Compare 32-bit (x86) And 64-bit (x64) Versions Of Vista

Compare 32-bit (x86) And 64-bit (x64) Versions Of Vista

Microsoft offers Windows Vista OS in both 32-bit as well as 64-bit versions, which are more often termed as x86 and x64 respectively by Microsoft. The 64-bit Windows Vista version is widely chosen by most of the users as majority of motherboards and CPU processors nowadays are x64 based and are competent in running 64-bit OS.

However, sometimes consumers have a hard time deciding whether to pick a 32-bit (x86) or a 64-bit (x64) version of Vista. To make the task simple, Microsoft presents the consumers with KB946765 which contains the details of the key differences between 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) version of Vista OS.

The differences listed are mainly in regards to memory management, enhanced security and memory accessibility features.

1) System Requirements

32-bit (x86) Version: This version requires 1 GHz (gigahertz) 32-bit or 64-bit processor and 512 Megabytes (MB) of Random-Access Memory (RAM).

64-bit (x64) Version: This version requires 1 GHz (gigahertz) 64-bit (x64) processor and 1 Gigabyte (GB) of RAM (the recommended RAM however is 4 GB)

2) Memory Access

32-bit (x86) Version: This version has a capacity of accessing up to 4 Gigabytes of RAM.

64-bit (x64) Version: This version has a capacity of accessing RAM from 1 Gigabyte to over 128 Gigabytes.

3) Memory Access per Edition

32-bit (x86) Version: All 32-bit (x86) Windows Vista versions are able to access RAM of up to 4 Gigabytes.  

64-bit (x64) Version: Incase of 64-bit Windows Vista versions,

Vista Home Basic Edition can access 8 Gigabytes of RAM.

Vista Home Premium Edition can access 16 Gigabytes of RAM.

Vista Business Edition, Vista Enterprise Edition and Vista Ultimate Edition can access more than 128 Gigabytes of RAM.

4) Data Execution Prevention (DEP)

32-bit (x86) Version: The 32-bit version uses software-based version of Data Execution Prevention.

64-bit (x64) Version: The 64-bit version supports hardware-backed Data Execution Prevention.

5) Kernel Patch Protection (KPP) or PatchGuard

32-bit (x86) Version: The KPP feature is unavailable in 32-bit (x86) Version of Vista.

64-bit (x64) Version: This feature exists in 64-bit (x64) Version of Vista. KPP prevents any malicious program/ software from updating (patching) the Vista Kernel. It basically prevents kernel-mode driver from replacing or extending other kernel services. KPP also prevents third-party applications from updating any part of Vista Kernel.

6) Driver Signing

32-bit (x86) Version: 32-bit (x86) Windows Vista Version may use unsigned drivers.  

64-bit (x64) Version: 64-bit (x64) Version does not entertain any unsigned drivers and requires digitally signed drivers for all devices. The developer needs to sign these drivers digitally.

7) 32-bit Driver Support

32-bit (x86) Version: All 32-bit drivers designed for use with Windows Vista are supported by the 32-bit (x86) version.

64-bit (x64) Version: This version does not support any 32-bit drivers.

8) 16-bit Program Support

32-bit (x86) Version: 32-bit (x86) version partly supports 16-bit programs.

64-bit (x64) Version: 64-bit (x64) version does not support any 16-bit programs.

By looking at the advantages and benefits, if you feel that 64-bit Windows Vista version is good enough for a switch over, you might like to consider the below mentioned points before you come to the final decision of installing x64 Windows Vista.

  1. You might not find 64-bit device drivers for some devices in the PC.
  2. All device drivers need to be digitally signed.
  3. 16-bit programs might not be completely compatible with x64 version
  4. 64-bit (x64) version does not support any 32-bit device drivers.
  5. You might have difficulties finding the programs that are specifically intended for 64-bit OS.
  6. Some hardware devices might not be compatible with x64 version of Vista.

Can I Check Whether Your Windows Vista/XP/2003 System Runs On 32-bit Or 64-bit Version

Check Whether Your Windows Vista/XP/2003 System Runs On 32-bit Or 64-bit Version

Some of you might not know whether your PC is set up with a 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) version of operating system (OS), which requires exclusively built software application. This may either happen because the computer might be gifted to you or you might have set up your PC long time back and forgotten about its version details.

However, you may check whether your PC is running on 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) version of MS Windows operating system. You just need to use the following procedures to determine the actual version that your PC utilizes:

1> How Can I Check If My Windows XP Professional Runs On 32-bit or 64-bit Version

2> How Can I Check If My Windows Vista Runs On 32-bit or 64-bit Version

3> How Can I Check If My Windows Server 2003 Runs On 32-bit or 64-bit Version.

