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Now, that you have an overview of the new features of Internet Explorer 9, I will discuss the differences between Internet Explorer 9 64-bit and 32-bit in another series of articles. Today I will make some general remarks about the default browser settings and how to check which browser version you are actually running.
Download Internet Explorer 9 64-bit or 32-bit? ^
Internet Explorer has been available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions since Windows XP. Of course, you can run Internet Explorer 64-bit only on a 64-bit Windows. However, the 32-bit edition also works on Windows 64-bit. For instance, if you installed Windows 7 x64, you already have Internet Explorer 8 as 32-bit and 64-bit installed.
If you want to install Internet Explorer 9, you have to download the correct bit-version for your operating system. That is, you can't use the 32-bit setup file on Windows 7 x64, and of course you can't install the 64-bit version on Windows 7 x86. However, the 64-bit setup file also contains the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer 9. The same applies when you install Internet Explorer 8 on Windows Vista.
Internet Explorer 9 64-bit as default browser? ^
By default, when you click the Internet Explorer shortcut on the desktop, Internet Explorer 9 32-bit is started. Internet Explorer 32-bit is also launched by default when you launch a website from another application. Although you can use an alternative browser as the default browser, you can't use Internet Explorer 64-bit as your default browser.
Which bit-version are you running? IE 64-bit or IE 32-bit? ^
You can verify that by clicking "About Internet Explorer" in the help menu in IE8 or on the gearwheel in IE9. If you are running IE 64-bit you will find "64 bit Edition" after the browser version number. If you run IE 32-bit, there is no corresponding note in the About window.
You can also check the bit-version with Windows Task Manager by searching for the iexplore.exe process. If "*32 bit" is displayed behind the process name, it is IE 32-bit; if nothing is displayed, it is IE 64-bit.
In my next article in this series I will discuss IE 64-bit compatibility issues.