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What is the difference between 16-bit and 32-bit operating systems?

What is the difference between 16-bit and 32-bit operating systems? What does 16-bit and 32-bit exactly mean?

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It's all in the CPU register size on the Intel platform. A 16-bit operating system means the operating system is running on a CPU that only supports registers of 16 bits. A 32-bit operating system means the CPU register size is 32 bits.

This was first published in June 2002

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