Windows Vista 32-bit vs 64-bit

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What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows?
The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer's processor (also called a CPU), handles information. The 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows are designed for use in computers with 32-bit or 64-bit processors, respectively.
 
Can my computer run a 64-bit version of Windows?
To run a 64-bit version of Windows, your computer must have a 64-bit processor. To find your computer's processor speed, do the following:
  1. Open System by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking System.
  2. Under System, you can view the processor type and speed.
 
Can I upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows?
No. If you are currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can only upgrade to another 32-bit version of Windows. Similarly, if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows, you can only upgrade to another 64-bit version of Windows.
 
Can I run 32-bit programs on a 64-bit computer?
Many programs designed for a computer running a 32-bit version of Windows will work on a computer running 64-bit versions of Windows without any changes. However, in some cases there might be differences in performance. If you have a 64-bit computer, it's best to run programs designed to run on a 64-bit computer.
 
Would I benefit from using a 64-bit computer?
A 64-bit computer can process twice as much information as a 32-bit computer, and can have significantly more random access memory (RAM). This makes a 64-bit computer a good choice if you're working with video, large database searches, or games and other programs that require complex calculations and a lot of memory. A 32-bit computer works very well for most programs, however. For example, spreadsheet programs, web browsers, and word processing programs will run at about the same speed on either a 32-bit or a 64-bit computer.
 
If I'm running a 64-bit version of Windows, do I need 64-bit drivers for my devices?
Yes, all hardware devices need 64-bit drivers to work on a 64-bit version of Windows. To learn how to check for drivers, see Repair or update a driver or go to the device manufacturer's website. You can also get information about drivers by going to the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor website.