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Deciding which Windows 7 version to install can be a difficult decision and can really limit what you can do with your system. Do you have any practical hints which could help decide which version to install?

With the gaining popularity of 64-bit chipsets/processors, many users now have the ability to run either 64-bit versions (x64) or 32-bit versions (x86) of software and operating systems. However, if you only have a 32-bit processor, your choice is easy…

You can only install the x64 version of Vista/Windows 7 if you have a 64-bit processor.

For those with 64-bit processors, it seems obvious that installing the x64 version of Windows 7 would be ideal. The x64 version has increased security based around the 64-bit structure and programs compiled for 64-bit processors will likely run faster.

What’s the problem with installing Windows 7 x64 on a 64-bit system?

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Rule of thumb. If you are asking for opinions or VS which are highly subjective by nature, the question should be a CW. In this case there is no single definitive answer. –  Diago Sep 5 '09 at 23:58
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I installed 64-bit for the first time with Windows 7, and except fighting to get my networked Dell 1700 laser printer working, everything went fine. Windows 7 including all the drivers you need made things much easier, especially since Dell sells me a computer with a 64-bit processor but doesn't provide any drivers. –  Jared Harley Sep 6 '09 at 1:09
    
may be a dupe, but we need both versions around so people can find them. Everyone uses different words.. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 6 '09 at 9:37
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6 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

I would go with 64-bit version in all cases except in two cases:

  1. If there are no drivers for your devices (some old printers, PIC programmers, etc...)
  2. If you need program that cannot work on 64-bit (Windows Mobile SDK Cellular Emulator comes to mind)
  3. If you have less than 2 GB of RAM (as suggested by jerryjvl :)).

In all other cases, go with 64-bit OS.

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You may want to add "You have less than 2GB of memory" to that list of reasons to be complete ;) ... I think that point is probably more important than your current number 2. –  jerryjvl Sep 5 '09 at 22:26
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@jerryjvl: I would assume that nobody would dare to have less than 2 GB these days. P.S. If you do programming for Windows Mobile devices, Cellular Emulator is definitely reason for staying on x86. –  Josip Medved Sep 5 '09 at 22:51
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can you use a VPC for this with an x86 OS of your choice or do you have to run this on the system you're developing on? –  Brian Surowiec Sep 5 '09 at 23:06
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@Brian: I was using this under Vista, but it is quite slow to emulate other processor under already virtualized system. Now I boot Windows 7 from VHD. –  Josip Medved Sep 6 '09 at 0:11
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@Josip: You never know who runs across this thread though... I personally would never have less than 4GB these days, but that doesn't mean everybody does. And as much as this is a 'super user' forum, with Google getting really good at finding these you never know when someone's grandmother finds their way in here ;) –  jerryjvl Sep 7 '09 at 22:49
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(Not enough rep to comment, so:)
Office is coming in x64. HOWEVER, you will not be able to mix and max Office versions. Example: I'm an MS Partner so I have OFfice 07 Enterprise, plus Visio 07.

If I get Office 2010 in x64 (I'm running Win 7 Ultimate x64), Visio must be x64.

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I don't have any problems with Vista x64,i've been using it for quite some time now

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It depends on your needs. If you're writing letters with Word, reading emails, browsing the Internet and do more simple things then a 64-bits system would be pure overkill. Then again, if your system can handle it and the price is the same, just go for it anyway! :-)

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Office 2010 is coming in an x64 version, which may come in handy even if all you're doing is using Office and browsing the net. –  Brian Surowiec Sep 5 '09 at 23:07
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browsing the internet also became very memory-consuming,an example is Adobe flash player –  Mahmoud Hossam Sep 5 '09 at 23:09
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If you have more then 3GB memory or planning upgrade to 4GB+ => 64-bit

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Go with the 64-bit version. I have experienced no problems with it that weren't duplicated in the 32-bit version, and it provides some nice benefits (like expanded memory address space, more memory per application, etc).

There's no real reason that I can think of to go 32-bit if your computer supports 64-bit.

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