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Are you using a processor that supports a 64-bit operating system? If so, are you using a 64-bit operating system? The average off-and-on PC user probably doesn’t know the answers to these questions, although they should!

The 64-bit versions of Windows operating systems offer many advantages, for example practically unlimited RAM. In the 64-bit variant, Windows also offers digital signing of drivers, which means you won’t be crashing nearly as much. We’ve put out an article on the difference between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? Do you know whether your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit and does it even matter? Yes it does! Let's take a look at where these terms come from and what they mean for you. Read More , and some are extremely important.  All of this information and more can be extremely important when determining if you should be going after Windows in its a 32-bit or 64-bit version.

There are so many reasons why 64-bit operating systems are better! Now, let’s look into four ways that you can figure out if you’ve already got the 64-bit goodies.

64bit Checker

64bit Checker is a free tool for Windows that accomplishes this goal, among other things. 64bit Checker will give you information about the operating system and CPU in regards to 64-bit compatibility, as well as the version of Windows that you’re running, what Service Pack you’re on, and when you installed Windows.

64bit Checker

In the Report tab, you’re given a plaintext version of this information in a field that will allow you to copy and paste directly from it or save the report in HTM or TXT format.

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64bit Checker

This tool is completely portable and literally takes seconds to download and run.

Why it’s useful: 64bit Checker tells you everything you need to know. You don’t have to do anything technical or search for information, for example whether your processor can handle a 64-bit operating system. You run the application, read through the table or the text report, and you learn the specifics. It’s that easy.

System Information

You very likely have a desktop shortcut to My Computer / Computer. Right-clicking that shortcut and selecting Properties will bring up a screen with basic information about your system.

Windows 7 System Information

You’re able to see if you’re running a 64-bit operating system and if you’re using a processor that supports one. Other information includes your Windows Experience Index What Is The Windows Experience Index, And How To Maximize It What Is The Windows Experience Index, And How To Maximize It The average user doesn't have a clue what type of hardware they really need. To them, hardware specifications are a jungle and figuring out what they should upgrade if they experience performance issues is a... Read More score, basic processor information, installed RAM, and more.

Why it’s useful: This is probably the quickest way to figure out whether or not you’re currently running a 64-bit operating system and what model processor powers your machine.

Command Line

Through a Command Line prompt A Beginners Guide To The Windows Command Line A Beginners Guide To The Windows Command Line Read More , typing the command “set pro” will reveal a lot of information that will help you piece together required details to know if you are or aren’t on a 64-bit machine.

Command Line

Your processor’s architecture and the folder paths shown here reveal a few things about your 64-bit status. You can see that there is a path in this list pointing to Program Files specific to x86, which is an immediate giveaway that you’re on a 64-bit operating system. The 32-bit versions of Windows only use a single Program Files folder.

Why it’s useful: If your intent is to learn the most about your processor What Is A CPU and What Does It Do? [Technology Explained] What Is A CPU and What Does It Do? [Technology Explained] Read More in the quickest way, this method is best. As you can see in the screenshot, your processor’s architecture, identifier, level, and revision are all displayed. It’s incredibly clear in this example that the CPU supports the use of a 64-bit operating system.

Program Files

Spurring directly from the last method, simply navigating to your main drive’s root directory can be enough to do the trick.

Program Files

As aforementioned, 32-bit versions of Windows will only include a single Program Files folder, while the two folders you see above will be present on any 64-bit system. The Program Files (x86) folder is where applications that are meant to run on 32-bit systems are installed. The main Program Files folder is where all 64-bit applications 3 Websites To Find Software Compatible With 64-Bit Operating Systems 3 Websites To Find Software Compatible With 64-Bit Operating Systems Chances are, those of you who are buying a brand new computer in the next year will be getting your hands on something running a 64-bit operating system. x64 has its pros and cons, but... Read More reside.

Why it’s useful: A lot of software now comes in both 32 and 64-bit versions. While just glancing at the folders reveals if you’re on a 64-bit operating system or not, actually browsing through your Program Files folder for 32-bit applications is a good way of seeing which applications you have installed that might be worth a potential upgrade to a 64-bit version.

Closing

If you’ve purchased a new computer in the past year, I’d be surprised to hear that it has come loaded with a 32-bit operating system or with a processor that doesn’t support 64-bit operating systems. We’re past the transition point where 64-bit is the new standard, but it’s not possible to be too safe and to make sure that you’re running a 64-bit operating system before you do something like decide to install the 64-bit version of a piece of software over its 32-bit version. If you’re ever in a situation like that, and in doubt, you should keep in mind that the 32-bit architecture works just fine under a 64-bit operating system.

If you’ve got any questions about 32-bit or 64-bit operating systems How to Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Operating Systems How to Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Operating Systems When you install Windows, you can pick between the 32-bit and 64-bit version of the operating system. We help you choose the version that is right for you. Read More , feel free to leave me a comment in the section below. Otherwise, let me know which of these methods is easiest to you. Do you prefer the ease of use in one of Windows’ provided options, or is the presentation that 64bit Checker offers enough to get you to download it? Let me know what you think.

