How do I know if my system is 32-bit or 64-bit?

This question pops up quite a lot in online forums nowadays. Before I could quite honestly tell somebody if you need to ask, you have 32-bit. That's not true anymore, you can buy machines with 4GB of RAM in them, and increasingly they are being loaded with 64-bit Windows Vista, so the system can make use of all the memory.

The following works for Windows Vista and Windows 7:

You can find out by going to Control Panel -> System and Maintenance (System and Security for Windows 7 users) -> System.

Alternatively you can search for System on Start Search, the search will return a few results, but one should just be the word System, with a computer icon next to it with a white tick on a blue monitor. That's the one you're after.

Clicking on that will launch the following.

How do I know if my system is 32-bit or 64-bit?

System type displays if the system is 32-bit (often referred to as x86) or 64-bit (also known as x64 or x86-64).

For Windows XP:

If you're running Home Edition, you're using 32-bit. Professional shipped as 32-bit and 64-bit, but almost nobody uses x64. To check go to Start -> Right-click on My Computer -> Select Properties from the Menu, from there the 64-bit versions will be listed as Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. Otherwise you're running 32-bit.

35 comments

Comment from: Stabbeh [Visitor]  
Stabbeh

What does this stuff mean anyways?
Like what bit operating system it is.
And whats better?

10/05/07 @ 01:36
Comment from: Betty Hannam [Visitor]
3 stars
Betty Hannam

I've been trying to find out if my computer is running off a 32 bit or 64 bit operating system so i didn't get much help.Thanks Betty

01/29/08 @ 02:46
Comment from: Blue Checks [Visitor]
5 stars
Blue Checks

Thank you! I've been looking at so many answers to this question but they all involve typing a code somewhere. I was becoming more frustrated with every page that speaks 'techie'. What I really needed was a simple, direct, comprehensive guide. Thank you for giving that to me and others.

02/09/08 @ 06:10
Comment from: Kenneth [Visitor]
4 stars
Kenneth

How do I check if I am running Xp Sp2, I am trying to find out which version of Vista to buy that will be best suited to my system?
Thanks

03/02/08 @ 14:25
Comment from: vivek [Visitor]  
4 stars
vivek

...but, in my computer, "tune up utilities" anlyzed and showed that my computer(processor-intel Q6600) is of 64bit type n i'm using 32bit OS, (so, if i upgrade to 64bit OS vsta ,it'll be of good performance,..)

03/29/08 @ 15:36
Comment from: vimal [Visitor]
1 stars
vimal

pls tell in the case of xp. u described here is vista

08/11/08 @ 17:50
Comment from: tgcleader [Visitor]
1 stars
tgcleader

this tutorial is for Vista how do we find this out for XP?

09/14/08 @ 06:42
Comment from: Ironhorse [Visitor]
Ironhorse

What if I am running XP Professional?

10/08/08 @ 03:20
Comment from: KAKHUIS [Visitor]
KAKHUIS

I found this from a form site:
Click Start, and then click Run.
Type winmsd.exe, and then click OK.
When System Summary is selected in the navigation pane,
locate Processor under Item in the details pane.
Note the value. If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with x86, the computer is running a 32-bit version of the Windows operating system.
If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with ia64 or AMD64, the computer is running a 64-bit version of the Windows operating system.

01/06/09 @ 20:09
Comment from: julius [Visitor]
3 stars
julius

thank u, KAKHUIS! that was EXACTLY what i needed! i, too, have xp & this vista info did not help me at ALL! but your comment DID! thanks again!!!!

02/13/09 @ 21:51
Comment from: Damian [Visitor]
5 stars
Damian

Just what I needed for XP, Thanks Kakhuis.

07/09/09 @ 16:48
Comment from: this_sucks [Visitor]
1 stars
this_sucks

only for vista but KAKHUIS comment helped me out.

08/12/09 @ 00:59
Comment from: Someone [Visitor]
Someone

It's for XP and Vista, open your eyes people...

08/16/09 @ 11:44
Comment from: mike w [Visitor]
5 stars
mike w

Thanks also Kakhuis - works fine
Tried MSFT info which was useless

08/24/09 @ 14:11
Comment from: Steve Shutt [Visitor]  
5 stars
Steve Shutt

KAKHUIS
Brilliant and factual!
Thank you.
Vista shows 32 or 64 in the "opening monologue". XP is a pain.
But now, you've hit it on the head/nose/testicles.

Thank you.
(repeated because it is WORTH repeating!)

