How to Choose Between Bit and Bit Versions of Windows 7
- Operating Systems
- Windows 7
- How to Choose Between Bit and Bit Versions of Windows 7
By Woody Leonhard
Windows 7 Home Premium is available in both a bit model and a bit model. Although both types of Windows 7 look and act the same on the surface, the way they work is quite different. How do you choose between the bit and bit versions? It really boils down to your needs and capabilities.
The bit flavor of Windows has a limit on the amount of memory that Windows can use. It really can only see or gigabytes (GB) of memory. Even if you put 8GB of memory into your computer, the bit version of Windows can only use about GB. The rest just sits there, wasted.
On the other hand, the bit flavor of Windows 7 can use much more than 8GB of RAM. Whether you need that much additional memory is debatable, but some power users will definitely want the extra memory.
Theres one more good reason for running a bit flavor of Windows 7: security. There are strict security constraints on drivers that are used to support hardware in bit machines constraints that just couldnt be enforced in the older, more lax bit environment.
And that leads to the primary problem with bit Windows: drivers. Because of the stricter requirements, many hardware manufactures dont feel like it is worth their while to create bit drivers for their older hardware. So, if you go the bit route, youll need to ensure that your devices have bit drivers available, or youll need to replace some hardware.
If youre thinking about going the bit route, you first need to find out whether your computer can even handle it. On a Vista computer, you can find that information by following these steps.
Click Start→Control Panel→System and Maintenance→Performance Information and Tools.
Under System type, see what version of Windows youre currently running.
Under bit capable, see whether you can run a bit version of Windows.
The bit capable listing wont appear if youre already running a bit version of Windows.
If youre starting out with completely new hardware and you plan to run your PC for a long, long time, bit Windows 7 makes a lot of sense. In the long run, youll be better prepared for the future.
On the other hand, if you have older hardware that you want to use with Windows 7, do yourself a favor and stick with bit Windows. Its unlikely that youll start feeling the constraints of 32 bits until your current PC is long past its prime.
About the Book AuthorWoody Leonhard describes himself as a "Windows victim." Since , he's been sharing the solutions to his own tech problems with millions of readers. In addition to writing several books in the For Dummies series, Woody is a Contributing Editor for Windows Secrets newsletter. He also runs his own blog at atlanticodeliveryservices.com
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