Difference between 32-bit and 64-bit programs

As the number of bits in computing increases, there are two extremely important benefits for your computer performance:

1. Data can be processed in larger chunks and accurately,
2. The system can address a larger number of locations in your RAM.

Both of these directly affect your computer performance, and these two factors are the main reasons why to use a 64-bit program instead of a 32-bit equivalent.

This, however, means that the data and addressing use more memory.

32-bit / 64-bit Compatibility

Most 32-bit applications will run without problems under the 64-bit operating system. These are the common exceptions to this rule:

  • 32-bit device drivers are not working on 64-bit operating systems;
  • Applications that requires 32-bit device drivers also do not work;
  • Software which closely works with the system filesystem (such as antivirus, anti-malware, and firewall apps).

64-bit operating systems are designed to support 32-bit applications by default. 64-bit operating systems are backward-compatible with the 32-bit software.

64-bit Windows has its own software, called WoW64 and that provides compatibility by emulating a 32-bit operating system. WoW64 (Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit) is actually a subsystem of the Windows OS which is capable of running 32-bit applications in all 64-bit versions of Windows.

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