Click Start, and then click Run.
Type winmsd.exe, and then click OK.
When System Summary is selected in the navigation pane,
locate Processor under Item in the details pane.
Note the value. If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with x86, the computer is running a 32-bit version of the Windows operating system.
If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with ia64 or AMD64, the computer is running a 64-bit version of the Windows operating system.

09/02/09 @ 17:26
Comment from: Benjamin [Visitor]
5 stars
Benjamin

Seems my Vista Home Premium has a different seet of nomenclatures-but I
found it under 'Systems'. Thanks

10/24/09 @ 15:41
Comment from: mackster [Visitor]
5 stars
mackster

THANK YOU KAKHUIS!
I did it and it worked great, was able to understand it, thanks to you!
Thank you.
My XP was a pain to figure out, glad i found this website.....

11/10/09 @ 04:55
Comment from: Oli Smart [Visitor]
3 stars
Oli Smart

Windows x64 is better because that means it can do
64,000,000,000 operations per second, whereas 32 bit can only do half as mcuh :D, by the way; the operations mean the binary transfered. and binary is transfered in multiples on 8 bit's

8 bits = 1 byte.

Hope this helps some of you :D

11/27/09 @ 17:12
Comment from: thanks [Visitor]
thanks

u are great man i have searched to find this for a time
thanks

12/11/09 @ 00:35
Comment from: rosh [Visitor]  
5 stars
rosh

thanks dude......i had some confusions over 32 bit and 64 bit...and u solved it in first hit..........

12/26/09 @ 10:24
Comment from: NEL [Visitor]
NEL

KAKHUIS, YOU ROCKKKKK!!!!!!

01/09/10 @ 13:23
Comment from: Kelly [Visitor]
Kelly

I have a question. I followed KAKHUIS's steps and it said x86 Family in the system pane which would mean I have a 32 bit system. But when I right click on "computer" and scroll to "properties", it says AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3500+. Wouldn't that mean I have a 64 bit system?
This is a bit confusing.

01/26/10 @ 22:30
Comment from: paul [Member]
Paul Smith

Hello Kelly, that would indicate you're using a 64-bit processor, but running a 32-bit operating system (ie Windows) on it.

01/27/10 @ 10:59
Comment from: Kelly [Visitor]
Kelly

Ok thank you, Paul. That makes perfect sense.

01/28/10 @ 00:20
Comment from: Jonny NYC [Visitor]
5 stars
Jonny NYC

this is exactly what I was looking for. Very cool. (I'm on 64 bit.)

02/08/10 @ 17:32
Comment from: wsup dude [Visitor]
5 stars
wsup dude

KAKHUIS
Brilliant and factual!
Thank you.
Vista shows 32 or 64 in the "opening monologue". XP is a pain.
But now, you've hit it on the head/nose/testicles.

Thank you.
(repeated because it is WORTH repeating!)

Click Start, and then click Run.
Type winmsd.exe, and then click OK.
When System Summary is selected in the navigation pane,
locate Processor under Item in the details pane.
Note the value. If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with x86, the computer is running a 32-bit version of the Windows operating system.
If the value that corresponds to Processor starts with ia64 or AMD64, the computer is running a 64-bit version of the Windows operating system.
2nd September 2009 @ 17:26
thnx hepppppssssssss broo or sis .lol

02/22/10 @ 07:25
Comment from: nidal [Visitor]
5 stars
nidal

thanks very much
it is done well

03/26/10 @ 09:15
Comment from: Dan K [Visitor]  
5 stars
Dan K

Clear, concise, just what I needed.
Thanks
Dan K

05/14/10 @ 20:07
Comment from: Satinder Pal Singh [Visitor]
5 stars
Satinder Pal Singh

Keep it up

06/17/10 @ 06:30
Comment from: Alexandra [Visitor]
5 stars
Alexandra

Great explanation!

07/12/10 @ 09:02
Comment from: Edsilvacunha [Visitor]  
Edsilvacunha

THANK YOU FOR THE HELP EASY TO UNDERSTAND THANKS A MILLION

09/07/10 @ 02:21
Comment from: niru [Visitor]
5 stars
niru

Simple solution and perfect.
Thanks

03/03/11 @ 23:51
Comment from: kevster [Visitor]
3 stars
kevster

What happens if you buy a brand new pc today and you request windows xp to be installed? what will the bit be? 32 or 64?

04/01/11 @ 17:51
Comment from: paul [Member]
Paul Smith

Pretty doubtful you'll have the option of Windows XP, considering nowadays it lacks a lot of device drivers required.

04/01/11 @ 21:37
Comment from: Brian [Visitor]  
5 stars
Brian

Anyone able to tell me if I can run a 64 bit OS on an AMD AthlonII x2 245 processor please

04/30/11 @ 09:07