Which version of Windows 7 should I upgrade to – 32 bit or 64 bit?

Timothy November 17, 2014
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I have been using Windows XP running on an Intel Core2 Quad CPU since 2009. As Windows XP is already obsolete, I wish to upgrade to windows7 32 bit.

However, retailers over here no longer sell the 32Bit OEM version anymore although the 64 bit version is still easily available. I am still using a lot of applications running on 32BIT and I do not wish to buy a new computer for now. I want to extend the life of my present computer till 2020 when the Extended Support for Windows 7 is supposed to be over. Can anyone help? Many thanks.

  1. Rajaa Chowdhury
    November 20, 2014 at 2:48 am

    How much RAM does your PC have?

  2. Dalsan M
    November 19, 2014 at 2:07 am

    If you list the applications you need and want most and cannot live without and give us how much installed RAM you have, we can make a more definitive suggestion on what would best fit your wants and needs. The amount of memory you have installed would be the second biggest factor (since your processor is 64-bit compatible), next to the applications that you would be using most and cannot live without. If you have 2GB or less of installed RAM, I would suggest upgrading to 4GB or more if you choose to go with 64-bit Windows 7. If you do not plan on upgrading RAM to or above 4GB, then 32-bit would be the best choice. Almost all programs, at least more recent versions, would be compatible with 64-bit Windows 7.

    Something to note is that you may want to go to your computer's manufacturer website to see if you can easily find the latest Windows 7 64-bit drivers for your computer hardware, as well as check to see if there are Windows 7 32-bit drivers for your computer hardware. You definitely want to make sure that you have the compatible drivers downloaded and available on removable storage just in case you need them during or after the installation of Windows 7. Sometimes older hardware will not function properly or the drivers cannot be found by Windows. If you have trouble finding any drivers, we may be able to help find compatible ones for you.

    If you can get past some of the changes in interface for Windows 8.1 (aside from the Modern UI, formerly Metro UI), it may be a better choice as it runs smoother on lower resources including 2GB of RAM. You can always install a free or paid start menu replacement (IOBit's Start Menu 8 is what I use, and it is free) in order to bypass the Modern/Metro UI and go straight into the desktop screen with full Start Menu functionality. Windows 8.1 also allows the use of the Microsoft Store, which has many useful paid and free Metro Apps that can be found on Windows Phone, such as social networking apps, productivity apps, and games like Asphalt 8 (which is free).

    If you want to use the computer until 2020, I would definitely go for 64-bit if possible. Many developers and software companies are moving to 64-bit over 32-bit for performance reasons, but this would use more RAM than 32-bit versions, so upgrading to 4GB RAM if you haven't already done so would be highly suggested. The processor is more than enough to run 64-bit operating systems, so why not take advantage of it?

  3. ha14
    November 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    The 'Program Files (x86)' and 'SysWOW64' folders explained (Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit)
    http://www.samlogic.net/articles/32-64-bit-windows-folder-x86-syswow64.htm

    Running 32-bit Applications
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa384249(v=vs.85).aspx

  4. Norman
    November 17, 2014 at 11:16 am

    What Oron J Said, though i would advise only installing 64 Bit if you have 4GB ram or more, as otherwise you will find some performance issues.

    Windows 8 will run just fine also, and its pretty cheap for an upgrade copy.

  5. Oron J
    November 17, 2014 at 10:59 am

    You can install the 64 bit version (so long as it's compatible with your processor, which I'm pretty sure it would be, given that it's quad core). The 64 bit version of Windows has a compatibility layer that allwos 32 bit programs run on it just fine.

    The only programs that may have trouble running on it those that interact directly with hardware (device drivers) or interface with the OS at a low level (e.g. Anti-virus programs) and it's usually easy enough to find 64 bit versions of those programs.

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