32-bit & 64-bit Windows
Even if you install 32-bit initially, it should be
possible to upgrade to 64-bit later, right?
You can’t upgrade from 32-bit to Windows 7
64-bit without doing a fresh “clean” install,
which requires you to reinstall all applications
from scratch. Therefore, you need to decide on
either 32-bit or 64-bit before you install
While I recommend you go with 64-bit, read
through this article to make an informed
Background: What is 32-bit and 64-bit?
32-bit and 64-bit are computer architectures
that specify the length of data types and
addresses that are supported. What this means
for the average user is how much memory can
effectively and how powerful the number-
crunching capacity of the CPU is.Since Windows
XP was originally only released as a 32-bit
operating system, and because older hardware
have 32-bit device drivers,
application development on the Windows
platform has been slow in moving to 64-bit.
However, after both Windows XP and Vista were
released in 64-bit, Microsoft is now pushing 64-
bit strongly, and you can expect
application developers to take advantage of 64-
bit computing soon.
Should You Buy 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7?
Fortunately, you do not need to worry about all
this when purchasing a computer or Windows 7.
If you are buying a new PC from a vendor, it will
ship with 64-bit Windows pre-installed
if the configuration supports 64-bit. If you buy
retail boxed versions of Windows 7, they will
include both 32-bit and 64-bit editions, except
for the Home Basic edition.
Advantages of 64-bit:
There are several benefits of going to Windows
With 32-bit Windows, you can use a maximum
of 4GB RAM. 64-bit Windows 7 runs very fast
with 4GB and you can upgrade your RAM to 8
or 16 GB later, making your system future-
A 32-bit OS can theoretically use up to 4 GB of
RAM, but 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and
Windows 7 see a maximum of 3.12 GB. With
64-bit Windows 7, you can use the full 4GB
You get better security with 64-bit Windows. All
64-bit device drivers are digitally signed, which
means you will not have random crashes. You
also get more advanced security features like
Kernel Patch Protection with 64-bit Windows 7.
Since 64-bit systems process more information
and support greater RAM, Windows 7 is more
responsive when you are running complex
applications or many applications
simultaneously. If you use graphics applications
like Photoshop, video editing, games, CAD, etc.,
you should go 64-bit.
Not all applications have 64-bit versions that
take advantage of the 64-bit architecture, but
you can expect more of them after Windows 7
goes mainstream. Meanwhile, most 32-bit
applications work fine under 64-bit Windows. If
any of them don't for some reason, you can
reasonably expect the application developers to
fix any issues, because a lot of people will be
running 64-bit Windows.
check If Your PC Supports 64-Bit Windows 7
If you have bought or upgraded your computer
in the past couple of years, with an Intel Core 2
Duo or equivalent/higher processor, your PC is
already equipped to run 64-bit Windows 7.
If you want to make sure, you can do any of the
f you are running 32-bit Windows Vista, go to
Control Panel > System and Maintenance >
Performance Information and Tools. Click View
and print details. In the System section, you can
see whether your PC is 64-bit capable.
You can use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to
find out if your system can run 64-bit Windows
Check the Windows 7 Compatibility Center to
see if your devices have 64-bit drivers.
When You Should Use 32-bit
There are some situations in which you are
better off using 32-bit Windows 7:
If you use only 2GB of RAM, and do not plan to
upgrade anytime soon. To really take advantage
of 64-bit Windows 7, you need minimum 4GB
You have legacy devices like scanners and
printers that do not have 64-bit device drivers.
32-bit drivers are not supported under 64-bit
Windows 7, so you should make sure all the
devices you need to use are compatible with
You run old 16-bit applications that were
developed for Windows 3.1 or DOS. These won’t
run under 64-bit Windows.