FAQs 64-bit and 32-bit Operating Systems and Applications

What do the terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to?

The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer's processor (also called a central processing unit or CPU) handles information. The 64-bit Operating Systems and applications are able to handle large amounts of random access memory (RAM) more effectively than their 32-bit version counterparts. To illustrate what this means, 64-bit Operating Systems can use over 4 GB of memory whereas 32-bit Operating Systems are only able to utilise up to 3.5 GB.

This allows the computer to access more physical memory and lets Windows minimise the time that is required to swap processes in and out of physical memory. This allows Windows to manage processes more efficiently and results in quicker response times from the applications you are using.

NOTE:
  • 64-bit Operating Systems can run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications
  • 32-bit Operating Systems can only run 32-bit applications

 

Which installations are recommended at UCT?

By default, ICTS installs Windows 7 64-bit on UCT-owned computers. This is to ensure that end users are able to benefit from using the latest computing devices without having limitations placed on the amount of RAM available. This enables end users to utilise the full potential computing power of their PCs.

There are still some instances where, the 32-bit version is installed, such as the following cases:

  • If the computer doesn’t meet the hardware requirements to install Windows 7 64-bit.
  • If the computer software or hardware does not work with Windows 7 64-bit.

NOTE: Testing of software is no longer performed for 32-bit versions.

 

Is my PC running 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows?

Computers running Windows 7

  • Click the Start button, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.
    • If 64-bit Operating System is listed next to System type, you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows 7.
    • If 32-bit Operating System is listed next to System type, you’re running the 32-bit version of Windows 7

Computers running Windows 8.1

  • In Windows Explorer, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.
    • If 64-bit Operating System is listed next to System type, you’re running the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1.
    • If 32-bit Operating System is listed next to System type, you’re running the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1