Win 7 32 bit or 64 bit?

I am planning on buying a new laptop with Win 7 Home Prem. Should I get the 64 bit OS or stay with 32 bit?

What are the advantages/disadvantages to each.



64 bits is said to be some 10% faster but requires very powerful and recent hardware and peripherics (notably more then 3 GB of RAM and fast duo or quadri processors).

The main advantage is to be able to run more then 3 GB of RAM (but i suppose that event recent laptops do not have as many extension slots as desktops).

If having a high performance screen and graphic card (again, a problem with a laptop), 64 bits is a must for extensive professionnal graphic applications.

Turnabouts are, of course, the lack of 64 bits software, altough most of 32 bits applications are compatible.

Thanks brucine

Is there a compatibility mode for 32 bit apps or are they just able to run?


Short answer yes you can run in 32 bit mode most apps.

When 64 bit was first introduced, is caused more of a problem than an improvement. Compatibility issues, etc. By now, I’m sure 64bit is a lot more common, so there shouldn’t be that much of a problem. My dad got a 64bit Vista laptop a couple years ago. I had to manually install a couple of drivers for a few of his applications, like printing support and such, due to the 64/32 bit incompatibility.

But, if 64bit is what MS is eventually going to permanently use (dropping 32bit) on their OS’s, I guess it’s better to switch now.

Thanks very much guys for your answers. I guess 64 bit will not be as frightening as I imagined.


It’s not like you have to struggle all the time to overpower an invisible 64bit enemy on your computer. :stuck_out_tongue:

It seems like the worse that can happen is your favorite program/game might not work, and a driver or two might go bonkers.

With my next PC I’ll probably go 64bit…but I’m not planning on getting a new computer for a year or two, so by then things should “settle down”. :slight_smile:

I had the same dilemma when I brought my laptop in November.
I went for 32bit though because Windows 7 is so much faster than Vista and with 3GB and a C2D its fast enough for all I do with it (Audio/Video Editing and Playing Bluray), So that’s something to take into account.

I bought my laptop in September 2008 which has Vista 32-bit.

One year later, I installed 7 64-bit… I feel comfortable using 64-bit and have not had any problems so far.

Hi John, I have just bought an x64 laptop:

Can’t tell yet the advantages with Windows 7 64 bit, as I only have Windows XP 32 bit to compare with…

Hi Guys,

Despite the x64 is basically lately pre-installed especially with the MS systems please read around & do not be caught by this ■■■■

If you want x64 - use Linux and or Mac in the 1st place if you are about the performance…

Keep in mind, that most of App in MS x64 are running much slower than their 32bit alternatives (the compilers they are using are ■■■■ and cannot optimize the code properly the way the 32 bit established compilers can) ;

In addition there are many more problems (not compatibilities only)
You still have to manage many apps. having 32bit only available Software
you have to install and maintain both 64 & 32 … ( take Java & Adobe as an example) that is silly (speaking “softly”)

x64 was a pure ■■■■ pushed by MS and it is still “not ready at all”

Take a look & read about most commonly used Applications - you do not have any advantages anyway even if those are compiled “64”


I will be watching your progress with interest. Let me know if you have any problems at all with the 64 bit. SiberLynx is starting to frighten me.


I sure will, but you can probably find out faster on other forums. Here’s a thread I looked in (after buying my PC, of course ;D):

That is a good read. It takes the fright out of what I just had from Siber.

I’m still thinking about it. I see Dell only sells 64 bit Windows.


I’ll stick with my Win 7 32bit and 4GIG RAM for now :slight_smile: (Even though 3GB is only being used… meh :))

Until more and more applications become native 64bit (Browsers, Adobe Flash Player for instance), and when I get more RAM then 4GIG, I’ll switch. Or when I buy a new computer in a few years time - Which by then Windows 8 will probably be out and it’s suppose to only sell in 64bit and 128bit versions. 32bit will be dropped.

But until then… 32bit.


There is little chance of not finding 64-bit (x64) drivers today for Win7 (all hardware).
Most x32 software will run fine under an x64 environment. Remember, it takes 2 clock cycles to run under x32 what can be done with 1 clock cycle under x64. (it is faster).
All my games run perfectly fine under x64 (and with x64 CIS).
My OS is x64, and I would not even consider using x32 now.
If your CPU supports x64 (most do today), use it.

x64 Flash is supposed to be released later this year.

Thanks John

That is encouraging to hear. I guess x32 will soon be obsolete anyway just like w98. I am leaning more towards getting x64 now than x32. Unless I get a bad fright again.


