How to Tell if You Have Windows 64-Bit or 32-Bit

See if your Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, or XP install is 32-bit or 64-bit

What to Know

  • All Windows 11 installations are 64-bit, and Windows XP is most likely 32-bit.
  • For Windows 10, 8 & 7, go to Control Panel > System and Security > System. Check System type.
  • Windows Vista is similar, but go to Control Panel > System and Maintenance > System.

Not sure if your installed version of Windows is 32-bit or 64-bit? One quick way to tell is by looking at information about your operating system installation in Control Panel. However, the specific steps involved depend a lot on which operating system you're using.

Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 & Vista: 64-Bit or 32-Bit?

Windows 11 only comes in 64-bit, and Windows 7 Starter Edition and Windows Vista Starter Edition are available only in 32-bit.

Here's how to tell if you have a 64-bit or 32-bit version of Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

    You can check your Windows system type much faster from the Power User Menu (WIN + X). With that menu open, select System and then skip to Step 4.

  2. Choose System and Security within Control Panel, or System and Maintenance if you're on Windows Vista.

    System and Security link in Control Panel window for Windows 10

    You won't see a System and Security link in Control Panel if your view is set to either Large icons or Small icons. If so, select System and then skip to Step 4.

  3. Choose System.

    System link in System and Security window of Windows 10 Control Panel

    This screen can also be opened by executing the control /name Microsoft.System command from Run or Command Prompt.

  4. Find the System area, located under the large Windows logo. Within there, next to System type, it will say either 64-bit Operating System or 32-bit Operating System.

    64-bit Operating System note in System pande of System and Security panel in Windows 10 Control Panel

    The second bit of information, either x64-based processor or x86-based processor, indicates the hardware architecture. It's possible to install a 32-bit edition of Windows on either an x86 or x64 based system, but a 64-bit edition can only be installed on x64 hardware.

Windows XP: 64-Bit or 32-Bit?

The General tab in System Properties provides all the details.

  1. Select Start and then choose Control Panel.

  2. Select Performance and Maintenance.

    If you don't see this link, open System and then go down to Step 4.

  3. Choose System.

  4. Locate the System area to the right of the Windows logo.

    You should be on the General tab in System Properties.

  5. Under System is basic information about the version of Windows XP installed on your computer:

    • Microsoft Windows XP Professional Version [year] means you're running Windows XP 32-bit.
    • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Version [year] means you're running Windows XP 64-bit.
    Windows XP system information

    There are no 64-bit versions of Windows XP Home or Windows XP Media Center Edition. If you have either of these editions of Windows XP, you're running a 32-bit operating system.

  6. Now you know if you're running Windows XP 64-bit or 32-bit.

Check the 'Program Files' Folder Name

This method isn't as easy to understand as using Control Panel, but it does provide a quick way of checking on whether you're running a 64-bit or 32-bit version of Windows, and is especially helpful if you're looking for this information from a command line tool.

If your version of Windows is 64-bit, you're able to install both 32-bit and 64-bit software programs, so there are two different "Program Files" folders on your computer. However, 32-bit versions of Windows have just one folder, since they can only install 32-bit programs.

Here's an easy way to comprehend this...

Two program folders exist on a 64-bit version of Windows:

  • 32-bit location: C:\Program Files (x86)\
  • 64-bit location: C:\Program Files\
Program Files folders in Windows 10 64-bit
'Program Files' Folders in Windows 10 64-bit.

32-bit versions of Windows have just one folder:

  • 32-bit location: C:\Program Files\
Program Files folder in Windows 10 32-bit
'Program Files' Folder in Windows 10 32-bit.

Therefore, if you find only one folder when checking this location, you're using a 32-bit version of Windows. If there are two "Program Files" folder, you're for sure using a 64-bit version.

You can also use the dir command in Command Prompt to view these folders. Just make sure to execute the command from the root of the C drive.

dir command results in windows 11 terminal

Is Windows 64-bit or 32-bit?

If you're running Windows XP, chances are it's 32-bit. However, if you're on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista, the chance that you're running a 64-bit version goes up considerably. All Windows 11 installations are 64-bit.

Of course, this isn't something you want to take a guess at. Knowing if your copy of Windows is 32-bit or 64-bit becomes very important when installing device drivers for your hardware and choosing between certain kinds of software.

  • What's the difference between Windows 32-bit and 64-bit?

    The difference between Windows 32-bit and 64-bit is processing power. A 64-bit processor can handle more data simultaneously, so it's more capable overall. Most new processors are based on the 64-bit architecture and are fully compatible with 32-bit operating systems.

  • How do I run 32-bit programs on 64-bit Windows?

    To run 32-bit applications on 64-bit Windows, right-click the application and go to Properties > Compatibility. Select Run this program in compatibility mode for and choose the version in which you want to run the program.

  • How do I upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows 10?

    To upgrade Windows 10 to 64-bit, you'll have to perform a clean install, so back up all your data; ensure you have a 64-bit CPU. Download the Windows Media Creation Tool to create a 64-bit Win 10 installation flash drive. Shut down your computer, plug in the flash drive, and follow the Windows setup prompts.

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