Depending on computer manufacturer or operating system, determining your Central Processing Unit (CPU) chip set may vary. Most systems today are either made by Intel or AMD. While the majority of homes, small-businesses and corporate offices still run CPUs with 32-bit processors, CPUs with 64-bit processors are making their way into these areas of use every day.
The primary difference between the two-bit types is in how much data the CPU can process and how much memory each system can address or use.
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Determining which processor you have is important when upgrading your operating system and software applications. Applications are compiled differently, and if you have a 64-bit processor running 32-bit applications, they may operate degraded, sluggish or not at all depending on the software vendor.
There are various options to determine which processor your computer system is currently running.
For Windows XP -- Method 1
Locate the Computer Properties by one of two paths. A) Right click "My Computer" and select "Properties." B) Select Start, then Run and type "Sysdm.cpl."
Select the "General" tab in the Properties box.
View the system name. If you have a 32-bit system, the name next to "System" will display: "Windows XP [License Type] Version [Year]." If you have a 64-bit system, the name next to "System" will display: "Windows XP [License type] x64 Edition Version [Year]."
For Windows XP -- Method 2
Locate the "System Information" application by one of two paths. A) Click "Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools," and then choose System Information. B) Click "Start," "Run" and type "winmsd.exe."
Select "System Summary" if necessary (it should be presented by default) under System Type.
View the value for "Processor." If it starts with "x86," then your system has a 32-bit CPU; if it starts with "x64," "IA-64" or "AMD64," then your system has a 64-bit CPU.
For Windows 7 or Vista
Locate the System Information by one of two paths. A) Open Control Panel, select "System and Security," select "System." B) Select Start, then in the "Search Programs and Files" field, type "System." Click System Information program, usually at the top.
Locate the "System Type" entry in the System Information window.
View the main operating system name System Type. If you have a 32-bit system, the display will read: "32-bit operating system"; if you have a 64-bit system, the display will read: "64-bit operating system."