Windows 10 32 Bit vs 64 Bit – Which One is Best

Windows 10 basically comes in two architectures: 32-bit and 64-bit actually. What’s the difference? In order to oversimplify it, you guys are making a choice between compatibility and performance. Windows 10 32-bit is actually more likely to work with older hardware and software. However, you’ll miss out on some of the performance and feature advantages that are only available in Windows 10 64-bit. Let’s now talk about Windows 10 32 Bit vs 64 Bit – Which One is Best.

Well, Microsoft first released a 64-bit version of Windows in 2005. The 64-bit processor, that AMD first brought to market in 2003, it unleashed a lot of potentials. For example, improved security and performance for games and industrial applications and the ability in order to address more memory.

Windows 10 32 Bit vs 64 Bit – Which One is Best

There are a couple of factors that should consider whenever selecting a Windows 10 architecture actually.

How much RAM do you guys have?

Windows 10 64-bit is basically recommended if you guys have 4 GB or more RAM. Windows 10 64-bit supports more than 2 TB of RAM, however, Windows 10 32-bit can utilize more than 3.2 GB. The memory address space for 64-bit Windows is much larger, which means, you need twice as much memory as 32-bit Windows. in order to accomplish some of the same tasks. However, you can perform more tasks and process more information. For instance, you can have more applications open, then run an antivirus scan in the background. It keeps lots of browser tabs open or runs multiple VMs without it affecting your overall system performance actually. Even though Windows 10 64-bit basically works best along with 4 GB of RAM installed, the bare minimum needs are actually 2 GB of RAM.

Windows 7 or Windows 8 – what version are you running?

Microsoft basically recommends users upgrade to a corresponding architecture of Windows 10. If you guys have a 32-bit version of Windows 7 or 8 currently installed. Then you should choose 32-bit Windows 10 and vice-versa for Windows 10 64 bit. In a perfect world, that works. However, in reality, some older CPUs are just not compatible with later versions of Windows 10 actually.

How Windows Differs Between 32-Bit And 64-Bit

If you’re using a 64-bit processor, then you also need to use a 64-bit version of Windows to take benefit from it. 32-bit versions of Windows basically work on 64-bit processors. However, can’t use the extra power as well. You can’t really install a 64-bit version of Windows on 32-bit processors. But, 64-bit Windows is backward compatible along with 32-bit software, as we’ll discuss.

There are two major places that you’ll notice the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit in Windows. One is that a 32-bit version of Windows can only utilize more than 4GB of RAM (or less). Hence, if you have 16GB of RAM in your computer, however, it’s running 32-bit Windows, it won’t actually use up to 4GB.

Well, the other place you’ll find a difference is the Program Files folder actually. Well, on a 32-bit version of Windows, apps will then install to the only Program Files folder. The 64-bit systems have an additional Program Files (x86) folder for 32-bit software actually. This is because writing software for a 32-bit architecture is really different from writing it for a 64-bit system.

What’s more | 32 bit vs 64 bit

32 bit vs 64 bit

Whenever programs want to grab some shared information, such as DLLs. They have to look in the correct Program Files directory. This is why Windows keeps them separate actually. A 32-bit program would have no idea what should do with a 64-bit DLL.

Ancient versions of Windows, such as Windows 3.1, ran 16-bit software. 32-bit versions of Windows are backward-compatible along with these legacy programs. If you guys have a 64-bit machine. But, you can’t really run archaic 16-bit software. You’ll have to turn in order to emulate a 32-bit operating system.

Plus, 64-bit Windows requires 64-bit device drivers. If you guys have an old printer or something that only offers 32-bit drivers, then it won’t work on your modern 64-bit system.

Difference Between 32-Bit And 64-Bit Program

Whenever you install software, it then varies by the vendor if you get a 32-bit or 64-bit version. Some of the developers only give a 32-bit version. Most of the time they let you choose, and still, others automatically install the right version for you.

If you are running a 64-bit version of Windows, you should then install the 64-bit versions of software whenever you can actually. However, don’t fret if a vendor does not offer a 64-bit version, because the 32-bit edition should work just fine.

Well, 64-bit versions of programs probably won’t blow you away along with increased speed. But, they do take benefit from the increased security of 64-bit architecture and can utilize up to 4GB of RAM at a time. They’re thus often more stable and efficient than their 32-bit counterparts actually.

Keep an eye out for links like Versions or Editions on vendors’ download pages to see if they offer a 64-bit version. As 32-bit software works on every system, it’s understandably the default for some vendors. Of course, if you are on a 32-bit system, only 32-bit software will work for you actually.

It Supports the security features of Windows 10 64-bit?

Windows 10 64-bit also includes a few additional security features that aren’t available in Windows 10 32-bit. Such as, 64-bit versions of Windows need that all device drivers be signed. Driver signature enforcement means that you guys can only use drivers that Microsoft recognizes. This avoids malicious or buggy drivers from being used on your system as well.

32 bit vs 64 bit

Security features such as driver signature enforcement are good, however, older CPUs may not be fully compatible with Windows 10 64-bit. Even if you were running Windows 7 or Windows 8 64-bit previously as well. This can be a result of lacking the proper security instructions at the CPU level as well. Common errors users will come across when attempting in order to upgrade to Windows 10 64-bit is the CMPXCHG16B/CompareExchange128 or CPU Not Compatible errors. You guys can easily check if your processor supports CMPXCHG16B/CompareExchange128 via the free Coreinfo utility.

