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How to determine whether a given Linux is 32 bit or 64 bit?

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 02 Jan, 2023
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Linux operating systems are the most secure OS presently in use. Although Linux is not preferred by regular computer users but any technical user will prefer Linux over any other operating system. In the present times, there are two types of operating systems, based on their operation mode, 32-bit, and 64-bit. 
32-bit OS is quite old and does not support much modern software. 64-bit OS is the most advanced architecture currently in use for daily users. Along with its 64-bit memory capabilities, a 64-bit OS also supports 32-bit memory applications/software which, makes it the most preferred OS type.

In this article, we shall see how to determine whether a given Linux is 32-bit or 64-bit using both a graphical interface and a Linux terminal.

Following are some major differences between a 32-bit and a 64-bit operating system

32-bit OS64-bit OS
The maximum amount of RAM that can be accessed by these operating systems is 232 bits, or 4GB, which is very ordinary by modern standards.The maximum amount of memory that can be accessed by these operating systems is 264 bits or 16 Exabytes of RAM which is way beyond modern standards.
A 32-bit system can handle only 32-bit software.A 64-bit system can handle both 64- and 32-bit software.
32-bit systems are less efficient and perform poorly in multitasking.64-bit systems are specifically designed for the needs of multitasking, gaming, and other heavy resource-consuming tasks.

Terminal Method

The lscpu command

There is a simple Linux command that tells all about the architecture and memory types of a Linux distro, the lscpu command. 

Simply open a terminal in the given Linux OS and type the following:-


This will give the information on the CPU and OS. See the following image for reference.


The CPU op-mode(s) option in the command output tells whether the given Linux is 32 or 64 bits. 

If it shows 32-bit or 64-bit then Linux is 64 bits as it supports both 32- and 64-bit memory. If it shows only 32-bit then, then Linux is 32-bit. 
The above Linux system is clearly 64 bits.

The lshw command

The lshw command gives complete and verbose information about computer hardware and firmware. As the output of these commands is huge, it is better to store it in a file and then access it. See the following shell command to do the same.

lshw > <path to file for storing the output>



The width argument in the 7th line tells whether the Linux is 32- or 64-bit.

The hostnamectl command

hostnamectl is another command that provides information regarding system architecture, kernel, and operating system. Simply type the command in the terminal to get the information.




Here the architecture is x86-64 which tells the system supports 64-bit. In the case of a 32-bit only system, this field will show x86 only.

Graphical method

To find the same graphically, see the following steps.

Step 1: Type ‘About’ in the search panel and select the about option.


Step 2: After clicking on About above, it will open an information page as follows:-


Here, the OS type field’s value tells you whether the Linux is 64-bit or 32-bit. In the above example, it is 64-bits.


This article discussed how to determine whether a given Linux is 32-bit or 64-bit, by using a Terminal and graphical interface.

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