Windows 7 like Windows Vista and Windows XP is available either in 64-bit or 32-bit installation discs. Several factors determine as to why you would want to have 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 to be installed on your computer.
32-bit and 64-bit simply refers to the way a processor on your computer handles information during processing. In simple words 32-bit version of Windows will have less memory space than 64-bit version; therefore it will handle lesser amount of memory space when compared to the later and takes longer to process informations. There is also a significant price difference between 32-bit and 64-bit, evidently 64-bit Windows is more expensive than 32-bit. The difference does not end with price along, 32-bit is much slower than the other and may not support the older programs or driver software’s.
What is best for me?
First find out what version of Windows your computer is running on, whether it is 32-bit or 64-bit. You can do so by right clicking on the My Computer icon and select Properties. In the System Properties window, under system it will tell you if you have a 32-bit Windows Vista or a 64-bit Windows Vista (in case of Windows XP operating system, a 32-bit windows XP will not display 32-bit and a 64-bit will have x64 Edition listed). In case the version of Windows is 32-bit, you need to check if your computer’s processor can handle 64-bit version of windows. To do this, from the Control Panel, select Performance Information and Tools (if you cant find it just use search to locate the folder), then click View and Print details. In the new window under the System section, it will tell you what operating system you are running currently and if Windows is 64-bit capable. If it is not 64-bit compatible and you want a 64-bit version of Windows 7 then you have to upgrade the computer processor by purchasing a new 64-bit processor or stick to 32-bit version of Windows 7
Upgrade or degrade from 32-bit to 64-bit
If your computer processor is 64-bit capable and you are currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can use the upgrade option while running the Windows 7 64-bit installation disc. Also ensure you backup all the files, programs and settings before you run the Windows 7 installation; also select the Custom option while running the Windows 7 DVD so you can choose appropriate settings. Similarly you can choose to go visa versa, however I would recommend that if you are used to a 64-bit Window, its speed and processing time, then 32-bit will considerably seem slower.
Things to remember is a 32-bit version of programs that is running on your current Windows will not work or run properly if you are upgrading to a 64-bit Windows 7 platform. Each program is designed to work with according to 32-bit and 64-bit. However, it shouldn’t limit you from upgrading or degrading, since it is choice you make depending on the usage, speed and purposes, which you want to process various function on your new installed Windows 7.