There can be many scenarios wherein you need to know how to check PC is 32 bit or 64 bit. Perhaps you are planning to upgrade your PC, and you are in a doubt whether you are running on a 32 bit or 64 bit system. Whatsoever the reason be, I have the right guide for you.
What is the difference between 32 bit and 64 bit systems?
First off, let us deal with the hardware aspect. We say that a CPU from Intel or AMD is a 32 bit one when it is 32 bit wide. Well, let me break the jargon for you. In simple terms, a 32 bit system can process 32 bits of data (or instructions) at a time while a 64 bit system can manipulate or act upon 64 bits of data in a single unit of time. (Or clock cycle)
What are 32 bit/ 64 bit operating systems?
Well, this is an obvious question. Simply put, you can install a 64 bit variant of an operating system on your computer if it has a CPU with a 64 bit architecture. You can also install a 32 bit OS on your 64 bit system, there will be no issues, however, your OS would not be able to take the full advantage of your hardware that way.
Certain vendors release a 64 bit variant of their software as well. For instance, there are separate version of Microsoft Office available that are targeted at different system architectures, ie 32 bit and 64 bit.
How to check PC is 32 bit or 64 bit?
It seems there is a plethora of ways to find out what type of system you are running on. Here I’m going to share some of the easiest ways to do the same.
I am assuming that you are running a Microsoft Windows based PC. I will be walking you through the steps performed on a system running windows 7. Basically the steps are almost same for all the other variants.
Finding whether you have installed a 32 bit / 64 bit version of windows
- Right click on the Computer icon on your Desktop and select “properties”. This works in windows 7 and 8, may not work on XP.
- You will see something similar to this in the newly opened window. There you will see what type of OS you are running.
Quick tip: To open this window directly, just hold the windows key followed by the pause key. Please note that it works only on Windows Vista, 7 and 8 and if you are using Desktop
An alternative method to finding the your system type.
Although the aforementioned method works fine all the time, I have found an alternative to it. Using this method, you can find what type of processor you are having along with many other useful information about your system.
- Open Command Prompt from Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt
[You can press windows key + r to get the Run prompt, wherein you can type cmd to get command prompt directly- Method for Windows 7 & XP]
- Once you open the Command Prompt, type “systeminfo” and press enter. (It may take a little while to display the output)
- If you don’t see the system info in front of you, then you can just scroll a bit up and you will easily see it.
Notice that you also get a lot of other information about your computer by using this method. This procedure also works fine on windows XP systems!
Can a 64 bit OS run on a 32 bit processor?
This is a question that I see most of the people asking. You cannot install and run a 64 bit operating system on a 32 bit machine. However it is backward compatible, meaning, you can run a 32 bit OS on a 64 bit machine.
Is it really necessary to have a 64 bit system these days?
Truth be said, 64 bit systems have become a standard these days. You will notice that a majority of processors manufactured by AMD and Intel today have the 64 bit architecture. Also, it has more capabilities compared to a 32 bit one.
Another great shortcoming of a 32 bit system is that it won’t support a RAM (Random Access Memory) beyond 4GB. Hence I would suggest you to go for a 64 bit system, if you are buying a new computer. If you have any queries regarding how to check PC is 32 bit or 64 bit, let me help you on the same 🙂