Wondering About A 64bit OS? What Is It?

Are you planning on buying a new PC for your home or office? If your getting one with Windows 7, are you aware that you can have either a 32bit or a 64 bit version?  Most systems that are purchased pre-installed will include the 64bit version.   

You are probably wondering what the difference is. Here are a few of them, and what to look out for

The main differences between the 32-bit versions of Windows and the 64-bit versions of Windows relate to memory accessibility, memory management, driver software, and enhanced security features.

The security features and software support that are available in the 64-bit versions of Windows include the following:

  • Kernel Patch Protection
  • Support for hardware-backed Data Execution Protection (DEP)
  • Mandatory driver signing for malware protection
  • Removal of support for 32-bit drivers
  • Removal of the 16-bit subsystem

One of the greatest advantages of using a 64-bit version of Windows is the ability to access physical memory (RAM) that is above the 4-gigabyte (GB) range. This physical memory is not addressable by 32-bit versions of Windows . This is especially critical for servers with larger user counts and larger programs such as SQL databases.

Depending on the version of Windows that is installed, a 64-bit version of Windows supports from 1 GB of RAM to more than 128 GB of RAM. The ability to address more physical memory lets Windows minimize the need to swap processes in and out of physical memory. Therefore, Windows can manage processes more efficiently. This memory management feature can dramatically improve the overall performance of Windows.

Advantages when you install a 64-bit version of Windows

  • Increased memory support beyond that of the 4-GB 32-bit addressable memory space
  • Increased program performance for programs that are written to take advantage of a 64-bit operating system
  • Enhanced security features

What to consider when you install a 64-bit version of Windows 

  • 64-bit device drivers may not be available for one or more devices in the computer.
  • Device drivers must be digitally signed.
  • 32-bit device drivers are not supported.
  • 32-bit programs may not be fully compatible with a 64-bit operating system.
  • It may be difficult to locate programs that are written specifically for a 64-bit operating system.
  • Not all hardware devices may be compatible with a 64-bit version of Windows.

I find the biggest issue with a 64bit OS is finding 64bit drivers for older hardware.  If you are running older software and hardware, a 64-bit OS may not be the best choice   You should verify with the manufacture or vendor of your software/hardware that a 64bit version of Windows will work- BEFORE – purchasing your new PC.

If you have any system concerns or questions, please call the CCS Retail Systems Support Department at 800-672-4806 or email_us

-Bryan alt

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