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What is a 32-bit application?

Posted on 2014-03-17
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Last Modified: 2014-03-20
I got this question when I was hosting my .NET web application on IIS7. I had to enable 32-bit applications to get my web application to work. So I realized it is a 32-bit application. Is it 32-bit because I compiled it on a 32-bit machine?

I have created that web application on a windows XP 32-bit using Visual Studio 2010. Can you please advise what makes an application 32-bit or 64-bit?
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Question by:Angel02
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Marco Gasi earned 300 total points
ID: 39935223
Is it 32-bit because I compiled it on a 32-bit machine?
Almsot yes. I can't go down in details of differencecs between 32 bit and 64 bit architectures because I don't know so deeply the hardware, but what makes an application a 32 or a 64 bit application is the fact to have been compiled by a 32 bit compiler or a 64 bit compiler. The foundamental fact is that ius the compiler, not the ystem, which determines the nature of an application. If you use Delphi or VB 32 bit on a 64 bit machine, you resulting applications will be 32 bit even if they have been compiled on a 64 bit system

I repeat, I can't explain the differences between 32 bit and 64 bit compilers, but maybe this simple answer can be enough for you.

Cheers
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by:Angel02
ID: 39935277
Thank you! That helps.
At this point I don't need the differences. But I would like to know how to determine the compiler version on my current machine. Can you please advise?

If I upgrade my machine to 64-bit, can I still keep my application as 32-bit?
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39935303
Marco is right about the compiler.  The basic difference between 32-bit and 64-bit is integer size and memory addressing.  The compiler has to know about it to put it in your program.
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 100 total points
ID: 39935314
If I upgrade my machine to 64-bit, can I still keep my application as 32-bit?
So far you can.  But it will have the limits of 32-bit addressing and arithmetic.  If that's all you need, no problem.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 100 total points
ID: 39935455
A 64Bit CPU running a 64bit operating system can compile and run both 32 and 64 bit applications.  A 32 bit operating system can compile both but cannot run the 64 bit program
You need first a 64 bit CPU, then the operating system and then the compiler
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