What’s more | 32 bit vs 64 bit

The release of Windows 8 in 2012 basically introduced a new set of security needs at the processor level. The unusual thing about these needs is that some really recent and older CPUs might or might not include these extensions. For instance, a Core 2 Quad from 2008 also includes the NX (No eXecute bit). Or the equivalent XD (Execute Disable), however, a 2010 Core i3 might not.

The best way in order to find out is to load the BIOS or UEFI firmware, check the security category then turn it on. In most cases, if the option is not available, it is possible your system could enable the feature via a BIOS or firmware update actually. This will need to contact the manufacturer or checking the downloads section for the make and model of your computer for current updates actually. If none is available, then you might need to consider switching to 32-bit Windows 10, which might work instead. If your system has up to 4 GB of RAM installed, this could mean sacrificing some of it for the sake of compatibility actually.

Are you Running 64-Bit Or 32-Bit Windows?

On Windows 10, right-tap on the Start Button and select System. You guys can also browse to Settings > System > About. Here, you will see a Device specifications header as well. Then to System Type, Windows lists if your installation is 32 or 64-bit, plus your processor architecture as well.

On Windows 7 and earlier, right-tap on Computer in the Start Menu and select Properties. You have to use the Win + Pause shortcut to open this menu on any version of Windows. You’ll see the System type entry along with your OS and CPU architecture.

Both of the panels also list your Installed RAM here. On a 32-bit system, this will actually note something such as 4GB usable if you guys have over 4GB installed.

Other hardware | 32 bit vs 64 bit

Selecting the architecture should rely on the type of system too. The rise of 64-bit computing actually came out of the necessity for workstations that need more processor power for scientific and industrial applications as well. The netbook form factor existed for a while, however, the rise of tablets in the late 2010s pushed them aside actually. Netbooks featured lower performance processors like the Intel Atom and mostly came with 2 GB or less RAM. Windows 7 Starter edition was usually the chosen operating system for these systems. That was only available as a 32-bit operating system as well.

Even though some of the Intel Atom processors actually support 64-bit Windows, the vast majority don’t because of requirements at the BIOS and chipset level. Well, for many owners of netbooks, 64-bit Windows is just not recommended even if you can run it actually. Netbooks were primarily designed for content consumption and light productivity tasks like web browsing, word processing, email, streaming video, and listening to music as well. In this regard, 32-bit Windows 10, if compatible, should be more than sufficient for these form factors. You guys can always upgrade the RAM or storage to an SSD for added performance if this is an option with your system.

Well, for processors like the Core 2 Duo, earlier AMD 64 processors and Intel 64 processors released prior to 2008. Even if you guys are running a 64-bit compatible version of Windows, today, like Vista or Windows 7, this does not mean it’s recommended or possible along with Windows 10. As noted, newer operating system needs and also performance might make it a deterrent as well.

Further | 32 bit vs 64 bit

Well, in 2007 I had an Acer Ferrari 5000, which actually came with an AMD Turion 64-bit processor, ATI Radeon 128 Graphics, and 2 GB of RAM actually. Back then that was state-of-the-art, however, as Windows 10 became more powerful, the idea of trying to eek more life out of my existing hardware didn’t really seem reasonable. Before Microsoft developed a 64-bit compatible operating system for the AMD 64 processor actually. The company notes 32-bit versions of Windows gaining a 9% performance boost just from running on 64-bit hardware. 

32 bit vs 64 bit

Which applications do you depend on?

Well, for many users these days, 64-bit Windows 10 can make a lot of sense. However, specifically on recent or newer systems. If you want to run the latest graphics intense games, multiple virtual machines, and also industrial applications like AutoCAD, there is no other choice actually. For years now, companies like Microsoft, Autodesk, and Adobe have released 64-bit versions of their flagship desktop applications. For example Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, and the Adobe Creative Cloud.

If you guys must run these types of applications especially the latest versions it is in your best interest in order to keep up on the hardware side too. If application compatibility is necessary to you, then selecting 64-bit Windows 10 might be out of the question. Because of its introduction, 64-bit versions of Windows have sacrificed 16-bit support. Well, the lack of a 16-bit subsystem means users won’t be able to run legacy applications that are designed for older versions of Windows. For example Windows 3.1. Windows 10 32-bit still includes the 16-bit subsystem. However,  I found it to be extremely buggy as well. You guys will get more mileage out of a virtual machine running a compatible version of Windows for older applications as well.

As your system ages, selecting 64 bit Windows 10 might not necessarily make sense actually. Microsoft has not made pronouncements regarding the death of 32-bit Windows yet. Based on the millions of capable machines still out there, well, it would seem unreasonable to do this. Not to mention here, that if Microsoft drops them, 32-bit versions of the Linux operating system—many of which are still in active development—will gladly pick up the slack as well.

Conclusion

You are good to go. If you have any queries and issues related to this “32 bit vs 64 bit” article then let us know in the comments section below.

Also See: What Is splwow64.exe & How To Fix It?

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