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The Difference between 32 bit and 64 bit Architecture and Application Support

Posted on 2010-11-10
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Hi,
I'm posting this question to get clear understanding of the 64 bit Architecture of the Computer.
Its because i'm so confused.

What's the difference between 32 bit and 64 bit architecture?.

I have seen some applications , those are indicated on CD that supports only 32 bit but still works on 64 bit architecture?..I don't understand how is that.

There is two system32 folder in 64 bit architecture..Why is that?..

Thanks for your answer in Advance.
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Question by:sivakugan
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leoahmad earned 500 total points
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The  term "32-bit," when referring to a processor or operating system  architecture, refers to the maximum size of an integer register a  processor can store. A 32-bit architecture can store data which is 32  bits wide, while a 64-bit architecture can store data which is 64 bits  wide. 64-bit architecture can simply store more bits than 32-bit  architecture.                                     

The  ability to store more bits means that a processor with a 64-bit  architecture can, when paired with a 64-bit operating system, address  more memory than a 32-bit architecture. A processor with a 32-bit  architecture can only address four gigabytes of memory. The same goes  for a 32-bit operating system, even if you have a 64-bit processor. The  maximum memory that can be addressed with a 64-bit architecture is 16  terabytes.

Programs  created only for a 32-bit architecture or operating system won't always  work on a 64-bit version, and vice versa. This is because the 32-bit  and 64-bit operating systems store data in different ways. Most modern  programs offer compatibility for both, but attempting to run a program  which was built for a 32-bit version of Windows XP on a modern 64-bit  version of Windows 7 may cause the program to crash. Also, device  drivers are not compatible between 32-bit and 64-bit versions.


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The 64-bit operating systems have two System32 folders. The  C:\WINDOWS\System32 directory contains the 64-bit libraries (such as  kernel32.dll). However there is a new directory called  C:\WINDOWS\SysWow64, which contains the exact same files as System32,  but their 32-bit partners. The SYSWOW64 service in Windows will  automatically map programs to the right version.
So if a 32-bit program attempts to load  "C:\WINDOWS\System32\kernel32.dll", SYSWOW64 will automatically behind  the scenes redirect you to C:\WINDOWS\SysWow64.
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