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Thread: 32 bit or 64 bit precise installation - which do I have?

  1. #1
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    32 bit or 64 bit precise installation - which do I have?

    Hello everyone,
    I know this question sounds foolish....but I am compelled to ask anyway in spite of opprobrium I will (deservedly) receive. Two questions:
    1. How do I query using the shell to determine which version (32 or 64 bit) of Ubuntu Precise I have installed. There must be a way.
    2. If in fact I installed about a year ago the 32 bit version, how do I upgrade to 64 bit without disturbing --or minimally disturbing--existing files?

    Thanks,
    Mark Allyn

  2. #2
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    Re: 32 bit or 64 bit precise installation - which do I have?

    Easiest way to find out is to open a terminal and put in

    Code:
    uname -a
    If it includes x86_64 it's 64-bit.
    If includes i386,486,586,or 686 it's 32-bit.

    As far as upgrading from 32 to 64, simplest thing is to backup your files and install the 64 bit.
    Last edited by deadflowr; May 21st, 2013 at 05:26 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Re: 32 bit or 64 bit precise installation - which do I have?

    Some commands:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/32bit_and_64bit
    32 or 64 bit
    uname -a
    i386 or i686 = 32-bit
    x86_64 = 64-bit
    lscpu

    Version or DISTRIB:
    cat /etc/*release
    cat /etc/lsb-release

    List installed kernels:
    dpkg --list | grep linux-image
    echo $DESKTOP_SESSION

    You have to do a clean new install. Do you have a separate /home as that makes it easier. And you should have good backups of your data & /home anyway.

    Oldfred's backup assumes a new install, so I backup what I need to reinstall and restore my system. Primarily /home and list of installed apps. But depending on what you have you may want other details backed up.


    Oldfred's list of stuff to backup May 2011:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1748541

    Some temporary files you do not need to backup.

    Some files to exclude from /home backup - post by Paddy Landau
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1883834

    If you have made system setting changes (not user) they would be in /etc.

    More detail on /etc files to backup - post #3:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1500559
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair - Updated Mar 2015:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  4. #4
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    Re: 32 bit or 64 bit precise installation - which do I have?

    Oldfred and Deadflowr,

    Thanks for the info. Looks like I'm on a 32 bit Ubuntu 12.04 machine. Too bad!

    Could either of you suggest :

    1. The best way to back this version up so I don't lose the files.
    2. Having backed them up, what would you recommend I do to run them on the 64bit version?

    Thanks,
    Mark

  5. #5
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    Re: 32 bit or 64 bit precise installation - which do I have?

    Code:
    cat /etc/debian_version
    Next time someone says "run Debian", tell him/her you already are and show that as proof.

  6. #6
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    Re: 32 bit or 64 bit precise installation - which do I have?

    Quote Originally Posted by allynm View Post
    ...
    1. The best way to back this version up so I don't lose the files.
    2. Having backed them up, what would you recommend I do to run them on the 64bit version?

    Thanks,
    Mark
    Just to put in my 2 cents:

    1) I use the default Backup (Deja-Dup) application to back up my /Home directory so that i can restore my files and settings if need be. It has backup & restore capability, which I used to restore the data from my 64-bit notebook to my newly-installed 32-bit notebook. Worked for me with no issues.

    2) The data files themselves shouldn't care if you are on a 32-bit or 64-bit OS. Just use the same application to open them as you used to create the data files. You'll have to reinstall the applications after you do a clean install of your 64-bit OS, but other than that you should be good to go.

    If you don't have an external USB hard drive to back up to, may I suggest that you purchase one before you attempt to move from 32-bit to 64-bit? Large external drives can be had for <$100 and are always a good way to preserve valuable data. Other alternatives are USB flash drives, CD's, DVD's and cloud back-up solutions but I think you get the most bang for your buck with an external USB HDD. Just my opinion, YMMV.

    More info:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BackupYourSystem
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  7. #7
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    Re: 32 bit or 64 bit precise installation - which do I have?

    Quote Originally Posted by allynm View Post
    ...Thanks for the info. Looks like I'm on a 32 bit Ubuntu 12.04 machine. Too bad!...
    Why "Too bad"?

    Unless you have more than 4GB of RAM the standard 32-bit Ubuntu is fine. With a PAE kernel even 32-bit Ubuntu can work with up to 64GB of RAM.

    If the machine does everything you want there is no need to change to 64-bit.

  8. #8
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    Re: 32 bit or 64 bit precise installation - which do I have?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zill View Post
    Why "Too bad"?

    Unless you have more than 4GB of RAM the standard 32-bit Ubuntu is fine. With a PAE kernel even 32-bit Ubuntu can work with up to 64GB of RAM.

    If the machine does everything you want there is no need to change to 64-bit.
    Switching to 64bit is more beneficial in the long term. 64bit OS, generally speaking, has better performance than a 32bit OS, and it can take advantage of >4GB RAM. Yes, PAE allows a 32bit OS to use more than 4GB, but applications are still restricted by the 32bit virtual address space, to they can only use 4GB at a time, and not more. Also, in the future everything is probably going to be 64bit, so upgrade earlier rather than later.

    You are still correct though. Unless you are going to do some very resource-intensive task (like gaming or graphics), then 64bit provides minimal benefits. Still, it's recommended that we upgrade to 64bit if our systems allow it.

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