How Can I Check If My Windows Server 2003 Runs On 32-bit or 64-bit Version

There are 2 ways to find which OS your Windows Server 2003 running on, whether it is 32-bit or 64-bit version:

Process 1

1. From the Start Menu, select “run” and type in “sysdm.cpl”. Click “OK”
2. Now click on the tab “General” and note down the OS details.

“Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition” is displayed under “System” incase of a 32-bit version

“Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition” is displayed under “System” incase of a 64-bit version

Process 2

1. Click on “run” after clicking the “Start” button. Type in “winmsd.exe” and click “OK”
2. Check the value corresponding to the item “Processor” within the details pane and make a note of it.

If the value is x86 in the start, the PC is running on 32-bit version of OS

If the value is ia64 or EM64T in the start, the PC is running on 64-bit version of OS

Process 1

  1. From the Start Menu, select “run” and type in “sysdm.cpl”. Click “OK”
  2. Now click on the tab “General” and note down the OS details.
    “Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition” is displayed under “System” incase of a 32-bit version
    “Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition” is displayed under “System” incase of a 64-bit version

Process 2

  1. Click on “run” after clicking the “Start” button. Type in “winmsd.exe” and click “OK”
  2. Check the value corresponding to the item “Processor” within the details pane and make a note of it.
    If the value is x86 in the start, the PC is running on 32-bit version of OS
    If the value is ia64 or EM64T in the start, the PC is running on 64-bit version of OS

How Can I Check If My Windows Vista Runs On 32-bit or 64-bit Version

There are 3 ways in which you can find if your Windows Vista is Running on 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows:

Process 1

1. Select “Start Search” or “Run” option in the Start Menu
2. Type in “msinfo32.exe” in the box that appears and press the “Enter” key
3. A window will appear with title “System Information”. Check the value of “System Type” item.

Incase of 32-bit Windows editions, “System Type” item will show the value as “x86-based PC”

Incase of 64-bit Windows editions, “System Type” item will show the value as “x64-based PC”

Process 2

1. Go to the Start Menu and select “Start Search”. Type in “system” in the search box that appears. Within the “programs” list displayed, click on “System”
2. The details appear as follows:

For 32-bit version of OS, “System type” under the option “System” appears as “32-bit Operating System”.

For 64-bit version of OS, “System type” under the option “System” appears as “64-bit Operating System”.

Process 3

1. Type in “system” into “Start Search” option present in the Start Menu. Select “System Information” from the “Programs” list.
2. The OS information appears as follows:

Incase of 32-bit version of OS, “x86-based PC” is displayed in the “System type” within “Item”

Incase of 64-bit version of OS, “x64-based PC” is displayed in the “System type” within “Item”

How Can I Easily Partition Hard Drive In 64 Bit Windows Vista

In Vista 64 bit, a hard drive can be divided in two ways. One, it can make use of the Microsoft tools only. It would be wise if you can have alternative support for all your hard drives, much earlier to starting this new research. To start with, click on the Vista Start button; right click on the ‘Computer –Button – Select- Manage’ from the menu which is displayed. The ‘Computer Management’ window will be seen.

Now click ‘Storage’ on the left and finally click ‘Disk Management’. The screen will display all the divisions that are on your computer. To provide for fresh partitions you have to ‘Shrink’ the present ones. And that can be done by right clicking on any of the divisions [avoid a system partition, if possible] and click on ‘Shrink Volume’. If you wish to shrink, all you need to do is type the right space you need for this volume in MB – then convert the GB’s you want into MB’s [for 1GB type 1024 etc] and then click ‘Shrink.’

Vista will now complete the division. And once it is done, right click on the volume and choose ‘New Simple Volume.’ Then you follow the same method for a new division – format, giving it a new name etc, and your work is finished! The second method is by using third party tools like EASEUS Partition Master, which has the capacity of partitioning 32 bit computers freely. But for the advanced 64 bit computers, it is a must that you purchase this great tool itself.

The Partition Master software even provides the division of 64 bit servers along with assisting you to be mobile, change in size and erase divisions with any monitored assistance, and also orders so that you are aware of what is going on around your computer. It also contains ‘undo ‘buttons in some, but not in all cases, which help you reverse one step back, when you feel that you have committed a mistake.

This tool also provides you with total back-up data whenever possible. This ensures that you can partition your drives without worrying too much about important data if any. Most of the high quality computer software developers are associated with Partition Master for their work mainly because it is a very reliable source. Now for the great news, the home edition is completely free – no strings attached, and absolutely free of spyware!