Is a 64-bit Windows 7 quicker than 32-bit in itself, as an OS?


Senior Member
1) Would Windows 7 64-bit work faster, slower or exactly the same compared to 32-bit version on a computer with AMD Quad-Core A6-3420 64-bit CPU and 4 GB RAM (1333 MHz DDR3). I am mostly interested in its performance as an operating system, like opening My Computer, opening folders, staring the Windows, and using just "light" software like internet browsers, audio players? I mean, not playing any games, not using any Photoshops.

I ask this because with only 4 GBs of RAM there is theoretically no need for a 64-bit OS (if not using any 64-bit software), and, in addition, a 64-bit OS uses a little more computer resourses, so less resourses left for other software -- but does that mean that those used up resource are in this case "wasted" (used only to make Windows work), or is it that the resourses 64-bit OS uses are used more efficiently, so that the OS functions more quickly?

In other words, I'll use this analogy: 64-bit Windows 7 is a more powerful engine, which uses up more fuel than 32-bit - but do I get any benefit of that when not having more than 4 GB RAM and not using any specific "heavy" 64-bit software --- like does it load an internet browser faster, does it open My Computer faster?
Why I ask this is because I noticed that as good as WinXP might be, it just never was as quick as Win98 in just using the computer back in the days. I have always been disappointed by WinXP not holding up to my expectations in performance - but that's understandable, because WinXP is much more complicated OS than Win98. And I noticed WinXP is quicker before you install all the drivers. So regarding Windows 7, I wish to know which version with given hardware limitations would be quicker.

2) Also, a little "off-topic" question: is there a difference in efficiency between Win7 Home Premium and Ultimate? I mean, which one would be quicker? In regards to Windows XP, I noticed XP Professional was faster than Home, but of course that could have just been my wrong impression or I could have missed some important factors (like software installed).


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

If you had 8 or more Gigs of ram, then you wouldn't have an option as to which one to run.

But in your case you may not see much difference.

If you are running Windows XP, I wouldn't bother the upgrade to either.
Just wait until you get a new computer and go with Windows 8 64 bit.



Extraordinary Member
Premium Supporter
When I pondered about 32-bits vs. 64-bits, mainly because I was worried about how my older 32-bit programs would work, my good friend in Britain told me that they were comparable with a 32-lane and 64-lane highway; you can get double traffic on a 64-lane, compared with a 32-lane. But it doesn't really help you, unless yo have the 64-lane car, and the engine to power it.

I've noticed no problems whatsoever, having gone to 64-bits. Everything older works just fine, even some ancient DOS programs. I have noticed a significant increase in speed and, mainly, in both visual and audio quality in games, but that's due to my improved CPU and GPU.

About the speed issue, I'd go with Mike. If you upgrade, do it properly. No idea to raise 10%. I wouldn't really agree about waiting 'til you get to Windows 8, I intend to stay with Windows 7 Professional until end of support, January 2020 - unless I change my mind.

But XP is obsolete, its support will end in April 2014. There's really no idea in investing in it, is there? Be it 32 or 64-bit. In five years, XP will be like Win98 is today - not really usable. Like, you can't enter the Internet with Win98 today, it'll be max 15 minutes and you're dead. Enemy bullets have developed, while defense has been neglected. Like driving a T-Ford on a German Autobahn? Go figure your odds...?


New Member
This may help in understanding why 32-bit applications work in 64-bit operating systems.

Windows on Windows
In computing, Windows on Windows - commonly referred to by its acronym WOW or WoW - is a software component of 32-bit versions of the Microsoft Windows NT family of operating systems that provides limited support for running legacy Win16 applications - applications written for Windows 3.x.

Many Win16 applications can run without changes on 32-bit editions of Windows, complete with the limitations of such applications compared with applications written for Win32. The operating system thunks 16-bit APIs to their underlying 32-bit equivalents in order to provide support for 16-bit pointers, memory models and address space. 32-bit Windows shortens long filenames into 8.3 filenames to allow their use by legacy applications.
Please note:
64-bit versions of Windows do not include the WoW Win16-support subsystem and therefore cannot run Win16 applications, nor do they provide the NTVDM DOS PC emulator. DOS applications therefore cannot run on a 64-bit edition of Windows unless a system administrator has installed third-party emulator-software (e.g. DOSBox) or set up virtual machine with either 32-bit version of Windows, Windows XP Mode, or DOS itself.
WoW64 (Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit) is a subsystem of the Windows operating system that is capable of running 32-bit applications and is included on all 64-bit versions of Windows—including Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, IA-64 and x64 versions of Windows Server 2003, as well as 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7. In Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core, it is an optional component. WoW64 is designed to take care of many of the differences between 32-bit Windows and 64-bit Windows, particularly involving structural changes to Windows itself.
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In other words there are no compatibility issues between 32-bit applications and 64-bit operating systems, other than maybe software tweaks. Whether or not the software author will make these tweaks is another story completely.



My laptop came with that same cpu and memory. I added 4 more GB of memory. The OS in it was a 64bit OS. I had read that 32bit programs could actually run slower on a 64bit system. Despite what others will say, I can tell you for sure... for my computer anyway, it is noticeably faster as a 32bit system. It isn't just my imagination either, in my Windows score all of the numbers are up. Some by 0.5 points and my cpu went up 1.0 points. It could be argued that my install of Win 7 was corrupt, but I reformatted 3x before I went to 32bit. I still have 8GB of memory installed, and it even recognizes it... however only 3.49GB is usable. I can tell you this also, this computer was much faster when I tried XP, but I had to go back to 7 because HP doesn't offer XP drivers and things like my speakers and bluetooth didn't work. If I could though, I'd go back to XP in a heartbeat.


Is the "Max Memory" box in "msconfig" unchecked? (msconfig/boot/advanced options)

I think I wasn't very clear in what I was trying to say. I have stayed with 32bit Win 7 and I never removed the second memory stick. So now, even though Win 7 recognizes that there is 8GB of memory installed, it will only use 3.49GB of it. (I just checked on my Win 7 computer and the box is unchecked)