Windows – How to you tell if Windows XP is 64bit or 32bit if you only have the partition/filesystem on a hard drive

32-bit64-bitfilesystemsvirtual machinewindows xp

I'm currently doing my father a favor and setting up an Oracle VM with WinXP on a Win10 host PC. I have the old SSD with his original WinXP partition from some years ago. The data was saved and is accessible on his new Win10 PC. For his convenience I want to set up the same 32- or 64-bit version of WinXP pro as he originally had. But the only way for me to find this out, is to read the old filesystem of the WinXP partition over an IDE-to-USB converter. Since the rest of the computer is discarded, there is no processor whose name I can google. I also tried booting the hard drive with no success.

So my question is: How can I tell if a Windows XP partition is 64bit or 32bit if I only have the filesystem of hard drive mounted as a external USB drive? Like, is there a specific file to read out… or does a specific directory has to exist, or something like that?

the filesystem mounted over USB to my (not his) Ubuntu 20.04 OS
The old Windows XP Professional filesystem mounted over USB to my (not his) Ubuntu 20.04 machine.

Best Answer

64-bit Windows XP is actually quite unlikely, 64-bit and larger memory configurations gained traction in the consumer markets sometime after XP, and XP was somewhat quirky due to the lack of manufacturer support for 64-bit.

That said the presence of two folders will tell you the system is 64-bit. If you have

C:\Windows\SysWOW64
C:\Program Files (x86)

Then your system is 64-bit. If both of those are missing then you have a 32-bit system.

Read more at The 'Program Files (x86)' and 'SysWOW64' folders explained