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Should You Upgrade to Windows 7 64-bit (x64) or 32-bit (x86). The Pros vs Cons &


Finally, my old motherboard Asus M2N-E eventually RIP after serving me for more than 4 years. And I was getting a new one yesterday after checking on some average spec system which shouldn?t cost me a fortune. You could check out the my system spec as below:

New System Spec

    * Processor: Intel 540 3.06GHz, Socket 1156
    * Motherboard: Asus P7H55 (without the build in graphic card)
    * RAM: Adata 4GB DDR3 1333MHz
    * Graphic Card: Leadtek Winfast GT220 DDR3

I guess like the rest of you guys, I was facing with the dilemma of determining whether to continue with the current 32-bit Windows or 64-bit. As some people commented that, they are facing with some software compatibility issue after the 64-bit installation and that of course really freaked me up. But instead of listening to all the rumors, I decided to go for a ?Serious Windows 7 64-bit Truth Finding Project?. Please refer to the section below for all the information and finding that I have gathered.

The Pros and Cons of 64-bit System

  1. You can address much more than 4GB of memory, which is ideal for avid gamers, CAD, video editors and heavy multi-taskers. However for any 32 bit software you use will still be restricted to 4GB memory ? you need a 64 bit CPU, OS and applications to take full advantage of the extra RAM.
  2. 16 bit applications will no longer work. This shouldn?t be an issue except if you still using some very old software e.g. those from Windows 3.1 time then it will not work under a 64 bit OS.
  3. Existing 32 bit drivers no longer work. As per Microsoft feedback, all the 32-bit driver will not work on its 64-bit platform but you can check it at your manufacture?s site to find out whether they are supporting the 64-bit interface.
  4. Unsigned kernel-mode drivers no longer work. Same as the issue above, you will face a hard time if you have some older hardwares due to the inability of 64-bit OS to run unsigned kernel mode drivers. (There is reportedly a way to bypass this check).
  5. Slower to run 32 bit applications on a 64 bit OS. It have been reported that, running 32 bit software in 64 bit mode could cause a slight degradation in performance.

Now, you probably have some insight of the benefit and drawback of 64-bit architecture. Basically the most significant differences between that that the 32-bit vs 64-bit architecture is thememory access limit as indicated above. The maximum amount of memory a 32-bit OS can address is 4,294,967,296 bytes or 4GB (2 to the power of 32) while a 64-bit OS can address is up to 18,446,744,100 gigabytes or 16 exabytes (2 to the power of 64) of RAM. Put simply, a 64-bit PC can handle larger amounts of information than a 32-bit system. Since it can use more RAM?4 GB and up?a 64-bit computer can be more responsive when you?re running lots of programs at once.

Windows 7 64-bit Minimum System Requirements

    * Minimum 1 gigahertz (GHz) 64-bit (x64) processor
    * Minimum 2 GB RAM
    * Minimum 20 GB (64-bit)

Useful Microsoft?s FAQ on the Windows 7 32-bit vs 64-bit Link
What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows?
The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer?s processor (also called a CPU), handles information. The 64-bit version ofWindows handles large amounts of random access memory (RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit system.

How can I tell if my computer is running a 32-bit or a 64-bit version of Windows?
To see if your computer is running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows, do the following:
  1. Open System by clicking the Start
, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, and then clickingSystem.
  2. Under System, you can view the system type.

Can my computer run a 64-bit version of Windows?
To run a 64-bit version of Windows, your computer must have a 64-bit-capable processor. If you are unsure whether your processor is 64-bit-capable, do the following:

  1. Open Performance Information and Tools by clicking the Start
, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type Performance Information and Tools, and then, in the list of results, click Performance Information and Tools.
  2. Click View and print detailed performance and system information.
Can I upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows?
No. If you are currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can only perform an upgrade to another 32-bit version of Windows. Similarly, if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows, you can only perform an upgrade to another 64-bit version of Windows.

If you want to move from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows, you?ll need to back up your files and then perform a Custom installation of the 64-bit version of Windows. For more information, see Installing and reinstalling Windows.

Can I run 32-bit programs on a 64-bit computer?
Most programs designed for a computer running a 32-bit version of Windows will work on a computer running 64-bit versions of Windows. Notable exceptions are many antivirus programs, and some hardware drivers.

Drivers designed for 32-bit versions of Windows don?t work on computers running a 64-bit version of Windows. If you?re trying to install a printer or other device that only has 32-bit drivers available, it won?t work correctly on a 64-bit version ofWindows. For information about updating drivers and troubleshooting issues with device drivers for 64-bit versions of Windows, contact the manufacturer of the device or program.

Would I benefit from using a 64-bit computer?
The benefits are most apparent when you have a large amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer, typically 4 GB of RAM or more. In such cases, because a 64-bit operating system can handle large amounts ofmemory more efficiently than a 32-bit operating system can, a 64-bit system can be more responsive when running several programs at the same time and switching between them frequently.

If I?m running a 64-bit version of Windows,compa do I need 64-bit drivers for my devices?
Yes. All hardware devices need 64-bit drivers to work on a 64-bit version of Windows. Drivers designed for 32-bit versions of Windows don?t work on computers running 64-bit versions of Windows.

To learn how to check for drivers, see Update a driver for hardware that isn?t working properly or go to the device manufacturer?s website. You can also get information about drivers by going to the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor website.

More Useful Resources
If are still not sure or would like some automatic way to check whether your current system is compatible to run Windows 7 64-bit (x64) please follow the  <a href="http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=161223">Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade Advisors here.</a>

Also if you may like to check out whether your current softwares are compatible with the 64-bit OS please visit <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/Default.aspx?os=64-bit">Microsoft?s Windows 7 Compatibility Center here.</a>  to find out the detail.

Should You Switch Over from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows 7?
The short answer is ?yes, you should?. You should go with Microsoft?s latest Windows 7 64-bit unless you?re running with an antique that might face with some driver support issue or your old system couldn?t meet the minimum or optimum spec as required. Give it a try today,  href="http://24sevenpost.com/tech-gizmo/install-windows-7-64bit-32bit/">embrace the power of 64-bit world.</a>

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