There are a lot of PC users out there running 64-bit Windows instead of 32-bit, but who either don’t realize it or just haven’t bothered installing the 64-bit versions of their favorite programs. At least one major program will soon make the switch automatically for users.
Beginning with Chrome 58.0.3029.96, which was released on Tuesday, Google will automatically migrate select users to 64-bit Chrome from the 32-bit version.
There are a few requirements for the switch to happen. First, you have to be running 64-bit Windows and have 32-bit Chrome installed. Your system also needs 4GB or more of RAM. Google says auto-update also has to be enabled, but that should be the case for the vast majority of home users.
Google says it’s making the switch for reasons of “stability, performance, and security.” If you’re not familiar with the term, 64-bit software is capable of using more system RAM than 32-bit. If you have a 32-bit version of Windows, for example, and 12GB of RAM in your PC, the system would never see more than 4GB of that memory. The same goes for programs. With 64-bit programs you can use more RAM for better performance.
Why this matters: Really, in 2017 the only time a 64-bit PC should be running a 32-bit program is when a 64-bit version isn’t available. A few years ago that wasn’t the case, since most programs ran better in their 32-bit flavors. These days, however, 64-bit versions match and exceed their 32-bit counterparts as a general rule.