Software & Apps Windows What Is Native 64-bit Software? How it Differs from Other Software Share Pin Email Print Tim Fisher Windows The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide By Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated August 03, 2019 A piece of software that is natively 64-bit, or simply 64-bit, means that it will only run if the operating system it's installed on is a 64-bit operating system. When a software developer or company calls out the fact that a particular program is natively 64-bit, it means that the program was written to take advantage of the benefits of a 64-bit operating system, like a version of Windows. How Do You Tell If a Program Is Natively 64-Bit? The native 64-bit version of a software program will sometimes be labeled as the x64 version or more rarely as the x86-64 version. If a software program doesn't mention anything about it being 64-bit, you can almost guarantee that it's a 32-bit program. Most software is 32-bit, is rarely explicitly labeled as such, and will run equally well on both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. You can use Task Manager to check which actively running programs are 64-bit. You're told next to the program name in the "Image Name" column of the "Processes" tab. Should You Choose Native 64-bit Software When Possible? Yes, you should, if of course, you're running a 64-bit operating system. Chances are, assuming the program was well designed, the 64-bit version will run faster and generally perform better than the 32-bit one. However, there aren't many reasons to completely avoid using a program just because it's only available as a 32-bit application. Updating, Uninstalling, and Reinstalling 64-Bit Software Just like with 32-bit applications, 64-bit programs can be updated manually by downloading the update from the program's official website (and maybe others). You might also be able to update or reinstall a 64-bit program with a free software updater tool. Some websites will automatically download the 64-bit version if you're running a 64-bit version of Windows. However, other websites may give you the option between the 32-bit and the 64-bit download. Even though 64-bit applications may be different from 32-bit ones, they're still uninstalled in the same way. You can remove a 64-bit program with a free uninstaller tool or from within Control Panel in Windows. More Information on 64-Bit and 32-Bit Software 32-bit versions of Windows can only reserve 2 GB of memory for a process to run. This means more memory can be used at once if you're running a 64-bit application (which can only run on a 64-bit OS, which doesn't have the 2 GB limitation). This is why they can provide more power and features than their 32-bit counterparts. Native 64-bit software isn't as common as 32-bit software because the developer has to make sure that the program code can correctly execute and run on a 64-bit operating system, which means they have to make changes to the 32-bit version. However, remember that 32-bit versions of programs can run just fine on a 64-bit operating system as you don't have to use 64-bit applications exclusively just because you're using a 64-bit operating system. Also, remember that the opposite is not true as you can not run a 64-bit piece of software on a 32-bit operating system.