Should you download 32-bit or 64-bit Windows? Here are the differences between 32-bit và 64-bit installations so you can make the right call.

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When you create a bootable Windows installer or install the OS from a disc, you'll have lớn decide whether you want the 32-bit or 64-bit operating system. If you're not sure what these mean, this question might confuse you. & worse, choosing the wrong option could hamper your system performance down the road.

Let's discuss the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, and which one you should choose next time you install Windows.


32-Bit và 64-Bit: What's the Difference?

We've discussed the differences between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows elsewhere, which we'll summarize briefly here. Whether you can install a copy of 32-bit or 64-bit Windows depends on the processor inside your computer.

Like Windows, processors are either 32-bit or 64-bit. 64-bit machines can process much more information at once, making them more powerful. 32-bit processors are still present in some old computers, but have been almost entirely overtaken by 64-bit CPUs today.

If you have a 32-bit processor, your only option is lớn install 32-bit Windows. Conversely, while it's possible to install 32-bit Windows on a 64-bit processor, you must run 64-bit Windows khổng lồ take full advantage of a 64-bit CPU's benefits.

Windows 11 is only available as a 64-bit version. If you have a 32-bit CPU, you can't install Windows 11 at all. Windows 10 through Windows 7 are available in both flavors.


To see if you have 64-bit Windows installed on Windows 10, head to Settings > System > About. Under the Device specifications header, next to System type, you'll see if Windows và your processor are 32-bit or 64-bit.


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On earlier versions of Windows, right-click Computer in the Start menu and choose Properties to view the same information (or use the Win + Pause screenshot).

If you weren't aware, x86 refers to 32-bit architecture, while x64 means 64-bit.


Should I download 32-Bit or 64-Bit Windows?

Today, 64-bit installations of Windows have superseded 32-bit versions in almost all cases. Installing 64-bit Windows is usually the right move, but it's worth reviewing your current thiết lập in case.


If you buy a new PC off the shelf, it will include a 64-bit copy of Windows. With a new PC that has a 64-bit version of Windows installed on a 64-bit processor, you're all set. The only time you'll find a PC with a 32-bit CPU now is a used model. Avoid buying any computer you find this way, as it will be outdated.

When you're upgrading a current Windows installation, it might be a different story. If you're upgrading lớn Windows 10 or 11 from an earlier version, first check to see if your processor is 64-bit using the above method.

If it is, you should install the 64-bit version of Windows when you upgrade. This gives you the best performance and prevents you from going through another nâng cấp later.


In case you have a 32-bit processor & are upgrading khổng lồ Windows 10, you can still install the 32-bit edition. We'd recommend saving for a new computer, as you won't be able lớn upgrade your current machine lớn Windows 11 later on.

Installing the Right Version of Windows

While you can sometimes find a physical copy of Windows at stores like Walmart và Best Buy, the best way to lớn install Windows for most people is through Microsoft's Windows download page.

Choose the version you want, then click the Download button under the Create Windows installation media section khổng lồ grab the truyền thông media Creation Tool. This will walk you through upgrading your current PC or creating a bootable USB drive khổng lồ install Windows on another machine.

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When you walk through the steps, the tool will ask you khổng lồ choose the Architecture for the installation, which is where you can pick 64-bit or 32-bit. Windows will recommend an option based on what it detects from your PC. Uncheck the Use the recommended options box if you need lớn change it based on what you found earlier.


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If you're running a genuine copy of Windows, you can likely upgrade lớn Windows 10 or Windows 11 for free. Your current hàng hóa key will activate the new version.

If you have to buy a fresh license, don't worry about 64-bit or 32-bit when getting the sản phẩm key. Buying a license just entitles you khổng lồ activate & use Windows; it's not tied to either architecture type.


Now that you know if you need 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, what does using a 64-bit edition of Windows 10 or Windows 11 actually vày for you?

The biggest change is that 64-bit Windows can handle much more RAM than a 32-bit edition. 32-bit operating systems limit you to using 4GB of RAM or less. Thus, any RAM that you have installed over 4GB isn't usable on 32-bit Windows. 64-bit systems can use more RAM than you'll ever need (about 17 million TB, theoretically).


On a 64-bit Windows system, you'll also notice two different Program Files folders in your system drive. Because 32-bit programs are inherently different from 64-bit software, Windows keeps them separate.

Thus, whenever you install software that's built for x64 systems, it goes to lớn the Program Files folder. 32-bit software goes into Program Files (x86) instead. On a 32-bit system, you'll only see one Program Files folder, as it can't use 64-bit software.

Under the hood, 64-bit Windows is also inherently more secure. Most of the enhancements come from low-level tweaks beyond the scope of this overview; one example is that 64-bit Windows forces drivers to be signed. While these changes don't make the OS immune lớn attack, it's a more modern architecture that isn't held back by old exploits.

Choosing Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Software

Many apps, such as Google Chrome & Microsoft Office, are available in a 64-bit flavor. These versions don't provide massive improvements over the 32-bit versions, but they are more efficient & stable than their 32-bit counterparts.


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Heavy programs, like đoạn phim editors và high-end games, run better in their 64-bit versions. Multi-tasking becomes more efficient, too.

On a 64-bit system, if you have a choice between 32-bit và 64-bit apps, always go with 64-bit for best performance. But there's nothing wrong with running 32-bit apps on a 64-bit system, as most apps can't take advantage of the differences anyway.

You can see which apps on your system are 32-bit by opening the Task Manager with Ctrl + Shift + Esc & checking the Processes tab. Anything with (32 bit) next to its name isn't 64-bit yet.



32-Bit vs. 64-Bit: Other Considerations

As long as your computer/processor is fairly recent, you shouldn't have any issues upgrading khổng lồ a 64-bit version of Windows from a 32-bit version.

If your computer's processor was one of the earliest lớn feature 64-bit architecture, it might lack support for a few minor features. This can cause issues with 64-bit Windows, but you can run a tool lượt thích 64bit Checker khổng lồ make sure your hardware is ready to go for 64-bit Windows.


If you're currently on a 32-bit version of Windows và plan to lớn upgrade, you must vày a clean install. There's no easy nâng cấp path, like when you update Windows 7 lớn Windows 10. Check out our guide on upgrading Windows 10 from 32 khổng lồ 64-bit when you're ready.


Additionally, when running 64-bit Windows, you must make sure that your hardware is compatible. Windows Update should automatically find drivers for your internal components, but outdated printers or other old peripherals might not have a 64-bit driver. Unlike software, 32-bit drivers won't work on a 64-bit OS.

Archaic 16-bit applications, lượt thích DOS games, won't work on 64-bit versions of Windows either. You'll need khổng lồ use workarounds to run old software on 64-bit Windows.


bởi vì I Need 64-Bit Windows?

For most people, 64-bit Windows is today's standard & you should use it lớn take advantage of security features, better performance, and increased RAM capability. The only rare reasons you'd want to lớn stick with 32-bit Windows are:

Your computer has a 32-bit processor. Since you'd have to lớn buy a new machine khổng lồ install 64-bit Windows, stick with what you have for now. We recommend upgrading soon to lớn take advantage of modern hardware. You use ancient software or devices. Since 32-bit Windows was widely used for years, older devices only offered 32-bit drivers. If your printer is trăng tròn years old, it probably won't work on 64-bit Windows. Hopefully, you don't vì chưng daily work with software from decades ago, but if you do, you should probably hold off on upgrading lớn 64-bit Windows. In either case, consider updating those tools so you can modernize your system.

If you run into issues installing apps for architecture or other reasons, find out what to vì chưng when Windows software won't install.