Difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows

What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows?
The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer’s processor (also called a CPU), handles information. The 64-bit version of Windows handles large amounts of random access memory (RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit system.

How can I tell if my computer is running a 32-bit or a 64-bit version of Windows?
To find out if your computer is running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, do the following:

  • Open System by clicking the Start button , right-click on My Computer, and then click Properties.
  • Under System, you can view the system type.

If your computer is running Windows XP, do the following:

  • Click Start.
  • Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
    • If you don’t see “x64 Edition” listed, then you’re running the 32-bit version of Windows XP.
    • If “x64 Edition” is listed under System, you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows XP

Which version of Windows 7 should I install: the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version?
To install a 64-bit version of Windows 7, you need a CPU that’s capable of running a 64-bit version of Windows. The benefits of using a 64-bit operating system are most apparent when you have a large amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer, typically 4 GB of RAM or more. In such cases, because a 64-bit operating system can handle large amounts of memory more efficiently than a 32-bit operating system, a 64-bit system can be more responsive when running several programs at the same time and switching between them frequently.

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