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32-bit vs. 64-bit systems

I want to know what will be the difference and advantages using 32 and 64-bit. why does it really matter. What will it's benefit to Windows 7 users.

  • Regarding software compatibility, Are 32-bit softwares compatible to a 64 bit?
    – Pennf0lio
    May 28 '10 at 10:34

Pro's / Con's of 64 bit system -

  • You can address much more than 4GB of memory, which is ideal for avid gamers, CAD, video editors and heavy multi-taskers. However, any 32 bit software you use will still be restricted to 4GB memory – you need a 64 bit CPU, OS and applications to take full advantage of the extra RAM.
  • 16 bit applications will no longer run. Although this is unlikely to be a problem, if you use very old software (from the Windows 3.1 days!) then it will not work under a 64 bit OS.(Unless you use a 32 bit Open source freeware dos box emulator. such as http://www.dosbox.com/)
  • Existing 32 bit drivers no longer work.If you have older or poorly supported hardware you may find that it can no longer be used. Got a 7 year old scanner that just about works in Vista? You may not be able to get it working in 64 bit Windows 7.
  • Unsigned kernel-mode drivers no longer work. Along with the issue above, the inability to run unsigned kernel mode drivers will cause problems for old hardware. (There is reportedly a way to bypass this check).
  • Running some 32 bit applications on a 64 bit OS could actually be slower. The additional overheads in running 32 bit software in 64 bit mode could cause a slight degradation in performance. It will take some time for 64 bit software to become the norm.

    Also can i direct you to a post in SF https://serverfault.com/questions/76091/should-windows-7-32-bit-vs-64-bit-be-installed-on-various-machines


    Actually, you can run 16bit DOS applications (and games) using DOSBOX, a 32 bit Open source freeware dos box emulator. http://www.dosbox.com/.

    • I stand corrected sir!
      – admintech
      May 28 '10 at 10:33

    64bit Windows comes with 2 versions of Internet Explorer (64 & 32bit). Although the 64bit version is faster/better - the lack of support in plugins/addons makes the 64bit version a dud.

    Basic plugins that you would expect to work (Flash, PDF, special print drivers, etc.) almost all fail to work in 64bit.

    As a result, Windows itself makes the 32bit version the default.

    In short, 64bit is definitely better, but the lack of application/driver/addon support for it takes the "wow" out of it.


    I will suggest if you have option take the 64 bit version because all new drivers are releasing 64 bit version and in case of applications you can install both 64 bit and 32 bit on 64 bit operating system but same is not true in case of 32 bit operating system.

    However if you have an old configuration system (probably 3-4 yrs old). I would suggest go for 32 bit as you will not find 64 bit drivers for them and running operating system without proper drivers is a pain.

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