Need for upgrading Windows® 7 32 bit to 64 bit
Is upgrading from Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit beneficial?
Before porting a system with a new version of Windows, it is important to understand which version best suits your requirements. The bit size of a processor means the size of the address space it can refer to. A 32-bit processor is able to refer 2^32 bytes or 4GB of memory. You have two upgrading options during Windows 7 installation, one that preserves your files, settings, and programs and another that does not preserve. Upgrading from Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit belongs to the latter. If you are currently running a 64-bit (32 also) version of Windows Vista, you can perform an upgrade to a 64-bit (32 also) version of Windows 7 by preserving your documents. But if you want to shift from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 7 or vice versa, you would need to back up your files and choose the Custom option during Windows 7 installation. Then, you would have to restore your documents and reinstall all your programs.
The following points explain the need of upgrading Windows 7 32 bit to 64 bit and the features of 64 bit:
- Need for upgrading
- Comparison of 32 bit and 64 bit
- Advantages of 64 bit
Need of upgrading
The 64-bit processors are capable of referencing 2^64 locations in memory, which is more than 4 billion times the number of memory locations 32-bit processors can refer. On the other hand, all 64-bit versions of Microsoft operating systems impose a 16 TB limit on address space and allow no more than 128GB of physical memory due to the impracticality of having 16TB of RAM. Processes created on 64-bit versions of Windows are allowed to have 8TB in virtual memory for user processes and 8TB for kernel processes to create a virtual memory of 16TB.
Comparison of 32 bit and 64 bit
The 64-bit version of Windows handles huge amounts of RAM more effectively than a 32-bit system. Applications running on a 64-bit edition of Windows experience improved performance because of the larger quantity of available memory in it. The larger memory space on 64-bit versions of Windows 7 when compared to 32 bit allows more processes to actively reside in the system RAM simultaneously. It allows users to add additional RAM beyond the 4GB limit (as in 32 bit), up to the amount supported by it. In case of 64-bit version of Windows, Microsoft requires a digital signature on all drivers. But with the 32-bit version of Windows, administrators can install unsigned drivers, even though Microsoft continues to discourage their use.
The most noteworthy advantage of a 64-bit system is that it can use more than 4GB of RAM because Windows 7 64 bit does not only make use of up to 192GB RAM, but it is also capable of using the memory remapping feature of modern BIOSes, which allow the Operating System to really use the full 4GB capacity. Thus, if you are installing Windows 7 64-bit in a 4 GB machine, you would not waste 1GB of RAM like you would with Windows 7 32-bit. Windows 7 64-bit would not slow down your PC as well. The 64-bit version would usually perform better as it allows you to use more memory because of its computing capacity. Above all, most programs designed for the 32-bit version of Windows would work on the 64-bit version of Windows, whereas the program designed for the 64-bit version of Windows would not work on the 32-bit version of Windows.
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