32-bit Operating systems can only handle about 3-3.5 GB of RAM because of the 232= 4 GB limitation. (Unless you are running the specially modded kernel image with Physical Address Extension –PAE mode enabled which you can do by adding /PAE switch to your boot config file or by typing "BCDEdit /set PAE forceenable" in command prompt of Windows 7) Most recent processors are however 64-bit processors, so it makes more sense to go for a 64-bit Operating System. That even removes the 4GB RAM limitation and in general can be more responsive when running multiple tasks together. Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate variants of Windows 7 all come in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Even with all its advantages, people still prefer 32-bit Operating Systems because of lack of 64-bit softwares, its inability to run 16-bit programs and a few misconceptions as well. Lets see if we manage to clear your doubt regarding this.
Is your computer capable of running a 64-bit version of Windows?
To run a 64-bit version of Windows 7 or any other operating system for that matter, your computer must have a 64-bit-capable processor. If you are unsure whether your processor is 64-bit-capable, do the following: l Open Performance Information and Tools from the Control Panel. l Click on “View and print detailed performance and system information”. l In the System section of the window that appears, you can see what type of operating system you're currently running under System type, and whether or not you can run a 64-bit version of Windows under 64-bit capable heading. (If your computer is already running a 64-bit version of Windows, the 64-bit capable listing might not be available.)
Is your computer currently running a 32-bit or a 64-bit version of
To see if your computer is running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, do the following:
1. Open System from the Control Panel
2. There, you can view the system type.
Can you upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows?
No. If you are currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can only upgrade to a 32-bit version of Windows 7. Similarly, if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows, you can only upgrade to 64-bit version of Windows 7. If you want to move from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 7, you'll need to perform a clean installation of the 64-bit version of Windows.
Can you run 32-bit programs on a 64-bit computer?
Yes. Most programs designed for a computer with 32-bit Windows will work on 64-bit versions of Windows. However, drivers designed for 32-bit versions of Windows do not work on computers running a 64-bit version of Windows. You will have to obtain 64-bit drivers for your devices, but you need not worry too much since most driver cd’s these days come with both 32 and 64 bit drivers. Its only a matter of concern for older hardware, especially the ones for which the company has stopped support and updating drivers.
Would you benefit from using a 64-bit computer?
Yes. You will have more RAM available to you and you will finally be able to utilise your entire 4GB or higher amount of RAM. Apart from that, 64-bit Operating system is more efficient in handling memory intensive programs and from our experience softwares like Photoshop, 3D Studio Max and others which have separate 64-bit versions for 64-bit Operating systems run smoother than their 32-bit counterparts.