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Determining whether or not your process or operating system is 32 or 64 bit is very easy with the aid of a tiny tool, and knowing where to look.

How do you tell if an operating system is a 64-bit or 32-bit?

I'm going to expand that to include both hardware and software.

In other words, how to tell if you have a 32 bit or 64 bit capable system, and then whether or not you have a 32 bit or 64 bit operating system running.

You could, of course, download and run the Windows 7 upgrade advisor, I suppose, and it'll tell you a lot about your system, including whether or not it'll support the 64 bit version of Windows 7.

But that's overkill.

Download, instead, Securable, a tiny little utility from grc.com. Run it, and you'll get the answer about your hardware. Here's mine:

Securable results on my desktop

As you can see, my CPU can handle 64bits even though I'm currently running a 32 bit version of Windows XP.

To find out what your operating system supports, right click on My Computer, in Windows XP and click on Properties:

System Properties for my computer

If it doesn't say "64 bits", then it's 32.

In Windows 7 right click on "Computer" in your start menu, then click on Properties:

System Properties for Windows 7

The resulting screen shows exactly which version you're running.

Article C3916 - October 30, 2009 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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5 Comments
RoshanAshraf
November 3, 2009 6:08 AM

Regarding how to know whether it is 32-bit or 64 bit, you mean to say that when we right click on My Computer, in Windows XP and click on Properties and if it doesnt show the readings we can 100% confirm that it is running on 32-bit . Correct me If I'm wrong

Joe F
November 3, 2009 6:53 AM

Slight correction for opening system properties: 1... open start menu...2...Right click "my computer in the start menu! (works in XP too!)

Ken Laninga
November 3, 2009 8:23 AM

in Vista Home Premium I do this:
Start
Computer
System properties

Kitty Ashenbrenner
November 3, 2009 1:56 PM

I ran "Securable"; it did say my processor was capable of running 64 bit, but I have heard that my mother board has to be compatible with 64 bit also. How can I determine that? I currently have Vista Home Premium 32 bit and would like to switch to Windows 7 64 bit.

marioz
December 31, 2010 10:55 AM

mine, at system properties doesn't show 32bit and by running securable.exe it confirms 64 and it is as i know 64b.
but my ''hardware virtualization '' is locked off.
How to put it on !
thanks.

I don't it's something you can turn on. Your CPU either supports it or it doesn't, and it sounds like yours doesn't.
Leo
01-Jan-2011

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