Join an online community with more than 350,000 members from 150,000+ organizations, where you can ask questions and get advice.
TechSoup hosts free weekly webinars on a variety of topics, from cloud computing to fundraising to social media and tech strategy.
Need help downloading or using your donations? You'll find essential resources on these topics and more in our support pages.
Close this window
So I am a dinosaur when it comes to technology. How do I tell if my computers are 32-bit or 64-bit for ordering software? Thanks. John
You can quickly tell if your processor supports 64 bit with a utility from Gibson Research -- SecurAble http://www.grc.com/securable.htm
However you also need to determine if all your software and hardware drivers are compatable with the 64 bit software. I use an old terminal emulator that is written in 16 bit and doesn't want to load in a 64 bit OS machine.
If you are looking for upgrade software and you are upgrading from a 32 bit software I would most likely stay 32 bit. If I have a specific reason for a 64 bit OS and have done my home work then I would choose 64.
If I am starting out fresh I would lean more towards 64 as long as my software and drivers were compatable.
There was a time when you could go to the command prompt and type "winver" and it would bring up a dialog box saying what version of windows you had.
If I recall correctly, 32 bit will just show "Windows", but 64 bit will actually spell out somewhere on the dialog box that it is 64 bit.
Can anyone confirm that this is still true? I am running 32 bit, so mine is not a conclusive test.
Tim ClaremontSystems AdministratorRochester, NY
In Vista you can check this by going to: Start > Control Panel > System and Maintenance > System
Under "system type" it will indicate if your computer is using a 32- or 64-bit version of the operating system.
Yann Toledano, Digital Marketing Strategist
Host, Web Building Forum, TechSoup.org
I always thought 32 bit pc's had a folder called System32, but 64 bit had System64
Good Luck !!!
Thanks for all the help. I have it figured out
Can you share what you found so the rest of us can do it?
mpeca, if you have Windows XP, you can right click on My Computer, select Properties. Look at the system on the general tab. It should say which version of Windows XP you have. Most likely Windows XP Professional. If it says x64 Edition, then it is the 64 bit. If it doesn't say that, it is the 32 bit edition. Hope this helps.
Best of luck,
Gary Network/Systems Admin Berlin, NHHost Non-profit Tech Careers, Security ForumsCo-Host Networks, Hardware, & Telecommunications Forum
TechSoup's Chris Peters has just published an article about this topic: Do I Need the 32-Bit or the 64-Bit Version?
If you have any questions, feel free to post them here.
Staff Writer, TechSoup
Thanks for the posting even i had a doubt how to wether my system i s32 bit or 64 bit.
Basically, it is a good idea to go 64-bit being more powerful, which means you can upgrade your internal components as you need to without an OS cap that comes with 32-bit. You also have to keep in mind that any software you intend on installing on the system also has to support 64-bit, now at days many developers have their software support both so whichever you have it auto-detects and installs the appropriate version. It has been so for me at least so far with my Windows 7 Pro laptop I got which is upgradable to 8GB RAM. A 32-bit OS will not go beyong 3.5GB RAM no matter how much you stick in there .
Am I safe in assuming that any document, example; Word, Excel, etc., that is created using a 64 bit system will be readable on an older 32bit system?
msblazer, typically data files or documents don't know about or care about the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit. They care more about the version of the software you are running. For example, if it were a Word Doc created in Office 2007 (64 or 32 bit operating system), but you were trying to open it on a system that had Office 2000 on it (32 or 64 bit operating system) then the file would need to be in a format that Office 2000 could read.
Hmm, my answer might still be ambiguous. In short, it should not matter. Just make sure you save the file in a format the older software/computer can understand. File/Save As... and choose a compatible file type. Like Word 2003.
As a side note on the Word/Excel question - unless you need the extra data storage provided by Excel (ie more rows/columns) Microsoft is suggesting you stick with 32 bit Office 2010. Which will run just fine on 64 bit software.