Does x86 architecture of Windows indicate installation for 32 bit Windows?

Drsunil V February 6, 2014

Does x86 architecture of Windows 8 installation file indicate a 32 bit processor?

In other words, Windows x86 architecture ( installation file) is for a 32 bit processor and x64 architecture is for 64 bit processors?

  1. Oron J
    February 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    x64 means "64 bit processors" whereas x86 means, in effect "designed for Intel processors of 32 or 64 bit architectures".
    I found Bruce's reply to Dalsan the clearest of all on this thread.

    • Drsunil V
      February 8, 2014 at 7:47 am

      hi. Please repharase your answer using one of the two words "either" / "both" as asked - do you imply *86 architecture windows is compatible with "either" 32 or 64 bit cpu , or with "both" 32 and 64 bit cpu?

    • Oron J
      February 8, 2014 at 11:26 am

      Err, yes, both! x86 software will mostly run on both 32 bit and 64 bit processors, while x64 software will only run on 64 bit versions of Windows, which in turn will only run on 64 bit hardware.

      By the way, I say "mostly" for x86 since, despite all that was said above, some software will not run properly on a 64 bit machine. This is software that works at a very low level (i.e. talks directly to the hardware), such as some device drivers and security software.

  2. Dalsan M
    February 6, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    x86 denotes 32 bit processing, and x64 denotes 64 bit processing, but does not mean that x86 is only for 32 processors; 64 bit processors are backwards compatible with 32 bit applications and software.

    • Drsunil V
      February 7, 2014 at 3:46 am

      Thanks. Please tell , does it imply that windows version of *86 architecture can be compatibly installed on a 32 bit processor machine?

    • Bruce E
      February 7, 2014 at 3:54 am

      Windows x86 operating systems can be installed on either 32-bit or 64-bit machines.
      Windows x64 operating systems can be installed ONLY on 64-bit machines.

    • Dalsan M
      February 7, 2014 at 6:23 am

      As others have mentioned, x86 it's for 32 bit machines and 64 bit machines, but x64 it's only for 64 bit machines and higher (though there isn't anything higher as of yet).

    • Drsunil V
      February 8, 2014 at 7:49 am

      Nice answers by both Dalsan and Bruce. hi Bruce. If you do not answer in new thread , how could I mark your answer as best?

  3. Hovsep A
    February 6, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    if there are x86 and x64 indications then yes as you said in your question

    • Drsunil V
      February 8, 2014 at 7:49 am

      I understand

  4. Jan F
    February 6, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Your understanding of x86 and x64 is correct, yes.

    You can install a 32-bit Windows on a 64-bit processor and you can install a 32-bit software within a 64-bit operating system.
    You cannot install a 64-bit Windows on a 32-bit processor and you cannot install a 64-bit software within a 32-bit operating system.

    So having a 32-bit Windows installation doesn't necessarily mean the processor is x86 architecture wherein a (running) 64-bit Windows installation clearly means your processor is 64-bit capable.

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