2.3. Running 32-Bit and 64-Bit Windows Applications

The 32-bit Windows applications are the ideal type of applications to run under a Windows 32-bit environment, and 64-bit applications are the ideal type of applications to run under a Windows 64-bit environment. As of Windows 95 and Windows NT, all versions of Windows are 32-bit environments. Starting with Windows XP, all Windows OSes have a 64-bit option when running on 64-bit processors. Because all these OSes are 32-bit or 64-bit in nature, it only makes sense that the applications that are run in these environments are also 32-bit or 64-bit. With that said, you should understand the benefits of running 32-bit and 64-bit applications and how those applications are executed in Windows environments.

2.3.1. Benefiting from 32-bit applications

There are several benefits to running Windows 32-bit applications instead of 16-bit applications, such as

  • Multithreading

  • 32-bit data transfers

  • Process isolation

One of the greatest benefits of 32-bit Windows applications is the ability to be multithreaded. Multithreaded applications run several threads of code concurrently. Each thread usually is assigned to a specific task. In the case of Microsoft Word, different threads can process typed characters, check spelling, or check grammar in your document all at the same time. If your computer has only one processor, only one task is actually performed at any given instance even though scheduling of all these different tasks is optimized. If ...

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