How-To Geek

How Do I Know if I’m Running 32-bit or 64-bit Linux? [Answers]

If you’ve bought a new computer recently, you probably have a 64-bit processor and installed the 64-bit version of your Linux distribution. What if your computer is a bit older and you don’t remember?

There is a nice and simple command line program called uname that will tell us exactly that.

Open a terminal window (Applications > Accessories > Terminal).


In the terminal window, type in

uname –m

and hit enter.

  • If the response is i686, you have a 32-bit version of Linux.
  • If the response is x86_64, you have a 64-bit version of Linux.


Note: if you get some other value like i386, you almost certainly have a 32-bit version of Linux.

You can find out more detail about your particular installation of Linux, like your kernel version, by entering

uname –a


Thanks to niteshifter and overdrank from this Ubuntu forums thread for this information.

If you’re using Windows, check out our Answers article on how to know if you’re running the 32 or 64-bit version.

Trevor is our resident Linux geek, but always keeps his eyes open for neat Windows tricks too.

  • Published 08/10/10

Comments (7)

  1. calebstein

    The same works for FreeBSD, but it is i386 for 32 bit, and amd64 for 64 bit.

  2. T.A. Henry

    I have a quick question and I can’t find it anywhere on the Ubuntu forums, why does Ubuntu say that the 64 bit option on a desktop is not recommended for daily use?

  3. ALeX

    Another great command (ubuntu specific this time) is “lsb_release -a”.
    Print the Os verion plus the codename..

  4. _khAttAm_

    @T.A. Henry

    Most probably because they don’t want a newbie to get a 64-bit version only to find out later that his system which has an old Pentium 4 processor does not support 64-bit at all. But I’m just guessing.

    Maybe also because many proprietary applications (like flash, amazon software etc) are readily available for 32-bit but not for 64-bit and it is difficult to get them installed or do not work properly.

    Also, in my personal experience, I’ve found that 64-bit Desktop is not as stable. Many desktop programs have memory leak issues, which their 32-bit counterparts don’t.

  5. James

    @khAttAm I’ve been using 64-bit on my AMD laptop for a while. It’s probably been a bad choice as it only has 1GB of memory. I’d say it’s been reasonably stable (especially by Windows standards). I’ve had some programs simply not work. For the most part it has worked very well in 64-bit.
    Flash (and AIR) have been the only true problem areas. Adobe seems to only think in 32-bits when it comes to Linux.

  6. syahrilhafiz

    uname -r
    for kernel use..

  7. Adithya Kiran

    “getconf LONG_BIT” does the required task

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!