Difference Between 32 & 64 Bit Operating System

By Jason Chavis

Since the early 1990s, various companies have released 32-bit and 64-bit versions of operating systems, which are essential for laptops and desktops. The differences are important.


Within the central processing unit (CPU), a 32-bit and 64-bit operating system handles information at a different speed. According to companies like Microsoft, larger volumes of random access memory (RAM) are better handled by the 64-bit operating system.


The usage of binary coding means that 32-bit operating systems can process numbers representing information from zero to 4,294,967,295. Likewise, a 64-bit operating system can process information represented by number zero to 18,446,744,073,709,551,615.


Upgrading to more modern operating systems depends on the type of processor in the computer. One of the main differences between the two systems is that a 32-bit operation requires either a 32-bit or 64-bit processor, while a 64-bit version must have at least a 64-bit processor.


The operating system will register different on each computer that is running the platform. When a user clicks on the Start button, they can go to the Control Panel, followed by the System and Maintenance tab and click on System. This will show whether the computer is running a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system.


The 32-bit operating system became prominent to the average consumer with the release of Windows 3.11 in 1992. It wasn't until 2005 that a true 64-bit operating system was released with Microsoft's Windows XP Professional upgrade.