Difference Between 32-bit and 64-bit Explained | What is Your Operating System Architecture Windows & Linux

Hello Readers, Many of you might be wondering what kind of architecture my system works on and what is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit architecture. So, here is a simple explanation of what is 32-bit and 64-bit. x32-bit processor means the processor architecture is based on a 32-bit architecture. x86_64 means the processor architecture is based on a 64-bit architecture. so I will refer to x64 as 64-bit operating system and x64 as a 64-bit operating system sometimes in this article.

What is 32-bit & 64-bit Architecture of an Operating System?

To put it simple terms, data is always loaded from registers, so in a 32-bit operating system it contains only 32-bits of memory that can be used to perform an operating which is a little bit low. This operation might be a simple addition or subtraction or anything. This can work up to like 2^32-bits which is 4 Giga bytes of ram. So what if I want to perform much larger operations? 32-bit is not gonna work right. So, here comes 64-bit operating systems which works much better than the 64-bit, so if you simply calculate 2^64-bits the value is 1.8446744e+19, its pretty much high, you can work on terabytes of RAM.  Obviously a 64-bit operating system can handle more data than a 32-bit processor.

So, 32-bit operating system can handle only 4GB of RAM and 64-bit operating system can handle to tera bytes or much more RAM. So with the need for increase in RAM, processors should also upgrade. Therefore x86_64 processors are created and for them to be compactable and work better 64-bit operating systems are developed by Microsoft, apple and all other vendors.  if you are a 64-bit operating system user you can run both 32-bit applications as well not 64-bit applications. But, it’s not the same with 32-bit operating systems. It can run only 32-bit applications because the CPU can understand only binary language, the code for the 32-bit and 64-bit applications is different. So, you can’t run a 64-bit application on a 32-bit operating system.

To explain it a little bit technically, suppose when a C language program is taken, for the application to run It needs to be compiled, when the program is compiled an object file is created, this is not an executable file then there is something called Linker which creates a executable file which we use to run an application. Whenever we run an application there is one more program called loader it loads the executable file into ram where the code is broken into assembly language which contains only instructions, in the assembly language all the data is addressed as registers whose capacity in a 32-bit processor is 32-bits only.  Running an instruction can be measured by 2 mostly. So 2^32 is 4 Giga bytes of memory is the maximum capacity 32-bit processor can run.

Most of the manufactures after 2005 started making only 64-bit operating systems, it’s not like 32-bit systems are not being developed, they are being developed as well. But 64-bit systems are booming the market.

How to find out your Windows operating system processor architecture

There are many ways to find out the architecture and processor your windows machine is using. Here are two simple ways of find out if your system is running on a 32-bit Operating system or 64-bit operating system.

Step 1: right click on “My Computer” and click on “Properties

Step 2: You can see the “System Type”

As my operating system is a 64-bit operating system, it is shown as a 64-bit operating system. If your operating system is a 32-bit operating system and your processor is x64 based processor it will be shown as “32-bit operating system, x64-based Processor”. It’s better to change to a 64-bit operating system in that case for better performance.

How to Check your Processor Architecture

Step 1: open “run” by “Ctrl + R

Step 2: Click on “System Summary” on the left side, then you can see all your system details. There you can find “System Type” is x64-Based PC or a x32-Based PC

So, that’s how you find your processor type for your windows machine. Now let me show you how you can find the same for your Linux machines.

How to Check your Processor Architecture and Operating System Architecture in Linux Machines

Open “Terminal” and type “lscpu” there you can find all the details of your cpu, along with cpu architecture ,operating system architecture, threads per code, core’s per socket, your system model number and it’s complete configuration.

Frequently Asked Questions

 1) My hardware supports 64-bit operating system and I am using a 32-bit operating system, is it a problem?
Ans: No it’s actually not a problem, it’s just that your operating system cannot utilize the performance of your system to a maximum. It’s better to change your operating system to 64-bit, you can just visit your vendor website (Microsoft) and download the operating system 64-bit image file and install it.
  2)   I am running a 32-bit application on a 64-bit
Ans: It’s just that your operating system will not be able to utilize the performance of your system to a maximum
  3)   Should I change to a 32-bit operating system for sure?
Ans: I leave it in your hands, most of the recent applications stopped supporting 32-bit operating systems.
  4)   I am a gamer running a 32-bit operating system
Ans: If you are a gamer, you need to change your operating system to 64-bit for sure, because you will face lot of memory related issues, most of the recent games supports only 64-bit OS, if you are on a 64-bit OS – gaming performance increases to a great extent and can play for longer period of time without shutting down the game.


If you are still on a 32-bit operating system it’s better to change your operating system to 64-bit because of its high functionality and its availability of resource usage

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Bhanu Namikaze

Bhanu Namikaze is an Ethical Hacker, Security Analyst, Blogger, Web Developer and a Mechanical Engineer. He Enjoys writing articles, Blogging, Debugging Errors and Capture the Flags. Enjoy Learning; There is Nothing Like Absolute Defeat - Try and try until you Succeed.

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