Windows 7 – 32-bit or 64-bit?

So you’ve got your new copy of Microsoft® Windows 7 and you’re ready to install it on your computer… but you have to decide whether to use the 32-bit install DVD or the 64-bit install DVD.

There’s obviously special cases that might force you to use one version or the other, but if that’s the case you should have the question eating at you.

First thing is does you processor and motherboard support 64-bits?  If it doesn’t, then the choice is easy because you don’t have one — you’ll be using 32-bits.

Second, is your computer limited to 2GB or 4GB of memory?  If it is, then the answer is simple — you’ll want to use 32-bit.

Third, does you computer have 4GB or less or memory?  If it does, then you have to ask yourself if you’re going to upgrade your computer soon.  Take a look at memory prices, it may be more feasible to actually buy a new computer with a fast processor, better video, etc.  But that’s a decision you’ll have to make.  If you’re not likely to put more than 4GB of memory in your computer you’ll want to use 32-bit.

If your computer will have more than 4GB of memory you will likely want to use 64-bit.

These guidelines are only that, and your specific needs may have many more complex requirements — but don’t deceive yourself into thinking you need to put a 64-bit version of Windows 7 on a computer that will never be able to really take advantage of it; you will in all likelihood decrease your performance.

Originally posted 2009-10-26 01:00:59.