Microsoft® Windows 7 32-bit versus 64-bit: Which one is right for you?
Microsoft launched their first 64-bit operating system as a version of Windows Vista, in those days; everyone was dubious about shifting to the 64-bit platform. It didn’t help things when Vista as an operating system failed to both capture the imagination of the consumers and impress critics. Microsoft took the hint and was quick to replace it with a better operating system which we all know as Windows 7. Like Vista, it too is being offered in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, but many are still not sure about the difference between the two, and yet others are hesitant because they heard that the 64-bit version comes rife with compatibility issues. Let’s try to understand what the difference really is, and which option is more suited to your needs.
The terms 32-bit and 64-bit signify how the computer’s processor handles information. Without getting into too much technicality, one may say that a 64-bit version of Windows is more adept at handling large amounts of random access memory as compared to the 32-bit version.
First things first, in order to run a 64-bit operating system; you will need a 64-bit processor. So make sure you have one before you purchase Windows 7 64-bit.
With the market penetration of 64-bit versions of Windows increases, most software manufacturers now release specifically designated 64-bit versions of their software. Although, there is nothing that stops a 32-bit application from running on a 64-bit operating system, fact remains that you would not be able to really harness the power of the operating system while doing that.
One thing that you will have to be careful about is drivers, especially old ones; old 32-bit drivers will not run on a 64-bit operating system. If you have relatively new hardware, this should not really be a point of concern.
To 64-bit or not to 64-bit
If you have a 64-bit processor, then the obvious thing to do is to go for Windows 7 64-bit. All the more better if you have a relatively large amount of RAM on your system, anything around or upwards of 4GB. The advantage of using 64-bit is that the system will run smoother, faster and will be able to multi-task in a much more efficient way. Installing Windows 7 64-bit may not make much sense if these requirements are not met, in which case you should consider upgrading because the difference in performance is readily noticeable.