which version of windows 7 to install? 32 or64

I have a HP Pavilion laptop.  The hard drive crashed so I bought a new one and installed it.  I wanted a clean install of windows 7 so I bought the disk for it.  It contained a 32 bit version and a 64 bit version.  I installed the 32 bit and it comes up okay but I need to get some drivers.  When I went to the HP site it looked like I should have installed the 64bit version.  How can I tell which is the correct version for the machine?

Question Info

Last updated March 20, 2018 Views 149 Applies to:

Check how much RAM is installed first:


Click Start, right click Computer

Click Properties

Look under 'Installed memory'


If its less than 4 GBs or 3 GBs, then Windows 7 32 bit is the appropriate version.


Although 64 bit can run on 2 GBs or more, you won't realize the benefits.


32 vs 64 bit


Is my PC running the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows?



Windows 7 64 bit comes in handy when you need to address at least 4 GBs or more of RAM. Windows 7 32 bit can utilize up to 3.2 GBs of RAM. Because the memory address space is much larger for 64 bit Windows, that means, you need twice as much memory than 32 bit Windows to accomplish some of the same task, but you are able to do so much more, you can have more applications open, do things like run an Antivirus scan in the background without it affecting your system performance. Windows 7 64 bit is more secure too, malicious code cannot easily infiltrate it, drivers are more reliable since they must be signed before they can work with 64 bit Windows 7.

As for compatibility, you will need 64 bit device drivers for any hardware devices you might have. Also, there is no 16 bit subsystem in Windows 7 64 bit, which means, your applications must be 32 bit only, not 16 bit installer or uninstallers. Also, if you decide to move to Windows 7 64 bit in the future, there is no upgrade path from 32 bit Windows, clean install only.

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