Difference Between 32 Bit And 64 Bit Operating Systems

You must have heard the terms 32-bit and 64-bit operating system or software. Whenever you install games or software on your system, it asks you whether you want to install a 32-bit version or the 64-bit version. It is natural to wonder what these numerals usually mean.

These are the two different versions of OS. If you have a new computer or got one in the last decade than, you may have the 64-bit OS version. As the older computers used to have 32-bit OS but when the 64-bit OS came into existence, people start preferring them due to the several benefits offered by the 64-bit operating systems.

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You can check what OS you have installed on your system under the about sections in system settings. If you have a 32-it OS then there might be several reasons for it. Your computer may be outdated or you have not updated your software to 64-bit.

But what difference does it make, whether you get a 32-bit or 64-bit OS? Well, there is a huge difference between them. Below are some points which will help you to understand the difference between 32-bit OS and a 64-bit OS.

Key Difference Between 32 Bit And 64 Bit Operating Systems

Values Computer Can Have

The main difference between 32 Bit And 64 Bit Operating Systems is the number of values a computer can have. You need to understand this from scratch. We all know that the computer understands the binary language. So, in one bit there can either be 1 or 0. Which means 1 bit can computer 2 different values. The same way the 4 bits will have 16 different values. What we are doing here is to compute 2^4 which gives us 16. So, if calculate the value of 32-bit (2^32), we will get 4,294,967,296. That means a 32-bit computer can have 4,294,967,296 addressing values.

If we calculate the same for a 64-bit computer or operating system, we will get a number of over 18.4 quintillions. Which indicates that a 64-bit computer can have more than 18.4 quintillion values which is way more than that of a 32-bit OS. So, you see the difference is quite large, not merely a double one. So, it is clear that 64-bit OS is capable of storing and handling more values than 32-bit OS and hence, a 64-bit processor is more capable than a 32-bit processor. A 64-bit processor can have larger memory and memory addresses.

RAM Usage

Another difference between 64-bit and 32-bit OS is the capability of RAM usage. Whenever we think of buying a new computer or laptop, the first thing we want in that machine is high RAM. The computer having high RAM works smoothly even if you are dealing with multiple software. It can handle big software with ease. A high RAM can speed up your computer with ease. So, if you have a 32-bit OS then the capability of addressing would be much lower and hence your system will support a smaller RAM. The maximum RAM a 32-bit operating system can support is of up to 4GB. Even if you install a higher RAM, the OS would be able to utilize 4 GB RAM of the available one. This is a drawback of 32-bit OS that it can’t utilize more than 4 GB RAM.

On the other hand, a 64-bit OS can utilize up to 8 TB of RAM which is way higher than that of 32-bit OS. We all know that video games, engineering, software development, 3D graphics games, programs, etc demands high RAM. So, if you want to have a higher RAM in your computer for the high performance then make sure that you have installed the 64-bit OS in your system.

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Compatibility

32-bit OS is also different from 64-bit OS in the matter of compatibility. All the old programs and software run on 32-bit OS and most of them still support 32-bit OS. You can install those programs easily on your system and they will work perfectly if you have 32–bit OS. But what about the other software which only supports 64-bit OS. Well, you won’t be able to run them on a 32-bit OS as they are not compatible with it. Which means you can only run a software which is compatible only with 32-bit on your 32-bit OS and not that 64-bit compatible software.

But that is not the case with 64-bit OS. You can run any software on this OS whether it is 32-bit compatible or 64-bit compatible. Which means you can run each and every software on your system if you have a 64-bit OS system. The compatibility will not be an issue in a 64-bit OS. The 64-bit operating systems are designed with backward compatibility so that you can run even the 32-bit programs on 64-bit systems.

Efficiency

Now let’s talk about efficiency. Well, it is already clear that the 64-bit computer has more values and power of utilizing up to 8 TB of RAM would more efficient than that a system which can only utilize 4 GB RAM and can handle 4-times fewer values than the former. 64-bit OS is highly efficient. So, all the 64-bit software you install on your system would be more stable and efficient as they will get more RAM to utilize.

Security Features

One more crucial difference between 32-bit and 64-bit OS is the security features. Yes, with a 64-bit OS you get more security features. There are security features offered by a 64-bit OS including Address Space Layout Randomization to protect your system from attackers, Mandatory Driver Signing which prevents all the unsigned drivers to run on your system which is provided by malware, Kernel Patch Protection to prevent device drivers from patching the kernel, Data Execution Protection, WOW64, etc.

So, these were the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit OS. 64-bit OS offers you much more than a 32-bit OS and also is more compatible than that. So, whenever you need to buy hardware, make sure it is 64-bit so that you can install 64-bit OS and get the benefits of it. Although, these days if you buy computer chances are that it will come with a 64-bit OS or will support one such operating system.

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