Put simply, a 64-bit PC can handle larger amounts of information than a 32-bit system. Since it can use more RAM—4 GB and up—a 64-bit computer can be more responsive when you're running lots of programs at once.
Both 32-bit and 64-bit installation discs are included in the Windows 7 retail box.
Most 64-bit operating systems can handle large amounts of memory—typically 4 gigabytes (GB) of random access memory (RAM) or more—more efficiently than 32-bit operating systems. However, not all computers are 64-bit capable.
All packaged retail editions of Windows 7 (except for Home Basic) include both 32- and 64-bit software.
Windows 7 Compatibility Center
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Windows 7 Help & How-to
Windows 7 system requirements
1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
- Windows XP Mode requires an additional 1 GB of RAM, an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space, and a processor capable of hardware virtualization with Intel VT or AMD-V turned on
To download Windows XP Mode or learn about its system requirements, visit the Windows Virtual PC website. Works only with Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate.
The following topics contain information about upgrading and installing Windows 7—including procedures, best practices, and the difference between performing an upgrade and doing a custom (or clean) installation of Windows.
Download the Windows 7 Release Candidate