For those of you that installed a 32-bit version of Windows, you have my condolences. Otherwise, you really made the right choice based on a number of reasons. I think it’s important in this day and age to run any operating system on the highest possible bit width offered, but there’s a few reasons particular to Windows 7 that might make its x64 version more advantageous than simply running on 32-bit x86 microprocessor architecture.
1: It Still Runs 32-Bit Applications
Not so long ago, people were making a transition from 16-bit to 32-bit. Today, there are still many people running 32-bit versions of their operating systems when 64-bit editions are available for fear that their old applications might not run on the newer version. To those who know how processor registries work, this would be like worrying whether you can put the same amount of clothes in your new washing machine with a 9 kg capacity as you did with the older one that had a 7 kg capacity. Processors work much like onions, with several layers of registers. Two 16-bit layers compose a 32-bit layer, and one 32-bit layer always sits within a 64-bit layer. That allows for total reverse compatibility. I still almost exclusively run Win32 applications, although I run a 64-bit version of Windows 7.
2: The OS Recognizes More RAM
Windows x86 users often complain that they don’t even see all 4 GB of memory when they have that much RAM installed. Guess what happens when you install 8 GB of RAM on your x86 system?
Windows x64 is able to detect as much RAM as you put into it without any hitch. There’s no magic trick you have to perform to add memory, and you don’t have to fight with the system to get it to recognize everything. In the end, you come out winning, especially if you’re a gamer. In fact, x64 supports up to 192 GB of RAM!
3: Less Driver Fuss & BSODs
I’m serious. You’ll have less problems with compatible drivers and less blue screen errors (crashes) when you use a 64-bit version, particularly because drivers on Windows x64 are digitally signed. Heck, I keep the computer on for months on end without stability issues. That’s something I cannot say about my experience with x86 versions. The only setback, though, is with older drivers that don’t run on 64-bit systems. 32-bit drivers cannot run on Win64. Make sure you think of this when making a hardware purchase.
4: Lower Response Time
Despite the fact that, at the time of this article’s publication, there are less 64-bit native applications out there, you can still enjoy the benefits of faster response time with bigger processor registers used for every single hardware signal in Windows. The operating system will handle just about any request you make at the bat of an eyelash because all your hardware will be using a bigger bit width. The Windows environment itself, to say the least, will run almost solely on the 64-bit channel and run faster.
The Other Side of The Coin
Wait a second… If you’re still using a computer with less than 4 GB of memory, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to upgrade. The addressing system on a 64-bit machine might have a lot of unnecessary zeros to work with, which ends up being a waste of time. If you still use legacy applications or old devices that didn’t express compatibility with Win7, you’re in for a headache if you try to run a 64-bit OS. There still are reasons an upgrade would be illogical, but on more modern systems, you’re good to go.