Differences Between 32 Bit and 64 Bit Browsers

by Richard Pedersen for Daves Computer Tips

Differences Between 32 Bit and 64 Bit Browsers

64-bit hardware has been around for a long time now. I’ve had a 64-bit computer and Windows Operating System for several years. The problem, and disappointment, is that the 64-bit software is lagging far behind. When you stop and look around a bit (no pun intended), 32-bit software is the norm.

If you have a 64-bit-capable computer and have been looking forward to all the magic that it may provide, you have been woefully disillusioned. We high-tech, on-the-forefront people who jumped on the 64-bit bandwagon have been left in the dust. “They” just don’t make that stuff. Look at all the browsers, drivers, and plug-ins- they’re all 32-bit. What a crying shame.

I understand why though. The companies that produce this software have to be legacy-minded. I don’t blame them. They’re in business. They need to pay attention to the laggards. It’s that or die.

I guess the main difference between 32 and 64 bit software/drivers is how much memory it can access. 32-bit software can access 4 Gigabytes of RAM (Random Access Memory). 64-bit software can access 2^64 bits of RAM. That’s over 18 quintillion bits.

That’s a huge difference. So…

If you have a 32-bit computer, any amount of memory over 4GB (Gigabytes) is wasted. Your computer simply can’t “see” it.

I have 16GB RAM installed on my computer. If I was running a 32-bit system, then 12GB would be invisible to the computer.

I happen to have a 64-bit computer and a 64-bit version of the Windows Operating System. This allows me to “see” all of the 16GB of RAM that I have.

Great! How about the software…

32 Bit Software

I’m going to focus on browsers here, but the gist is applicable to other software as well.

Browsers, like all software these days, for the most part come in one flavor – 32 bit. (This is changing, though.)
That means no matter how much RAM you have installed, the software can’t take advantage of it. A 32-bit program is limited to 4GB of RAM. Period.

Generally, it’s less. More like 3.5GB. So, if you see Windows reporting that you have 3.5 GB of RAM when you know you have 4GB, don’t fret – there are technical reasons for this which go beyond the scope of this article.

You can use your favorite search engine on the internet to find out more about this subject, then, stand back! You’ll get a gazillion hits, and then some. You won’t be the first person asking about this discrepancy.

Article Continued Here.

This excerpt is shared with permission from davescomputertips.com.

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6 thoughts on “Differences Between 32 Bit and 64 Bit Browsers”

  1. Actually, if you have 4GB of RAM on a 32-bit Windows OS machine, you will probably experience a *lot* of BSODs. Windows x86 will only address 3GB in any case, so if you’ve got 4GB installed, you’re only using 3GB regardless what you paid for; but the tricky part — the one that gets you fatal errors — is that the OS will sometimes write to, say, the first half of that second 2GB stick and ‘deactivate’ the bottom half; then — on a fairly regular sort of basis — the OS will remap the ‘deactivated’ memory section to the top half of the stick and promptly ‘forget’ to transfer data to the new location and…Bingo! Memory errors (typically, an overrun) and a system hang! Everything will be back to normal on a forced shutdown and cold reboot, but it’s a real pain if you don’t save your work every minute or so…

    3GB is all that can be installed and run stably on Win x86 (’32-bit’); in fact most computer vendors won’t sell you a Win x86 computer with more than 3GB. The only limit on Win x64 (’64-bit’) is how much your motherboard will address. They’re not all the same, so always know how much your mobo will allow before buying that upgrade…

  2. I have a Windows 7, 64 bit OS. My problems is getting IE 9 to download/save things like financial statements, even if I use the 32-bit version. I often have to switch to my Google Crome browser, open my bank site, and download from there. I never had this problem with IE 8 on my old XP computer. Am I doing some thing wrong? My security settings are set on medium.

  3. I am using chrome as my browser.For weeks now i am seeing lightly font on pages and some times missing parts of letters.When i click on something I have to move my mouse down a half inch to open it.I uninstalled 4 times,still the same.Please help,thanks,Jeff

  4. It really doesn’t make much of a difference if your web browser is 32 or 64 bit. The RAM amount, yes, but if your web browser uses more than a gig of RAM you already have an issue right there. The only difference 32 vs 64 has on software is when it is RAM intensive, or needs a lot of it to work. A good example is a video or graphics processing software like Photoshop. In that case you’ll see a huge improvement by going to 64bit. For any other purposes 64 bit programs are actually a waste of space on the hard drive as their executable becomes larger.

    1. I am interested in buying a new tower which will probably come with 64 bit and Windows @Nki00: 8. Will I still be able to use my programs from my 32 bit Windows Vista computer?

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