Microsoft still offers both 32-scrap and 64-bit versions of Windows 10. Just, whether you’re installing Windows x or Windows 7, you should well-nigh certainly skip the 32-bit version and get the 64-bit version instead.
The 64-chip version of Windows is also known as the “x64” version of Windows, while the 32-bit version is too known as the “x86” version.
Your PC is Well-nigh Certainly 64-chip
64-bit PCs have been mainstream for a long fourth dimension. Intel’s first big 64-fleck consumer CPU was the Core 2 Duo, which was released in 2006. AMD released the Athlon 64 in 2003. If y’all have a PC y’all purchased or built in the terminal decade, it’s nearly certainly a 64-bit PC.
There are some exceptions, of course. Early versions of the very underpowered Intel Atom CPU line were just 32-scrap CPUs. But those were so tedious when they were released that it’s very unlikely many people are still using those discount netbooks and tablets today.
Computers with 64-bit CPUs can run 32-flake operating systems, only there’south really no reason for them to do so anymore. Even on a 64-fleck operating system, yous can still run 32-bit applications just fine.
Why Y’all Should Install the 64-bit Edition
32-bit versions of Windows are limited to iv GB of RAM, which is a small amount these days when even budget PCs these days unremarkably have viii GB or more. If you desire to really apply more than iv GB of RAM—and you lot probably practise—you’ll need a 64-scrap version of Windows.
How To Upgrade Or Replace Your PC’s RAM
In addition, 32-fleck programs (even if they’re running on a 64-bit Windows operating system) tin can only access ii GB of RAM each. Modernistic demanding games and professional person tools can hands utilise more than ii GB of RAM.
Given that limitation, information technology’s no surprise that many applications at present require a 64-bit operating organization. For instance, if you want to play the PC version of Chiliad Theft Motorcar Five and many other PC games released in the last few years, yous’ll demand a 64-fleck version of Windows. ZBrush, a 3D modelling tool, discontinued its 32-bit version. Even NVIDIA has stopped working on its 32-bit graphics drivers, and then y’all’ll need a 64-chip operating organization to get new graphics drivers for NVIDIA hardware.
64-bit versions also have a number of useful security features that 32-fleck versions of Windows just don’t. For case, an expanded address space allows Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) to improve protect confronting attacks on programs. Drivers must exist signed unless they’re installed in a special boot fashion, Kernel Patch Protection prevents applications from patching the Windows kernel in memory on 64-bit versions of Windows, and Data Execution Prevention (DEP) has more restrictive settings on the 64-bit edition.
Why Would You Want 32-bit Windows?
There are some valid reasons why you lot might desire to run a 32-fleck version of Windows. If yous’re using a very erstwhile computer with a 32-bit processor, y’all don’t have a choice. Some manufacturers may merely offer 32-fleck drivers for particularly ancient hardware devices, and you’d demand a 32-chip version of Windows to run those.
The 32-scrap version of Windows also allows you lot to run 16-bit software written for Windows 3.1, which is a feature not institute in 64-bit Windows. Withal, you lot tin can always run 16-scrap software in DOSBox.
Some older programs may likewise only run on 32-bit versions of Windows if they used dangerous techniques, such as kernel patching, that have now been blocked on 64-bit versions of Windows for security reasons.
32-fleck versions of Windows should but be used for legacy compatibility purposes. That’due south all a 32-bit operating arrangement is actually necessary for: former CPUs, aboriginal hardware devices, Windows 3.1 applications, and other applications that need updating to run on a modern version of Windows.
How to Bank check Whether You’re Using 64-bit or 32-bit Windows
If you’re not sure whether your computer has a 64-bit version of Windows—or fifty-fifty a 64-fleck CPU—you can cheque from inside Windows.
On Windows 10, head to Settings > System > About. Look to the right of the “System type” entry. If you see “64-bit operating system, x64-based processor,” your computer is running a 64-bit operating system. If you lot see “32-bit operating organisation, x64-based processor,” your computer is running a 32-fleck operating arrangement just is capable of running a 64-bit operating system.
How Practice I Know if I’g Running 32-chip or 64-bit Windows?
On Windows 7, head to Command Console > System and Security > System. Wait at “System blazon” to see if you’re running a 32-bit or 64-flake operating organization. Windows seven’due south Control Panel doesn’t evidence whether your CPU is 64-bit capable, and so you’ll want to perform an online search for the processor name—displayed on the System screen—to observe out whether it’s a 64-bit CPU if yous’re currently running 32-flake Windows.
How to Upgrade to 64-bit Windows
If y’all’re using a 32-bit version of Windows on a 64-fleck capable processor, there’s good and bad news. The good news is that yous can upgrade to a 64-bit operating system for free. Your current Windows license can be used to install either a 64-flake or 32-flake version of Windows. The bad news is that you lot’ll need to reinstall your Windows operating organization to brand the change.
How to Switch From 32-bit Windows ten to 64-bit Windows x
On Windows 10, you tin upgrade to 64-flake past getting 64-chip Windows installation media and performing a clean install. On Windows vii, the process is similar—just download 64-bit Windows installation media from Microsoft.
Microsoft Should Make 32-chip Windows Harder to Find
We retrieve Microsoft should make the 32-bit version of Windows harder to admission. Some people might need information technology, just average Windows users shouldn’t be able to accidentally install a version of Windows 10 (or even Windows vii) that has so many limitations with modern hardware and software.
Backblaze, for example, has noted that many of its customers who apply a 32-scrap version of Windows seem to have installed it accidentally without realizing the downsides. So, when installing Windows in the future, be sure to go for the 64-bit version.
Image Credit: Nor Gal/Shutterstock.com.