32 Bit vs 64 Bit?, Maybe you’ve seen 32-bit and 64-bit names on the operating system and on the processor. Usually, this happens when you try to install an application. Because in fact, various applications out there are available in two versions, namely 32 bit and 64 bit.
If you don’t know-how, it could be that the application you install can’t even be used or compatible with the operating system on your PC. Therefore, knowing the difference between the two is fairly important, even for ordinary people. Take it easy, not so confusing to learn, really!
What is 32 bit and 64 bit?
In the 1990s and 2000s, all computers were built to support only 32-bit architectures. That’s why all processors used in ancient PCs could also be called 32-bit processors. Meanwhile, today’s CPUs, of course, all support the more superior and up-to-date 64-bit architecture.
Well, besides being used as a differentiator for processor architecture, 32 bit and 64 bit also refer to the operating system architecture being used. Even if you are already using a modern processor, you will not be able to fully utilize the potential of a 64-bit processor if you still use 32-bit Windows. That is why the terms 32 bit and 64 bit are often used today.
32-Bit vs. 64-Bit OSes: What’s the Difference?
In this era of multi-use computers, it’s really insignificant if you don’t know the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. So, let’s look at the points of difference below!
RAM Access Limits
Well, the most striking difference that you really need to know is the limitation of memory addresses that can be accessed by 32 bits and 64 bits. Because 32-bit processors were created in the era of our parents, of course, then technology was not as advanced as it is today.
Therefore, a 32-bit processor can only access a maximum of 2 to the 32 power of RAM, or to be precise 4,294,967,296 (about 4 GB). Meanwhile, if you use a 64-bit processor and operating system architecture, your PC can access RAM larger than 4 GB.
So, what if the processor already uses 64 bit but the operating system is still 32 bit? How much RAM do you have, basically the PC can only operate as if you only have 4 GB of RAM.
Installation Folder Location
Do you know? Even if you use a 64-bit Windows operating system, you can still install 32-bit applications. Yes, some application providers do provide two different versions.
Just like the previous explanation, applications that carry the 64-bit version can use more than 4 GB of RAM resources so that in theory they can run faster. Meanwhile, 32-bit applications can only use a maximum of 4 GB of RAM.
If you install a 32-bit application on a 64-bit operating system, it will be installed in the “Program Files (x86)” folder. Why is that? This is because the usual “Program Files” folder only accommodates 64-bit versions of applications and 32-bit versions of applications that have been installed need to be separated. This is to prevent the application from crashing.
Unplugged, 32-bit applications may load specific DLL files for 64 bit or vice versa. If this happens, the application will not run properly and will have compatibility issues.
Not All Applications Are Available in 64 Bit Version
Maybe you are wondering. If you use a 64-bit operating system, what’s the point in installing 32-bit applications? After all, if all applications were on a superior architecture, wouldn’t their performance be faster?
The problem is one: not all applications are available on the 64-bit version. On average they only issue a 32-bit version, and it will be stored in the “Program Files (x86)” folder that was explained earlier.
As a benefit, there is no advantage with installing 32-bit applications. But if you only want to install 64-bit applications, you might only have a handful of applications (because they are less common).
However, if you come across a 64-bit version of an app, try to install that one instead of 32 bit. An example is an antivirus program like Bitdefender which is also available in a 64-bit version.
Also Read: How to Clean The Laptop Screen Fast and Easy
x86 Is 32 Bit, and x64 Is 64 Bit
Oh yeah, you installed the 32-bit application in the “Program Files (x86)” folder, right? Why not “Program Files (x32)” huh? Here’s the story. So, Intel previously released a microprocessor with the name Intel 8086. The processor actually runs on 16-bit architecture.
However, a few moments later, an Intel processor with 32-bit architecture with a name ending in “86” appeared. The name x86 became quite well-known, and finally, it is now used as a term that refers to a lesser architecture for modern operating systems, namely 32 bit.
That’s why x86 refers to 32 bits. As for x64, yes, of course, what is meant is 64 bit. Now you understand, right?
64 Bit Operating System Does Not Support 16 Bit Applications
This is actually a difference that is not that important to know, but still interesting to discuss. In this day and age, most applications are available in the 32-bit version, and only a handful are available in the 64-bit version. So, what about 16-bit applications?
Well, unfortunately, Windows 10, which is already running on a 64-bit architecture, can’t run 16-bit applications from the Windows 3.0 era. Windows 10 can run 32-bit applications because it has a subsystem called WoW64, which makes it capable of running applications with two different versions.
As for 16 bit, Windows 10 doesn’t have a subsystem that supports it and has to go some way. For example, using WineVDM or other methods. If you are desperate to use 16-bit applications, the easy solution is to use 32-bit Windows.
How to Check 32 Bit or 64 Bit on Windows 10
If you already know the difference between the two, you might not be sure which Windows you are using. No need to worry, because you can check the operating system architecture as easy as turning your hand. Come on, follow the steps below.
- Open Windows Explorer by clicking Windows key + E on your keyboard.
- Then, right-click on This PC.
- Select the Properties menu.
- In the System section, you can see 32 bit or 64-bit information in the System type description.
It’s not difficult, right? Now that you know, you can customize the applications installed with the Windows architecture you have.
So, that was a glimpse of the terms 32 Bit vs 64 Bit. After knowing the differences above, hopefully, you will know why there are two different Program Files folders.
If, for example, you are looking for a specific application installation folder and can’t find it in Program Files, maybe the program is in Program Files (x86) or vice versa.
By knowing the difference between 32 bits and 64, you can also try to find 64-bit applications before downloading them, so that you get better performance and can take advantage of the total RAM capacity you have instead of just 4 GB.