4GB, when it comes to the 64-bit editions, the amount of memory that the OS can address could be up to 192 GB or even 512 GB.

Read: What is the maximum memory (RAM) limit for 64-bit Windows 8 / 7.

Find out if your processor is 64-bit-capable in Windows 7 / 8

Open Performance Information and Tools by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type Performance Information and Tools, and then, in the list of results, click Performance Information and Tools.

  • In Windows 7 / 8, click View and print detailed performance and system information.
  • In Windows Vista, click View and print details.

In the System section, you can see what type of operating system you’re currently running under System type, and whether or not you can run a 64-bit version of Windows under 64-bit capable.  If your computer is already running a 64-bit version of Windows, you won’t see the 64-bit capable listing.

64-bit systems include WOW64, which allows 32-bit Windows-based applications to run seamlessly on 64-bit Windows. It can be considered as a x86 emulator.

Most programs designed for the 32-bit version of Windows will work on the 64-bit version of Windows. Notable exceptions are many antivirus programs. However If the program is specifically designed for the 64-bit version of Windows, it won’t work on the 32-bit version of Windows.

Difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows

The main differences between the 32-bit versions of Windows 7 / 8 and the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 / 8 (or Vista) relate to memory accessibility, memory management, and enhanced security features. The security features that are available in the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 / 8 or Vista include the following:

  • Kernel Patch Protection
  • Support for hardware-backed Data Execution Protection (DEP)
  • Mandatory driver signing
  • Removal of support for 32-bit drivers
  • Removal of the 16-bit subsystem

Advantages of 64-bit Windows 7 / 8 over 32-bit Windows 7 / 8.

  • Increased memory support beyond that of the 4-GB addressable memory space that is available in a 32-bit operating system
  • Increased program performance for programs that are written to take advantage of a 64-bit operating system
  • Enhanced security features

Why run 64-bit Windows?

64bit 32bit Difference between 64 bit and 32 bit Windows   Advantages and Benefits

Disadvantages of 64-bit Windows 8 / 7 over 32-bit Windows 8 / 7.

  • 64-bit device drivers may not be available for one or more devices in the computer.
  • Device drivers must be digitally signed.
  • 32-bit device drivers are not supported.
  • 32-bit programs may not be fully compatible with a 64-bit operating system.
  • It may be difficult to locate programs that are written specifically for a 64-bit operating system.
  • Not all hardware devices may be compatible with a 64-bit version of Windows.

If you need more details on why to go for 64-bit Windows, you can visit TechNet.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com. Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software & be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware. Add me on Google+.
  • Kieron

    Nice read.

  • jack

    Nothing is written about WoW64. Please add.

  • Mahfuz

    Nice article

  • http://www.facebook.com/techsavy.ravi Kumar Ravi

    32bit drivers not supported?? Who said that?? Wrong info!!!

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse
  • http://www.arifrahman.tk/ ???????? ???? | Mohammad Arif

    Also I guess 32 bit Operating Systems are bit faster than 64 bit ones.

  • Guest

    Hmmm. I’d better explain to the old 32-bit driver for the old network card I’m currently using.

  • Guest

    Hmmm. I’d better explain that to the old 32-bit driver for the old network card I’m currently using.

  • rale94

    wrong 64 bit OS are a lot faster

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