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I bring work home from several different computers and am looking into a new one for me. Some of my clients have 32-bit and some 64-bit. If I purchase a 64-bit, will I still be able to use info from a 32-bit computer on a 64-bit computer, and then take it back and restore it to a 32-bit?

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What operating system? –  Mechanical snail Aug 18 '11 at 19:42
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5 Answers

Absolutely. the problems will be if the info consists of 64 bit executables, and even then you might not have a problem.

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The "bitness" of your computer will have no effect on the data files that you work on. It only affects programs. Unless your clients are giving you programs to run you're totally safe with a 64-bit system.

Caveat: unless you need to run 32-bit software to support your clients.

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A file's content itself is not dictated by the operating system architecture. For example, text documents are universally compatible with all computers (regardless of how it handles the line endings). It doesn't matter if you're on 32-bit or 64-bit. This same logic can be extended to most data files (so MS Word/Excel documents, 3D models, etc...).

When we deal with executable programs, it all depends. In general, assume that a binary program will only execute on the architecture it came from. That being said, most 32-bit programs can work on 64-bit processors/operating systems, but not the other way around. Just be aware that you cannot use 64-bit programs on a 32-bit system.

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What do you mean by "info"? Are you writing programs? Web design? Documents?

Web design, by and large, like documents, will not have any problems whatsoever transfering working on computers with different instruction lengths, as they are functions of the programs that interpret them.

Programming executables will generally work if you use an application framework (such as java) and most operating systems can run 32bit applications on 64bit hardware without much issue.

So if the "info" you're transfering between the "differently bitted" computers consists of any of the above, you will have no problems and should just go on and enjoy more bits.

Problems will only occur if you are writing program code yourself and use instructions that are dependent upon 64bit architecture that you intend to run on a 32bit system. Like I said above, 64bit computers are quite capable of running 32bit software. It's when you've got a program that uses explicitly 64bit instructions and you try running it on a 32bit computer that you'll experience problems.

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I run a mixed environment at my work. Some people use Windows XP 32bit, some Windows Vista 32bit, some Windows 7 32bit and some Windows 7 64bit. There's no problem to share work between any of the employees. 99% of programs that work on 32bit platform will work on 64bit platform unless they require special drivers which is platform dependent.

There's no difference in usage for any type of documents to be shared between those 2 architectures.

So if you're going to buy computer go for 64bit system. There would be more problems for you to run 32bit system if you would like to run 64bit application (well it would be impossible) then vice-verse.

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