Viewing Microsoft Windows Information

When installing software onto your Microsoft Windows machine, it is important to be aware of the software's system requirements.  Some software products have different versions of their software specific to the version of Windows you have installed on your computer.

32-bit or 64-bit

Your computer may have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows installed. The 64-bit version of any Operating System allows larger amounts of computer memory to be used for computation. Some software comes in both a 32-bit or 64-bit version so that the 64-bit verison can take advantage of the improved performance of the 64-bit Operating System.

  • If you have a 32-bit version of Windows, you will not be able to install the 64-bit version of any software package, you shold always select the 32-bit version.
  • If you have a 64-bit version of Windows, the 32-bit version of software will work; however, the 64-bit version offers better performance.

Windows Edition

Some software will not work on some editions of Microsoft Windows. It is important to be aware of the Windows edition you have installed on yoru system when reviewing the system requirements of any piece of software.

Finding Information

To find the information mentioned above, and other helpful details about your system, you can access the Windows System Information display.  The steps requried to arrive at this screen are different depending on the version of Windows you are using:

Windows 7

On Windows 7, locate the My Computer or Computer icon. This is sometimes located on the desktop, and should always be available in the right column on the Start Menu.  Right-click the icon and select Properties.

Windows 7 Desktop Icon
Desktop Icon

Windows 7 Menu Icon
Start Menu Icon
The large System Information screen should appear.  The window contains four major sections that detail your system hardware and the Windows operating system. 

Windows 7 System Info

Within the System section, there is an entry for System type. This will tell you whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system.

Windows 7 System Type

Above this, in the Windows Edition section, you'll find the full name of the Windows version you have installed.

Windows 7 Edition
It is also good to note your processor and system memory, as this information sometimes appears in the system requirements of software. 

Windows 8 / Windows 8.1

On Windows 8 or 8.1, locate the This PC icon sometimes visible on the desktop. If not, hit the Windows Key to launch the tile menu. Start typing "This PC". The icon should appear in the search list on the right side of the screen.  Right-click the icon and select Properties.

Windows 8 desktop icon
"This PC" icon on the Desktop
Windows 8 Search
"This PC" icon in the Search Results
The system information window should appear.  With the window are four major sections that provide details on your system hardware and the Windows operating system.
Windows 8 System Info 

 In the first section, you can find the exact name of the Windows Edition you have installed on your machine.

Windows 8 Edition

Below this, in the System section, look for the System type entry. This will let you know if you have a 32-bit Operating System or a 64-bit system.

Windows 8 System Type
It is also a good idea to note your system processor and system memory, as software sometimes have hardware system requirements to properly function.