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This denotes the number of "pieces" (or bits) of information required by an operating system to run a certain application. It also deals with the construction of the computer's CPU (Central Processing Unit) or brain.
The Pentium CPU easily runs 32-bit applications because the wires that hold all the pieces together (known as busses) are big enough to flow through 32 bits at a time. 486s, 386s, and below aren't big enough.
They work with 16 bits at a time. Windows95 is a 32-bit application. Yes, it will run on a 486, but very slowly while using a great deal of memory and virtual memory (hard drive space) to do it.
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