Find out if a Windows program is 32-bit or 64-bit

If you have bought a computer in recent years, chance is you run a 64-bit version of Windows on it. While Microsoft is still producing 32-bit copies of Windows 10, those are sold and deployed considerably less than 64-bit copies.

Microsoft itself has not released statistics about the distribution of 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems. If you look at Steam's Hardware Survey, as flawed as it is, you will notice that 64-bit dominates the chart.

That is somewhat to be expected considering that games benefit from a lot of memory. Still, Windows 10 64-bit dominates Steam with 48.37% currently opposed to 32-bit Windows 10 with only 1.23%. The differences are less drastically for Windows 7 (28.82% to 5.40%) and Windows 8.1 (8.59% to 1.19%).

Things are different on the software side. Plenty of high profile applications are either only available as 32-bit versions, or prioritize the 32-bit version over the 64-bit version. This has been the case for the Firefox web browser for instance. Mozilla pushed the 32-bit version of Firefox on Windows, and is just starting to change that.

Differences between 64-bit and 32-bit programs

We talked about the differences of 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows back when Windows 7 was released. These are still true. While there are plenty of differences, the most important ones are that 64-bit Windows and programs may use more RAM, that 64-bit Windows offers additional security benefits, and that 64-bit Windows and programs are usually larger.

Find out if a Windows program is 32-bit or 64-bit

There are several ways to determine whether a Windows process is 32-bit or 64-bit. One of the best ways is to make use of the Windows Task Manager for that.

  • Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the Task Manager.

All versions of Windows highlight 32-bit processes right away in the Task Manager. Any 32-bit program has a *32 listed after its image name so that you knew directly that it was a 32-bit process.

You can improve that by adding a dedicated platform column to the task manager that reveals right away if a process is 32-bit or 64-bit.



Step 1: First thing you may need to do is click on "more details", as the Task Manager that Windows 10 opens is not usable at all.

Read also:  How to remove extra iTunes components on Windows

task manager details

Step 2: The processes tab is of no use as well when it comes to determine whether a process is 32-bit or 64-bit. The important *32 addition is missing on that page.

Step 3: Switch to the Details tab. While that offers better information, it still lacks the vital information.

task manager details tab

Step 4: Right-click on the title row of the tab and select "select columns".

task manager display information

Step 5: Locate and check "platform" when the new selection window opens.

platform

Platform indicates directly whether a process is 64-bit or 32-bit.

windows 32-bit 64-bit

Other means

Other means of determining whether a program is 32-bit or 64-bit are not as reliable. While you could look at the installation directory, Program Files (x86) or Program Files, it is not a 100% indicator as programs are not required to install in the right directory.

Also, this does not include any portable program you may be running, or programs that install in other directories by default.

Another indicator that seems to be reliable is to look at a processes compatibility information. Right-click on an executable file on the system or a process in the Task Manager, and select Properties from the context menu.

windows properties 32-bit 64-bit

Third-party programs like Process Explorer may also be used to reveal whether a process is 32-bit or 64-bit.

This works similarly to how it is done in the Task Manager. Right-click on the title row in Process Explorer, select "select columns", and then select "Image Type(64 vs 32-bit) under "Process Image".

process explorer

Now You: do you care if a program is 64-bit or 32-bit on your system?

Summary
Article Name
Find out if a Windows program is 32-bit or 64-bit
Description
The guide walks you through the steps of determining whether a process or program on a Windows PC is a 32-bit or 64-bit one.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to Find out if a Windows program is 32-bit or 64-bit

  1. Psy December 9, 2016 at 8:50 am #

    Adding the "Platform" column will just let you sort by this.
    You already have the information in "Processes" tab, see your Dropbox on your screenshot, it indicates " (32 bit)" in Name column.

  2. Marcel P. December 9, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    Here's a printscreen with System Explorer 7.0.0.5356, my OS is Win10 Pro 64-bit:

    http://www.bild.me/bild.php?file=245004632-bit-64-bit.jpg

    Most of the programs runs in 32-bit, excepted Networx and Quick Access Popup.

  3. Rotten Scoundrel December 9, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

    Am I missing something?
    System Properties will tell you the Operating system and Bits.

    Hold WIN key hit Pause/Break key
    -OR-
    A long click on the Orb, click "Control Panel" click "System"

    • Martin Brinkmann December 9, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

      It won't tell you if a program is 32-bit or 64-bit though, only that the operating system is. Of course, if you run a 32-bit OS then all programs are 32-bit.

  4. justakwi December 9, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

    I'm to lazy to do all that. i just open my ccleaner as at the top of it, it shows what my comp is

    • G D December 9, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

      @ justakwi

      Are you related to justakiwi ? cousin ? :)

  5. Ross Presser December 9, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    I used to have a need to tell whether certain DLL files were x86 or x64 (without executing them). The program dumpbin.exe, distributed with MS Visual Studio, will do that:

    C:> type \util\bitness.cmd
    @"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\bin\amd64\dumpbin.exe" /headers %1 |findstr "x86 x64"

    C:> bitness [some exe file]
    14C machine (x86)

    Dumpbin described here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/c1h23y6c.aspx

    If you don't have Visual Studio, dumpbin can be downloaded here: http://originaldll.com/file/dumpbin.exe/39045.html

  6. chesscanoe December 10, 2016 at 5:25 am #

    I care if a program is 64 or 32 bit. I prefer running a 64 bit version of a program if available, except for programs available in 64 or 32 bit that have plugins only written for 32 bit that I wish to use. (Windows 10 x64 Home)

  7. brightspark December 11, 2016 at 12:47 am #

    Geek Uninstaller (free) automatically differentiates between 32-bit and 64-bit applications and the list includes all installed programs, not just those which are running at the time.

    • chesscanoe December 11, 2016 at 1:50 am #

      Revo Uninstaller Pro 3.1.7 (not free) also shows a column for 32 or 64 bit for all installed programs.

  8. rodsmine December 11, 2016 at 12:54 am #

    And then there is the problem of what to do if the software that you use and like supports right-click context menu entries for 32-bit only, and displays nothing in the 64-bit context menu? What you need, in this case, is WOW64 Menu, a simple 64-bit right-click command that displays the 32-bit context menu and allows you to use it.

    I found v2.0.0.0 on Softpedia (the link in the original article did not work):

    http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Miscellaneous/WOW64Menu.shtml

    This solved my problem with dbPowerAmp's "Convert To" not showing up on the context menu.

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