If I were to be a tech stand-up comedian, I would start my shows with this particular joke. Of course, the public needs to be just a tad technical in order to understand how hilarious this dilemma is but even if you don't get it, don't worry - we'll explain it to you. It is the same as if you have a 100 HP car and you buy another 100 HP car so that you can have a 200 HP car. Sorry, but Math and common sense do not work like that, at least not in this scenario.
Do the Math: 32-bit + 32-bit = 64-bit!
After a bit of browsing on several tech forums we found this gem:
"I have a question, I recently took delivery of my new Dell, which came with the 32bit version of Windows 7, however the PC is capable of running at 64bit. If I install Windows 7 32bit twice would that make it 64bit? Any help would be greatly appreciated."
To help you better understand how weird this question is, imagine putting together 2 Shrek characters to create Hulk. I mean, come on… Shrek is nice and cuddly and a pretty decent guy, but you can multiply him thousands of times, and you won't create Hulk. They are two different entities in two different but great movies. The same goes with 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems and computers. They both have similarities, like Shrek and Hulk are both green, but that's about it.
The terms 32-bit and 64-bit are first related to the computer's processor - the CPU. The 64-bit processor can handle a lot more RAM memory than a 32-bit processor. You can't add two 32-bit processors and be able to handle as much RAM as a 64-bit processor because we are talking about two different architectures.
But lets read some great answers that were provided to this question:
Alan Burchill, a Microsoft MVP who is active on these forums, gave the following answer:
Be aware there is no way to upgrade your OS from 32bit to 64bit... This will mean you would lose all settings and all application will need to be re-installed. That being said there if you only have 4gb ram there is not many reason why you would want to upgrade to 64bit.
While i appreciate that this may not be funny for you... the question did make me smile as it is similar to asking if painting a blue wall the same colour blue will make it look like a darker shade of blue...
Well pointed out Alan! 64-bit processors need a bit more RAM memory than 1 GB to prove their effectiveness. You will need more than 4 GB of RAM to have any hope of upgrading to a 64-bit operating system. If you put in more than 4 GB, the 32-bit operating system will pretend anything over 3.2 GB isn't there.
Yakov Fain, a well educated man perfectly understood the concept. Not!
"I made a more radical upgrade 5 years ago. I had a 32bit Windows notebook and then upgraded it to 64bit MacBook Pro, which cost me twice as much as the 32bit notebook. This made perfect sense to me - I got twice as much bits! You get what you've paid for."
My dear friend Yakov, you paid twice as much because you bought a Macbook. It had NOTHING to do with the 64-bit vs 32-bit debate. And, in my opinion, no, you do not get what you paid for, but this can be a debate for another time.
sh00tmaniak, provided the readers with an even greater secret of the multiplication of 32-bit Windows operating systems. Check this one out:
"If you install Windows 7 32bit twice you will unlock the hidden feature. Windows 14 64bit this feature will make your computer amazingly fast. So yes go have a try!!"
For those of you that have no idea what Windows 14 is… well it's something like Windows 8, multiplied by two but deducted 2 versions from it. We all know how fast Windows 8 is, especially when it comes to its startup time. Just imagine the possibilities with Windows 14. :)
Phil in england is, however, the awesomest person alive. I concluded that from his comment below:
"There is a problem with upgrading Windows 32 bit to 64 bit by installing it twice. If you are using it for any word processing applications including Word, Powerpoint, Access and Excel, the alphabet generator in the computer gets overloaded because two operating systems are demanding double the number of lettering to stick on to the inside of your monitor screen.
Recent tests have shown that even with moderate use, a successfully hacked 64 bit installation done by joining two 32bit installations together results in the letter "e" running out. You either have to wait about 90 seconds for more "e" letters to be manufactured by the alphabet generator or alternatively, save a whole page of "e" letters on a USB stick and copy and paste them into your document as you need them. In extreme instances, it's been reported that the letter "t" can also be depleted by using this hack. It has even been reported in some forums that the alphabet generator has overheated and has burnt out or has caused other damage to the insides of the PC. As all us PC experts know, alphabet generators are difficult to find. There is also the thorny issue of the internal monitor wipers. These are wipers that are fitted inside your monitor, that are used when you hit the backspace key to remove the letters that have been stuck on. They too can end up being overloaded if you join up two 32 bit systems and they are expensive to replace as it requires specialist heavy duty hammers to fix them with.
So, fwitt, my suggestion is to stay with 32 bit, unless you are using your PC for heavy graphics/video processing, you won't need the extra kick from 64 bit and you will be safe in the knowledge that the alphabet generator will be working reliably as well as the internal lettering wipers in your screen."
The tears in my eyes after reading his comment cannot begin to describe the fun I had. Just imagine the panic attack fewitt had after reading this comment knowing that he might never be able to spell his nickname correctly again and will be known from now on as fwi - not the same impact without the double "t". Plus that alphabet generators can only be found on the black market. Do you really want that much of a hassle?
Some Facts About 32-bit And 64-bit Architectures & Why You Should Use 64-bit PCs and Operating Systems
But let's get serious about this topic and share some real facts about 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. First of all, they are different architectures. Even though Windows 32-bit and 64-bit looks the same on both types of processors, the important differences between them are under the hood, hidden from the user's eyes.
As Microsoft states here, "to install a 64-bit version of Windows 7, you need a CPU that's capable of running a 64-bit version of Windows. The benefits of using a 64-bit operating system are most apparent when you have a large amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer, typically 4 GB of RAM or more. In such cases, because a 64-bit operating system can handle large amounts of memory more efficiently than a 32-bit operating system, a 64-bit system can be more responsive when running several programs at the same time and switching between them frequently."
If you have 4GB of RAM memory or more, a modern 64-bit processor (all the CPUs manufactured in the last few years are 64-bit) then 64-bit operating systems are the way to go. And honestly, nowadays, what can you do with a lesser computer? Play Solitaire? Yes, I guess you can do that but even my mom plays Solitaire on a very capable computer. And she also enjoys watching HD movies and soap operas. You need a modern 64-bit processor for that.
As far as downsides are concerned, I can't think of a good enough downside of the 64-bit architecture and I've already emphasized its most important quality. Oh, I just remembered one good downside: you can't get Windows XP drivers for 64-bit systems. I know, I really need to upgrade my jokes! Windows XP is dead and buried so yeah, I cannot really find a downside worth mentioning.
Can You Upgrade from a 32-bit Version of Windows to a 64-bit Version?
Let's take a look at another problem that was discussed in this thread: upgrading from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version. Unfortunately this is not possible. You can upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to another 32-bit version and from a 64-bit version to another 64-version.
Simply put, if you want to upgrade to a 64-bit version of Windows, you have to backup your data, do a custom installation, restore your files and reinstall all your programs manually. There's just no going around this. Sorry!
A conclusion? Do we have to have one? Other than the fact that 64-bit architectures are the future and 64-bit operating systems are the way to go.
32-bit architectures and operating systems were good, did their job but they have become the tools of the Stone Age era of computing.
I hope you had a good laugh reading this discussion. I know I did. :) And before you go, let us know: are you still using old PCs with 32-bit versions of Windows?