When you plan to buy a Windows based laptop or PC, you need to consider various factors like price and configuration. Besides those general factors, one of the most confusing point is to buy a 32-bit version or 64-bit version. This is challenging, because many of us don’t know the exact differences between these two system type versions. At this point, generally people use 64-bit version to support latest apps. However, you may need to manually choose the option of 32-bit or 64-bit when you install Windows. In this article, let us explore the basics of Windows 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
1. What is Bit and Byte?
Basic first!!! Computer only knows binary machine language which is nothing but 0 and 1. It stores data and measures the storage with different sizes. A bit is a small segment of data generally representing a binary digit. The next size of data is byte consists of 8 bits. Computer needs multiple bits and bytes to store data and execute instructions.
First let us understand 32-bit and 64-bit processors before we go to Windows operating system.
2. Difference Between 32-bit and 64-bit Processors
A processor, also known as the brain of the computer, works with the circuits and the registers. It needs bytes cycle to process any form of data in the PC. the major difference between 32-bit and 64-bit processor lies in the processing capability.
2.1. Data Processing Capacity
A 32-bit processor can process 4 bytes of data during one cycle. It needs another cycle in order to process data greater than 4 bytes. Hence, the time consumed in processing data is more.
On other hand, a 64-bit processor can quickly process the data less than 8 bytes in a single cycle. Moreover, it will be still faster to process the data greater than 8 bytes in another cycle compared to a 32-bit processor. The 64-bit obviously process and carries more data from the RAM (Random access memory) than 32-bit.
2.2. Processor Speed Difference
Sometimes, you can’t notice the speed difference between the two processors. However, when using large number of applications and multitasking, 32-bit processor will be compartively slower than it’s counterpart.
These days 32-bit processors are kind of less as compared to 64-bit versions. Everybody loves a great processor these days, and so does the operating systems.
3. Difference Between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows
Now that you understand the basic difference between the two types of processor. Let us look into the two system types of Windows operating system.
3.1. RAM Usage
We don’t think that there is anything to worry about the RAM management in the 64-bit as its way better than 32-bit version.
The 32-bit version of the operating system can only handle up to 4 GB (Gigabyte) of RAM maximum. It only needs a minimum requirement as 1 GB RAM. However, minimum of 2 GB of RAM is mandatory for 64-bit Windows operating system and it can handle theoretically up to 16 million TB (Terabyte) of RAM. This also means 64-bit Windows operating system is going to use the RAM more efficiently.
3.2. Working Compatibility
32-bit Windows version will work perfectly on the 64-bit processor. However, the vice-versa is not the same. To take full advantage of the 64-bit processor, you need to install the 64-bit version of Windows on it.
There are some security improvements in 64-bit Windows version.
- A patch guard for the kernel to prevent any changes to the Windows kernel.
- A driver sign enforcement is mandatory in the 64-bit version of Windows to write new drivers. Hence, it’s difficult to add any malware to the computer.
4. How to Check Windows Type on Your PC?
This is quite simple, and most of us probably know it either way. Those who do not know how to do this, follow the steps given below:
- Right-click on ‘This PC’ from your desktop and choose properties. If you don’t see “This PC” icon on your desktop, learn how to bring it back.
- A new properties window will open up. You can view the complete details of your computer in the properties window.
- Check out the “System type” information on the “System” section. in the below example, the system type is 64-bit operating system. The x-64 based processor indicates the computer has 64-bit processor.
4.1. Checking Device Specifications
If you are not able to get the operating system type in the above manner then follow this instructions:
- Type in “about PC” in the Windows or Cortana Search box.
- You will see the first option as “About your PC” system settings and click on that.
- It will open “About” section of Windows Settings app.
- Scroll down on the right pane and look the details under “Device specifications”.
- Check against “System type” to find whether you have 32-bit or 64-bit Windows operating system.
- In the below screenshot, you can see the type is 32-bit operating system. However, the processor is of 64-bit. Though this is under utilizing of the processor, the available RAM size is only 2GB which may not be sufficient to run large programs.
5. Final Words
If you guys are installing Windows right now and you have a choice between 32-bit and 64-bit version, our recommendation would go for the 64-bit version of Windows. Previously, there were problems for drivers of 64-bit version programs, but nowadays, everyone is making applications for 64-bit Windows. So, we don’t think there would be any problem with that.
Also, 64-bit windows can smoothly run the 32-bit programs also but vice-versa sometimes not possible.