Brief: This quick tip shows you to check if Ubuntu is 32 bit or 64 bit. You can also check if your system can support 64-bit or not.
Do I have a 32-bit system or 64-bit system? How to tell if my computer is 32-bit or 64-bit? How to find out if my system is 64 bit capable or not? Am I running 32-bit Ubuntu or a 64-bit Ubuntu? Am I running 32-bit Ubuntu on a 64-bit CPU?
These are some of the common questions that a user often wonders about. Finding out if a computer is 32 bit or 64 bit is fairly simple. Before we see how to tell if Ubuntu is 32 bit or 64 bit, first let’s see the difference between the two systems.
32 bit vs 64-bit system
Processors in the early 1990’s used 32-bit architecture. This means that their data bus had the capacity to handle 32 bit at a time. As the technology grew, 64-bit processors came into the scene.
These newer processors have a data bus width of 64 bit. This means they are at least twice as fast to their 32-bit counterparts. To utilize the capabilities of 64-bit processors, operating systems released their 64-bit versions.
One thing to remember is that a 64-bit processor can support both 32 bit and 64 bit OS but a 32-bit processor can only run 32 bit OS.
If you have bought your computer in last 7-8 years, you should have a 64-bit system. Don’t worry, I won’t force you to dig up and see when you bought your computer.
Read more about 32 bit vs 64 bit here.
So now, you have learned these few things:
- Your computer can have either 32-bit or 64-bit processor
- Your operating system can be 32-bit or 64-bit
- A computer with 64-bit processor can run both 32-bit and 64-bit operating system
- A computer with 32-bit processor cannot run 64-bit operating system
How to find out if my computer processor is 32-bit or 64-bit on Ubuntu
If you are using Ubuntu, it’s very easy to find out if your system is 32-bit or 64-bit. Mind that we are talking about the processor here, not the OS itself.
Open a terminal and run the following command:
You should see a result like this:
CPU op-mode(s): 32-bit, 64-bit
Byte Order: Little Endian
On-line CPU(s) list: 0-3
Thread(s) per core: 2
Core(s) per socket: 2
NUMA node(s): 1
Vendor ID: GenuineIntel
CPU family: 6
Model name: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-4210U CPU @ 1.70GHz
CPU MHz: 1694.812
CPU max MHz: 2700.0000
CPU min MHz: 800.0000
L1d cache: 32K
L1i cache: 32K
L2 cache: 256K
L3 cache: 3072K
NUMA node0 CPU(s): 0-3
Flags: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx pdpe1gb rdtscp lm constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl xtopology nonstop_tsc aperfmperf eagerfpu pni pclmulqdq dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx est tm2 ssse3 sdbg fma cx16 xtpr pdcm pcid sse4_1 sse4_2 movbe popcnt tsc_deadline_timer aes xsave avx f16c rdrand lahf_lm abm epb tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority ept vpid fsgsbase tsc_adjust bmi1 avx2 smep bmi2 erms invpcid xsaveopt dtherm ida arat pln pts
You need to look for the line that starts with CPU op-mode. As you can see in the above result, my CPU can support 32-bit and 64-bit. This means I have 64-bit CPU.
If you see only 32-bit under CPU op-mode, you have a 32-bit system.
Note: if you are using Windows, check this article to find out CPU architecture in Windows.
How to tell if Ubuntu is 32 or 64-bit
So, we just saw how to tell if system is 32 bit or 64-bit. But how to know if the Ubuntu you installed on your system is 32 bit or 64 bit?
I mean that the 64 bit system can support both 32-bit and 64 bit OS. So, if you have a 64-bit system, it is better (and recommended) to install a 64-bit OS.
To check if the installed Ubuntu OS is 32-bit or 64-bit, we will use the same command we used in the previous section:
In the result, look for the line with Architecture. With this, you can know the OS architecture from it.
- x86, i686 or i386 -> it means 32 bit Linux
- x86_64 , amd64 or x64 -> it means 64 bit Linux
In my case, I had x86_64 in the result, which means I have 64 bit Ubuntu installed.
Alternatively, you can use this command that we saw in an older article about finding Ubuntu Unity version:
Result will be x86, i686, i386, x86_64, x64 etc. And you can easily guess the OS architecture from it.
I hope this quick post helped you to know if you have 32-bit or 64-bit computer and you can tell if you have 32-bit Ubuntu or 64-bit.