What is the difference between a 64-bit and a 32-bit operating system?

Jonathan Mould February 8, 2011

What is the difference between a 64-bit and a 32-bit operating system? What is a bit? What does 64-bit mean? And is one better than the other?

  1. Mike
    February 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    While everything above is correct I want to add the following.

    1. A 32bit Windows is able to use more than 4GB of RAM assuming that both Windows and the Processor support PAE (Physical Address Extension). In this situation Windows will still show "4GB" of RAM but create additional paging tables into the rest of the physical Memory.

    2. When using 4GB RAM with a 32bit Windows there will only be 2.7 to 3.2GB available, the rest is reserved for Hardware.

    3. There are a lot benefits of using 64bit including 4GB RAM (and more) available to user applications, protected execution, more speed because instructions larger instruction and data set.

    For Windows XP 64-bit I agree that there is no real benefit. XP was never intended for 64bit ~ it was released to satisfy the market.
    Windows 7 on the other hand takes full advantage of 64bit while the 32-bit compatibility mode doesn't add any noticeable performance loss.

  2. Anonymous
    February 9, 2011 at 10:29 am

    With above excellent guides and links:

    1)64-bit versions of Windows support hardware-backed DEP.
    2)Kernel Patch Protection (PatchGuard):This feature is available in 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. Kernel Patch Protection helps prevent a malicious program from updating the Windows Vista kernel. This feature works by helping to prevent a kernel-mode driver from extending or replacing other kernel services. Also, this feature helps prevent third-party programs from updating (patching) any part of the kernel.
    3)Driver signing:64-bit versions of Windows Vista require that all device drivers be digitally signed by the developer
    4)16-bit program support:64-bit versions of Windows Vista do not support 16-bit programs.

    Who Will Get More Use Of A 64Bits Configuration?
    mostly businesses, universities, scientific groups, and government. If you produce videos, computer art, or develop programs, 64-bit systems will be helpful. But for the home user, 64-bit is currently a question?. You won't see faster activities like writing, spreadsheet processing, or web browsing, save your cash for something else like best processor, graphical cards....

  3. Anonymous
    February 9, 2011 at 7:58 am

    This pretty much sums it up:

    During my research about 64 and 32 bit operating system I found many people confused about what computer they should purchase or what "bit" system they should choose...I think this article is a great help for people to choose the correct machine for their use.

    So, what is the difference between 32 and 64 bit operating system?

    A 32 bit processor is faster than a 64 bit processor, 64 bit processors are very commonly used that you can find it easily in any home pc but the main difference is the hardware you are having on your machine. For 32 bits there isn't any need of any wide main bus to carry 32 bits at a time but for 64 bits its must that you should have a wider bus to carry 64bits.

    The main difference between a 32 bit and 64 is that 32 bit system has 4gb(gigabytes) of space for addressing means that the 32 bit system has a limit of 4GB RAM to process data where as the 64 bit operating system has 2^64 bits of space to address and supports 16 hexabytes of RAM to process data.

    In simple words an operating system of 32 bit has a 4GB limit to process any data depending upon the sizes of files and RAM

    A person who does not care about the category will find 64 bit more beneficial than 32 bit because he can use 64 bit OS with 32 bit OS and software. If we compare 64 bit with 32 bit OS, 64 bit is faster and performs more upgraded silicon processes and have more no of transistors which proves it to be more advantageous than 32 bit.

    Now most of the software companies are developing their software in accordance to the 64 bit environment, it's really hard for the consumers to run a 64 bit application in 32 bit environment, in this case they have to upgrade their hardware's such as RAM which is also a big issue because most of the computer users have less than 1Gb in their systems.

    So instead of changing your hardware often I would recommend 32 bit OS over 64 bit which is more user friendly and enables its user to run applications of 64 bit in 32 bit environment.


    • Helloojha
      March 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      very bad