Alan Freedman -- The Computer Language Company - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Longest-Running Tech Reference on the Planet

A CDE Definition

You'll love The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia (CDE) for Tech Term of the Day (TTOD)


32-bit Windows

The Windows operating system or Windows applications written to run in 32-bit CPUs. The term is used to contrast Windows software written for 64-bit environments. Years ago, the term was used to contrast 16-bit Windows applications. See 32-bit computing.

32-bit computing

CPUs that process 32 bits as a single unit, compared to 8, 16 or 64. Although 32-bit CPUs were used in mainframes as early as the 1960s, personal computers began to migrate from 16 to 32 bits in the 1980s. Starting with the first 32-bit 386 chips in 1985, Intel x86 CPUs were built with a 16-bit mode for compatibility with 16-bit applications (see 386).

The 32-bit mode does not result in two times as much real work getting done as in 16-bit mode, because it relates to only one aspect of internal processing. The CPU's clock speed, along with the speed, size and architecture of the disks, memory and peripheral bus all play important roles in a computer's performance (see throughput). See 64-bit computing and bit specifications.

Personal Use Only

Before/After Your Search Term
32-bit Compatibility Mode32 bits
32-bit computer32-way
32-bit computing3270
32-bit CPU3270 Data Stream
32-bit disk access3270 emulator
32-bit driver32QAM
32-bit file access32x CD-ROM
32-bit Legacy Mode33.3
32-bit processing34010
32-bit version34020

Terms By Topic
Click any of the following categories for a list of fundamental terms.
Computer Words You Gotta KnowSystem design
Job categoriesUnix/Linux
Interesting stuffPersonal computers
InternetIndustrial Automation/Process Control
Communications & networkingAssociations/Standards organizations
HistoryDesktop publishing
ProgrammingHealthcare IT
System design