You should know if you're running the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows XP for many reasons, but most importantly so you're sure to install the type of software and drivers created to work with your operating system.
For example, if you're running Windows XP 32-bit and you want to update the drivers for a device, you'll need to install the 32-bit drivers designed for the hardware. 64-bit drivers won't work in the 32-bit version of Windows XP and vise versa.
Luckily it's really easy to figure out if your copy of Windows XP is the 32-bit or 64-bit version.
Click on Start and then Control Panel.
Click on the Performance and Maintenance link.
Note: If you're viewing the Classic View of Control Panel, you won't see this link. Just double-click on the System icon and proceed to Step 4.
In the Performance and Maintenance window, click on the System link.
When the System Properties window opens, locate the System area to the right of the Windows logo.
Note: You should be on the General tab in System Properties.
Under System: you'll see basic information about the version of Windows XP installed on your computer:
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional Version [year] means you're running Windows XP 32-bit.
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Version [year] means you're running Windows XP 64-bit.
Important: There are no 64-bit versions of Windows XP Home or Windows XP Media Center Edition. If you have either of these editions of Windows XP then you're running a 32-bit operating system.
Now that you know if you're running Windows XP 32-bit or Windows XP 64-bit, you can be comfortable choosing the correct drivers and software for your computer.
Not a Windows XP user? See Am I Running a 32-bit or 64-bit Version of Windows? for specific instructions for your version of Windows.