This link from Windows 7 Forums has additional information on x32/x64

To quote the above link:

32 bit vs 64 bit Comparison
There are many, many threads on this one simple question: 32 bit or 64 bit Windows?
Well, there are a few things to consider when making this choice. The most obvious difference between 32 bit and 64 bit is the amount of RAM the system can use. The limit on 32 bit is 4Gb of RAM, whereas a 64 bit operating system (OS) can use up to 8Tb (128 in 64 bit Vista, and 192Gb in Seven).

HOWEVER, this is not the only difference, nor is it the only thing that should be considered. This post will cover the basics of 32 bit computing vs. 64 bit computing in an understandable and simple summary.
If you are looking for a quick comparison, read the Basics and scroll down to the Pros and Cons and Conclusion sections

The Basics
-The big difference between 32 bit systems and 64 bit systems is the “Addressable Space”. Each device in the system is assigned an address, which takes some of this space. Because the address space is limited, the more hardware you have, the more space is required to address them. Memory (RAM) will get what is left over, and it is this is what takes usable memory in a 32 bit system from 4Gb of RAM to around 3.25Gb.
-Most software today is written and optimized for 32 bit architecture. This means that there will not be a large performance increase by switching. However, for the few pure 64 bit programs out (such as 64 bit Photoshop), there can be a substantial difference.

32 bit OS
-A 32 bit OS can only address 4Gb of memory. Some of this is then allocated to hardware devices, usually dropping the available RAM to 3.25Gb or 3.5 Gb.
-The addressable space also applies to programs, giving a 2Gb limit of RAM to any one process. This means that 32 bit Photoshop can only ever access up to 2Gbs of RAM.
-Drivers are always a concern. Drivers for hardware usually have a 32 bit version, and there is usually not a problem with 32 bit drivers (finding or using).
-A 32 bit OS has a lower memory requirement to run. For Windows 7, the minimum RAM needed is 1Gb

64 bit OS
-A 64bit OS can address up too 8Tb of RAM (128 in 64 bit Vista, and 192Gb in Seven).
-The addressable space for a 64 bit process is 8Tb. However, a 32 bit process still has the 2Gb limit. So 64 bit Photoshop can access up to 8Tb of RAM, while 32 bit Photoshop (running on a 64 bit OS) will still only be able to access up to 2Gb.
-64 bit drivers can be somewhat more difficult to find than 32 bit drivers. They can also tend to be somewhat buggier. Personally, I have NEVER had trouble with driver incompatibility due to using a 64 bit system.
-64 bit OS needs more RAM to operate (minimum of 2Gb for Windows), and programs slightly more RAM. This is countered by being able to add WAY more RAM (I have never encountered a problem with 4Gb of RAM on my 64 bit system)
-There is no longer 16 bit compatibility

-RAM limit is the only difference: This is obviously the most well-known difference, but is completely false. There are WAY more differences, some of which go way deep into computer architecture, and others that don’t make a difference in performance.
-Non-compatibility: Some people believe that certain things will not work in 64 bit OS, etc. While 32 bit programs and 64 bit programs are NOT COMPATIBLE with the other system (64 bit and 32 bit respectively), Microsoft writes their Operating Systems with a Hybrid architecture (Windows In Windows, or WoW). This means that most 32 bit programs will work on 64 bit systems.
-No performance difference: This one is a quirky question. In general, there is not a large performance increase by switching to 64 bit. This is because most programs are still written with 32 bit architecture in mind, and do not need more than 2Gb of RAM. The difference starts to shine when running things like 64 bit Photoshop or CAD programs where LOTS of RAM is used.

Pros (of switching to a 64 bit OS)
-Certain programs written for 64 bit computers can make better use of CPU and RAM, giving a LARGE performance boost (such as 64 bit Photoshop)
-More RAM is available
-64 bit is becoming more and more common. As average RAM in a system increases, there will be no choice BUT a 64 bit system.

Cons (of switching to a 64 bit OS)
-Certain programs may not be compatible with the new OS (very rare)
-Needs a minimum of 2Gb of RAM to run
-Needs a 64 bit processor to run (most made since 2003 are 64 bit)
-System uses more RAM to run the OS and programs
-Drivers may be harder to find and use

In the end, I usually recommend using a 64 bit operating system for all of its advantages. I have used a 64 bit OS for years now, and have encountered so few problems that I have no real reason to NOT recommend it.
However, if you plan on having less than 3Gb of RAM, have an older computer, or a 32 bit processor, I usually recommend a 32 bit system.

I hope this can help to settle all the threads about 32 bit vs. 64 bit operating systems.
Let me know if there is anything I can / should add.


end the quote

With that Windows 7 forum post in mind, and my own 64 bit experience*, I think it would be a very short termed decision to buy 32 bit today.

  • I just have one week of experience but I’ve noticed no problems whatsoever using all the software I previously had on Windows XP 32 bit. For six of eighteen programs I’ve switched to the 64 bit version. The other twelve are still provided only as 32 bit.