32 bit and 64 bit Explained

Very often we find ourselves thinking:

Will this 32 bit software run on my 64 bit operating system?   


Will this 64 bit software run on my computer?

Here's a short tutorial which attempts to answer these questions and helps us understand the concepts of 64 bit and 32 bit hardware, operating system and applications.

32 bit systems have been part of the mainstream computing for more than a decade since the time of the 80386. Therefore, most of the software and operating system code written during this time has been 32 bit compatible.

32 bit systems can address up to 4 GB memory in one go. Some modern applications require more memory than this to complete their tasks.

This and progress in chip fabrication technology led to the development of 64 bit processors for mainstream computing.

So here comes the problem, much of the software available today is still 32 bit, but the processors have migrated to 64 bit. The operating systems are slowly catching up. Eventually even the applications will catch up. But for now, we have to cope with all combinations of 32 and 64 bits in hardware, operating system, and applications.

To run a 64 bit application, you need support from all lower levels

(64 bit OS and 64 bit processor)

To run a 64 bit OS, you need support from its lower level

(a 64 bit processor)

A 32 bit OS will run on a 32 or 64 bit processor without any problems.

Similarly a 32 bit application will run on any combination of OS and processor

(except a combination of 32 bit processor and 64 bit OS which is not possible).

This is usually accomplished through emulation which is an operating system feature

and a part of all major operating systems. Device drivers run in parallel to the operating system. Emulation is done at the operating system level, and is available to its higher layer: the application.

Therefore, it is not possible to install a 32 bit device driver on a 64 bit operating system.

Answers to common questions:

Will a 64 bit CPU run a standard (32-bit) program on a 64-bit version of an OS?
Yes it will. 64 bit systems are backward compatible with the 32 bit counterparts.

Will a 64-bit OS run a standard application on a 64 bit processor?
Again, it will. This is because of backward compatibility.

Can I run Win2K and WinXP on an 64 bit CPU, and use old software?
Yes, a 32 bit OS (Win2K and WinXP) will run on a 64 bit processor. Also, you should be able to run "old software" on a 64 bit OS.

However, let me also quote that many times, a 64 bit software will contain bits of 32 bit code. Similarly 32 bit software (usually very old ones) can have some code in 16 bit. Please be aware that 16 bit code will NOT run on 64 bit OS. This is one reason behind some 32 bit programs not working on 64 bit OSes.





To NTFS or not to NTFS—that is the question. But unlike the deeper questions of life, this one isn't really all that hard to answer. For most users running Windows XP, NTFS is the obvious choice. It's more powerful and offers security advantages not found in the other file systems. But let's go over the differences among the files systems so we're all clear about the choice. There are essentially three different file systems available in Windows XP: FAT16, short for File Allocation Table, FAT32, and NTFS, short for NT File System.

The FAT16 file system was introduced way back with MS–DOS in 1981, and it's showing its age. It was designed originally to handle files on a floppy drive, and has had minor modifications over the years so it can handle hard disks, and even file names longer than the original limitation of 8.3 characters, but it's still the lowest common denominator. The biggest advantage of FAT16 is that it is compatible across a wide variety of operating systems, including Windows 95/98/Me, OS/2, Linux, and some versions of UNIX. The biggest problem of FAT16 is that it has a fixed maximum number of clusters per partition, so as hard disks get bigger and bigger, the size of each cluster has to get larger. In a 2–GB partition, each cluster is 32 kilobytes, meaning that even the smallest file on the partition will take up 32 KB of space. FAT16 also doesn't support compression, encryption, or advanced security using access control lists.

The FAT32 file system, originally introduced in Windows 95 Service Pack 2, is really just an extension of the original FAT16 file system that provides for a much larger number of clusters per partition. As such, it greatly improves the overall disk utilization when compared to a FAT16 file system. However, FAT32 shares all of the other limitations of FAT16, and adds an important additional limitation—many operating systems that can recognize FAT16 will not work with FAT32—most notably Windows NT, but also Linux and UNIX as well. Now this isn't a problem if you're running FAT32 on a Windows XP computer and sharing your drive out to other computers on your network—they don't need to know (and generally don't really care) what your underlying file system is.

The Advantages of NTFS
The NTFS file system, introduced with first version of Windows NT, is a completely different file system from FAT. It provides for greatly increased security, file–by–file compression, quotas, and even encryption. It is the default file system for new installations of Windows XP, and if you're doing an upgrade from a previous version of Windows, you'll be asked if you want to convert your existing file systems to NTFS. Don't worry. If you've already upgraded to Windows XP and didn't do the conversion then, it's not a problem. You can convert FAT16 or FAT32 volumes to NTFS at any point. Just remember that you can't easily go back to FAT or FAT32 (without reformatting the drive or partition), not that I think you'll want to.

The NTFS file system is generally not compatible with other operating systems installed on the same computer, nor is it available when you've booted a computer from a floppy disk. For this reason, many system administrators, myself included, used to recommend that users format at least a small partition at the beginning of their main hard disk as FAT. This partition provided a place to store emergency recovery tools or special drivers needed for re-installation, and was a mechanism for digging yourself out of the hole you'd just dug into. But with the enhanced recovery abilities built into Windows XP, I don't think it's necessary or desirable to create that initial FAT partition.

