Determining Whether Your Computer is Running a 32- or 64-bit Windows Operating System (OS)

Kevin Herrholtz -

Generally, a computer's bit count indicates how much data it can process, the speed with which it can process the data and the maximum memory capacity. In order to optimize the computer's performance, the operating system's bit count should match the bit count of the computer itself.

Win Vista, 7 and 8

Method 1: View System window in Control Panel

  1. Click Start and enter system in the search box.
  2. From the Control Panel options, click System.

    The operating system is displayed as follows:

    • For a 64-bit version operating system: 64-bit Operating System appears for the System type below System.
    • For a 32-bit version operating system: 32-bit Operating System appears for the System type below System.

Method 2: View System Information window

  1. Click Start and enter system in the search box.
  2. From the Programs options, click System Information.

    When System Summary is selected in the navigation pane, the operating system is displayed as follows:

    • For a 64-bit version operating system: X64-based PC appears for the System Type below Item.
    • For a 32-bit version operating system: X86-based PC appears for the System Type below Item.

Win XP

Method 1: View System Properties in Control Panel

  1. Click Start and select Run.
  2. Type sysdm.cpl and click OK.
  3. Click the General tab.

    The operating system is displayed as follows:

    • For a 64-bit version operating system: Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Version <Year> appears below System.
    • For a 32-bit version operating system: Windows XP Professional Version <Year> appears below System.

Method 2: View System Information window

  1. Click Start and click Run.
  2. Type winmsd.exe and click OK.
  3. When System Summary is selected in the navigation pane, locate Processor below Item in the details pane. Note the value.
    • If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with x86, the computer is running a 32-bit version of Windows.
    • If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with ia64 or AMD64, the computer is running a 64-bit version of Windows.

Reference: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/827218

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