  1. ANNA
    November 14, 2016 at 11:54 am

    MYY ELDERLY FATHER CANNOT FIND ON HIS DELL INSPIRON IF IT IS XP 32 BIT OR 64 BIT. SIMPLE WAY HE CAN FIND IT PLEASE. ITS A DELL INSPIRON 640

  2. kim
    January 23, 2016 at 3:01 am

    doesn't help much exspecialy since your command prompt photo on here starts out in system 32 and this is what you posted "You can see that there is a path in this list pointing to Program Files specific to x86, which is an immediate giveaway that you’re on a 64-bit operating system. The 32-bit versions of Windows only use a single Program Files folder. So are you a x64 or a system 32 .

  3. parimal
    March 18, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Hi,
    my laptop HDD crashed and need replacement. It was running windows vista home premium. Now i do not know whether it was 32 or 64 bit. How can i know which version 32 or 64 bit to install? Please its very urgent.

    Thank you

    • Craig Snyder
      March 23, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      If your hard drive needs to be replaced, it wouldn't matter which OS version you install on a replacement. I'd suggest getting the 64-bit version of Vista though. 32-bit versions can only support 4GB of RAM and less, so they aren't exactly future-proof.

  4. Bro
    December 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    How do you determine that your hardware is 64 bit when there is no operating system installed?

    • ionut
      December 29, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      You boot a linux live dvd/usb and use this command after you open a terminal
      % cat /proc/cpuinfo

      Look for "64" or use the processor model information and search it on the internet (for intel use ark.intel.com)

      An example output for a 64bit processor will be:
      $ cat /proc/cpuinfo
      processor : 0
      vendor_id : GenuineIntel
      cpu family : 6
      model : 23
      model name : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T6400 @ 2.00GHz
      stepping : 10
      microcode : 0xa0b
      cpu MHz : 1200.000
      cache size : 2048 KB
      physical id : 0
      siblings : 2
      core id : 0
      cpu cores : 2
      apicid : 0
      initial apicid : 0
      fpu : yes
      fpu_exception : yes
      cpuid level : 13
      wp : yes
      flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl aperfmperf pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm sse4_1 xsave lahf_lm dtherm
      bugs :
      bogomips : 3990.02
      clflush size : 64
      cache_alignment : 64
      address sizes : 36 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
      power management:

      processor : 1
      vendor_id : GenuineIntel
      cpu family : 6
      model : 23
      model name : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T6400 @ 2.00GHz
      stepping : 10
      microcode : 0xa0b
      cpu MHz : 1600.000
      cache size : 2048 KB
      physical id : 0
      siblings : 2
      core id : 1
      cpu cores : 2
      apicid : 1
      initial apicid : 1
      fpu : yes
      fpu_exception : yes
      cpuid level : 13
      wp : yes
      flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl aperfmperf pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm sse4_1 xsave lahf_lm dtherm
      bugs :
      bogomips : 3990.02
      clflush size : 64
      cache_alignment : 64
      address sizes : 36 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
      power management:

  5. Rebecca Z
    August 15, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I have a x64 windows. You can use dxdiag to find out what version of windows you are using

  6. Rajdeepak S
    August 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    you can also find by starting task manager and in the process tab if you see a process with ""*32"" ath the end the os is 64bit,try it.

  7. Jimmy
    August 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Doesn't tell me how much hard drive I have.

  8. Rudi N
    August 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Or just run the DirectX diagnostic window, 'dxdiag' from the start menu or run command or command prompt.

  9. dragonmouth
    August 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Whilst it's nice to know that one has a 64-bit O/S running on a 64-bit CPU, that fact provides very little advantage until applications become optimized or written to take advantage of the CPU and O/S.

  10. Vineed G
    August 4, 2013 at 9:07 am

    and if i want to check if my mobo is x64 then how come can i make sure???

    • likefunbutnot
      August 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      If your computer has any CPU newer than a Pentium 4 or adjective-less Athlon, it's 64-bit. That's effectively everything sold in the last eight years or so. And some of the Pentium 4s were 64-bit too. If your computer has a Windows Vista, 7 or 8 product sticker on it, you can assume that hardware support for a 64 bit OS is at least present.

      Intel Atom-based systems have 64-bit capable processors, but the system chipsets they are paired with very often won't allow for more than 2GB RAM.

    • likefunbutnot
      August 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      My all-time favorite keyboard shortcut in Windows is Windows Key + Break. This brings up the System Properties window, which is the absolute first thing I look at when I sit down at an unfamiliar PC.

  11. Pooky J
    August 4, 2013 at 7:58 am

    My crush's laptop (Dell Inspiron 14z 5423) was loaded with Win7 x86 even if it already has 4GB!

  12. Reuben W
    August 4, 2013 at 4:12 am

    In the 64-bit variant, Windows also offers digital signing of drivers, which means you won’t be crashing nearly as much.

    Last time I checked, the difference was that both offer digital signing, but 64-bit requires it.

    I also don't really see the point in downloading a program just to see info that's easily accessible in the System Information section.

    Anyway, the basic rule with computers these days is go with 64-bit. There's really no reason to go with 32-bit.

  13. SH
    August 4, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Thanks for the very useful post. I have a 64-bit system and note that the two program files folders have some duplicates. For example, iTunes shows up as both the 32-bit and 64-bit version. Can I delete the iTunes sub-folder in the x86 folder?

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