When to Use FAT or FAT32
If you're running more than one operating system on a single computer, you will definitely need to format some of your volumes as FAT. Any programs or data that need to be accessed by more than one operating system on that computer should be stored on a FAT16 or possibly FAT32 volume. But keep in mind that you have no security for data on a FAT16 or FAT32 volume—any one with access to the computer can read, change, or even delete any file that is stored on a FAT16 or FAT32 partition. In many cases, this is even possible over a network. So do not store sensitive files on drives or partitions formatted with FAT file systems.


Memory Density & What To Look For

Many only consider SPEED when purchasing memory and often neglect an important fact that memory DENSITY is actually even more important!

So why is memory DENSITY so important? Is it related to your system when upgrading? The answer is YES!

If your system is designed for accepting DDR (Double Data Rate) memories of 184pin DIMM (usually desktops) or 200pin SODIMM (usually laptops) built, for your system to fully recognize 1GB capacity per memory slot, you need to use 'Low Density - 64Mx8 config' 1GB module. If you use 'High-Density - 128Mx4 config' 1GB module, your PC may only recognize it as HALF the size at 512MB or most of the time it will not work.
How to tell if your 1GB module is a low or high density module?

* All low density 1GB modules are made with 16 chips (8 chips on each side) using 64Mx8 device.
* All high density 1GB modules are made with 16 chips (8 chips on each side) using 128Mx4 device.

It costs memory manufacturers almost the same to produce Low Density 1GB modules which have 100% compatibility with all systems on the market, comparing to producing high density 1GB modules. So why would manufacturers be so foolish to produce high density 1GB modules which only have 10% compatibility with systems on the market? The reason is simple, because high density 1GB modules are mainly manufacturing process rejects/seconds that cannot be made as a low density modules. Also, high density 128Mx4 devices are mainly designed for used in slower server chipset/segment (Registered) which are not designed for PC chipset/segment (Unbuffered). It is very much like Intel CPU, those CPU that cannot be made as Pentium 4 CPU become a slower bus Celeron CPU instead, by a down-binning process.
High Density module is by far much slower than Low Density module at same speed rating say PC3200/DDR400. A lot of users have fallen into attractive CHEAP PRICE trap by High Density module sellers and have complained that they are either VERY SLOW and/or will not run at all and sellers won't accept return!
High density modules are FAR CHEAPER, less than half the price when compare with low density modules and hence high density modules will NOT work on 90% of today's PC chipsets that require and can only use 'Low Density - 64Mx8 config' 1GB modules.

In summary

* LOW DENSITY modules have 100% compatibility with ALL systems and ALL chipsets.
* HIGH DENSITY modules only have 10% compatibility and are VERY SLOW.

This is also why almost all Branded-Name systems such as Apple/MAC, Compaq/HP, Dell and IBM only uses LOW DENSITY modules.
However 90% of eBay are plagued with High-Density 1GB modules at very low price, and you will be wasting your precious time and money having to return those high density 1GB modules to your seller for refund. So AVOID those 'High-Density - 128Mx4 config' 1GB modules which is usually UNBRANDED and is NO NAME!  



What Is An IP Address

(Internet Protocol Address)

This number is an exclusive number all information technology devices (printers, routers, modems, et al) use which identifies and allows them the ability to communicate with each other on a computer network. There is a standard of communication which is called an Internet Protocol standard (IP). In layman's terms it is the same as your home address. In order for you to receive snail mail at home the sending party must have your correct mailing address (IP address) in your town (network) or you do not receive bills, pizza coupons or your tax refund. The same is true for all equipment on the internet. Without this specific address, information cannot be received. IP addresses may either be assigned permanently for an Email server/Business server or a permanent home resident or temporarily, from a pool of available addresses (first come first serve) from your Internet Service Provider. A permanent number may not be available in all areas and may cost extra so be sure to ask your ISP.
Domain Name System (DNS): This allows the IP address to be translated to words. It is much easier for us to remember a word than a series of numbers. The same is true for email addresses.
For example, it is much easier for you to remember a web address name such as than it is to remember or in the case of email it is much easier to remember than email@
Dynamic IP Address: An IP address that is not static and could change at any time. This IP address is issued to you from a pool of IP addresses allocated by your ISP or DHCP Server. This is for a large number of customers that do not require the same IP Address all the time for a variety of reasons. Your computer will automatically get this number as it logs on to the network and saves you the trouble of having to know details regarding the specific network configurations. This number can be assigned to anyone using a dial-up connection, Wireless and High Speed Internet connections. If you need to run your own email server or web server, it would be best to have a static IP.
Static IP Address: An IP address that is fixed and never changes. This is in contrast to a dynamic IP address which may change at any time. Most ISP's a single static IP or a block of static IP's for a few extra bucks a month.
IP version 4: Currently used by most network devices. However, with more and more computers accessing the internet, IPv4 addresses are running out quickly. Just like in a city, addresses have to be created for new neighborhoods but, if your neighborhood gets too large, you will have to come up with an entire new pool of addresses. IPv4 is limited to 4,294,967,296 addresses.
IP version 5: This is an experimental protocol for UNIX based systems. In keeping with standard UNIX (a computer Operating System) release conventions, all odd-numbered versions are considered experimental. It was never intended to be used by the general public.
IP version 6: The replacement for the aging IPv4. The estimated number of unique addresses for IPv6 is 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 or 2^128.
The old and current standard of addresses was this: the new way can be written different ways but means the same and are all valid:
* 1080:0000:0000:0000:0000:0034:0000:417A
* 1080:0:0:0:0:34:0:417A
* 1080::34:0:417A



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