So installation of Windows 7 this morning was a breeze – a clean install took a little over 45 mins – not bad! But there was one minor hiccup at the start. I am presented with 2 dvds – one 32 bit version and another 64 bit version. Now dont get me wrong – it’s great to have both versions (Vista didnt provide this in the retail package even though both versions were available) but there was nothing telling me which one to use.
So how do you pick?
Well there is a not so great page on Microsoft’s website which you can read here or you can read on 😉
First off what does 32bit and 64 bit actually mean? Well it refers to the technical architecture of the computer which in non technical terms means that the overall data throughput and memory capacity of 64 bit machines is significantly increased. I can already hear you inserting that 64 bit dvd 😉 But wait..
Only specially built applications (surprisingly enough called 64-bit applications) can use the extra capabilities and uinfortunately in some cases the 32 bit applications which whilst they will mostly run fine on a 64-bit operating system will sometimes run slower.. ouch!
So how do you decide?
Well if you have 4GB of RAM or more then you can only make use of the extra memory if you use a 64 bit OS.. so thats an incentive. There are some possible incompatibilities with software and drivers though and so you should check on the relevant company’s website for any problems. If you dont have that much RAM and you aren’t a heavy user editing images; using CAD or editing videos then for now you should install the 32 bit version. That’s what I did.
In the future though; we will all be using 64 bit systems – and Microsoft just started talking about 128-bit operating systems.
By the way; if you are a European user confused as to what happened to the E version you ordered – Microsoft scrapped the E edition in July after an agreement with the European Union (It was only offered in the first place because the anti-trust investigations by the EU forced Microsoft to offer it).