Updated: 12/29/2017 by Computer Hope

16-bit is a computer hardware device or software program capable of transferring 16 bits of data at a time. For example, early computer processors (e.g., 8088 and 80286) were 16-bit processors, meaning they were capable of working with 16-bit binary numbers (decimal number up to 65,535). Anything larger and the computer would need to break the number into smaller pieces.

Today, 16-bit hardware and software has been replaced by 32-bit and 64-bit alternatives, which give the computer more memory to work with; increasing overall performance.

16-bit with video

When referring to a computer video card or graphics card, 16-bit color or High color refers to the amount of colors capable of being displayed. For example, 16-bit is the same as 65,536 colors.

Examples of 16-bit programs

Below is a listing of different applications shipped with Windows 95 that are 16 bit applications.

Microsoft Hearts Network (MSHEARTS.EXE)
Solitaire (SOL.EXE)
Character Map (CHARMAP.EXE)
Clipboard Viewer (CLIPBRD.EXE)
Disk Defragmenter (DEFRAG.EXE)
ScanDisk for Windows (SCANDSKW.EXE)
System Configuration Editor (SYSEDIT.EXE)
Program Manager (PROGMAN.EXE)
Windows 95 Tour (TOUR.EXE)
Windows Version (WINVER.EXE)
Windows Popup (WINPOPUP.EXE)

8-bit, 24-bit, 32-bit, 64-bit, Bit, Hardware terms, Software terms, Video terms