32 bit or 64 bit

32 bit or 64 bit ?

I believe this is the one of the confusing facts for developers and programmers and newbies. Lot many people didn’t care it while installing some software and lead into some trouble.

What does it means ?

32-bit and 64-bit refer to the size or width of a chunk of memory. This defines how much data the processor can handle in a single operation. This is more hardware specific. 64-bit processors can handle 264 operations and 32-bit processors can 232 operations. So obviously 64-bit operating systems are faster than 32-bit operating systems.

32-bit vs 64-bit

32-bit 64-bit
Processor (CPU) 32-bit only 64-bit only
Operating System (OS) 32-bit only both
Application Program 32-bit only both

In 64-bit operation system can accept application program compatible for both 32-bit and 64 bit. But it is recommended to choose 64-bit application program for 64-bit operation systems and 32-bit application program for 32-bit operation systems if available.

How to find operation system is 32-bit or 64-bit

1. Microsoft Window 7

Start –> Control Panel  –> System and Maintenance –> System. Under System, you can see the system type.

2. Apple Mac

Open terminal and type below command

$ uname -m

If result contains “686′” it is an 32-bit operating system, if contains “x86′” it is an 64-bit operating system

3. Ubuntu

a)  Ubuntu 12.04 has a GUI

System Settings –> System –> Details –> Overview

Find Operating system Details

b) Classic way using terminal

$ uname -m

If result contains “686′” it is an 32-bit operating system, if contains “x86′” it is an 64-bit operating system

I have using 32-bit operating system see below

$ uname -a
Linux manoj 3.2.0-24-generic-pae #39-Ubuntu SMP Mon May 21 18:54:21 UTC 2012 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

Now days most of the PC selling companies provide 64-bit operating systems only and also mobile and tablets are outscoring in PC sales.

So next time when you trying to download or install hardware specific software use above methods to find which one need to choose. This will save some time and trouble for sure.

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