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Accidental Techie: Do I have a 32 or 64 bit system? How can I find out?

Operating SystemsHardwareComputers, Servers & Networks

One of the most common questions I run into is "will this program run on my system?" I thought I'd take a minute to explain how to check what kind of system you have, and explain how the 32-bit and 64-bit systems are different.

First of all, let's find out what kind of system you have!

If you right-click the “My Computer” icon on your desktop and select “Properties”, it should show you a small box with your computer’s specifications (see below). On Windows 7 or Vista machines, it will say 64 or 32-bit next to “System Type”. If it is a Windows XP machine, it’s safe to assume it’s 32-bit, but you should still do this check! There is a 64-bit version of Windows XP on the market, but any computer more than about 5 years old is generally a 32-bit.

System info screenshot "System type" is where you'll see the information - in this case, it's a 64-bit system.

What does this mean for you? Well, it makes a big difference in how well a program will perform. Some of the Adobe products we carry will run on a 32 or 64 bit system, but specify that they will run best on a 64-bit - and some won't run on a 32-bit system at all, like Adobe Premiere.

It's a good idea to know what types of systems you have running in your workplace - not just to ensure you request compatible software donations (which we like!) - but this can also give you leverage if you want some extra room in your tech budget. Upgrading from a 32-bit system isn't critical now, but it will be in the near future. Microsoft has announced they will be dropping support for Windows XP and Office 2003 on April 8th, 2014.

If you're looking for more details on this topic, see our article on Do I Need the 32-Bit or the 64-Bit Version?

 

I hope this was helpful - if you have any stories, tips, or questions about your system type or what's compatible with it, please send them to me at accidentaltechie@techsoupcanada.ca!