Microsoft to require 64-bit Windows 10 builds for OEMs with version 2004

Surface Book 2 13-inch and 15-inch
Surface Book 2 13-inch and 15-inch (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is starting to phase out 32-bit versions of Windows 10.
  • Starting with version 2004, PC makers will only be able to use 64-bit versions of Windows 10 on new systems.
  • 32-bit Windows 10 builds will remain available for individual users.

Microsoft is starting the process of slowly phasing out 32-bit Windows. In the company's latest minimum hardware requirements for Windows, it says that 32-bit builds of Windows 10 will no longer be provided to PC manufacturers for new systems. Going forward, all new systems will have to use 64-bit versions of Windows 10 (via Neowin)

"Beginning with Windows 10, version 2004, all new Windows 10 systems will be required to use 64-bit builds and Microsoft will no longer release 32-bit builds for OEM distribution," Microsoft said in its updated list of minimum hardware requirements. "This does not impact 32-bit customer systems that are manufactured with earlier versions of Windows 10; Microsoft remains committed to providing feature and security updates on these devices, including continued 32-bit media availability in non-OEM channels to support various upgrade installation scenarios."

Because this only applies to OEM systems, people will still be able to get their hands on updates and 32-bit versions of Windows 10. However, as new systems hit the market with 64-bit Windows 10 as the only option, we should see 32-bit systems gradually fade away as they're replaced or retired.

The impact is unlikely to be noticed by anyone buying a new PC today. Modern PCs have been using 64-bit CPUs for some time, so there's no reason for most people to need a 32-bit copy.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl