Windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit ?

  Rentner2 07:56 28 Oct 13

Hi Newbie to this site and first post. I am buying a new desktop - Chillblast Fusion Opal i5 processor etc. My question is - the OS will be Win 7 Professional, but should I go for 32 bit or 64 bit ? I realise that 64 is the latest but at present I use Win XP and all my progs are 32 bit and I will need to transfer many of these to my new desktop. If I go for 64 bit will all these be compatible or will I be better going for 32 bit. Must confess my knowledge is fairly basic. Any help will be much appreciated. Thanks Ken

  Batch 08:44 28 Oct 13

I know other will not agree with me, but.....

Your are more assured of backwards compatibility (with older software) with Win7x32. Not only app software but also drivers. 32 bit drivers will not work with 64 bit OS. So if you have any peripherals that you don't want to replace (e.g. scanner, printer) that are quite old and only have 32 bit drivers you will need to use 32 bit.

The main advantage of Win7x64 is that it can support more memory (more than you will ever need). Whereas Win7x32 will only allow access to approximately 3.5GB regardless of how much you have installed. If you do not need to run memory hungry apps (such as video editing and "big" games), then 32 bit may suffice.

I have Win7x32 installed on a machine with 8GB and I get 3.488GB usable - BUT, I never get anywhere near using even that 3.488GB, so x64 would not do anything for me.

Other advantages of x32:

  • Uses less disk space (and disk transfers are faster as less to move around)
  • Windows Update and the like are half the size (to download).
  • Will support very old 16 bit software (I use an old Win3.1 app without probs). Win7x64 will not do this.

AFAIK, there is extremely little 64 bit only software, so you are unlikely to run into probs with not being able to get sofwtare that runs under x32.

  Woolwell 10:49 28 Oct 13

Difference between 64 and 32 bit.

I would go for 64 bit but then I do video editing. The only snag I had was with an old scanner but I managed to find a 64 bit Vista driver that works. I'm not sure that Windows Updates are any great difference in size and have yet to see any evidence to support that.

  Batch 13:15 28 Oct 13


I have 2 PCs running Win7. One x32 and one x64. I can assure you that the x32 Windows Updates are about half the size of the x64 ones.

Similarly the OS disk usage is dramatically less for x32.

As far as I can see, it follows that disk transfers (for a given software module) should be considerably faster for x32 as there is a lot less to transfer between disk and memory etc. Although I have to say that if the program logic is the same, one would think why would the software be any "bigger"?

  Rentner2 13:50 28 Oct 13

Thank you Batch and Woolwell for your prompt and very helpful response. Batch you have confirmed exactly what my son has told me but advised I seek help which you have done and I will now go for 32 bit as among other things I do have an old scanner and printer both of which work very well for my needs. I will not be doing video editing or any such high powered stuff so you have been extremely helpful. I am very grateful for your advice and can now order my new computer.(Chillblast Fusion Opal) This is a great site and I know I will becoming again. Many thanks Ken

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