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I was not able to determine by searching whether this question has already been asked and answered. My search always turned up some other 32 versus 64 bit question.

I want to know if it is possible to determine whether an inactive Ubuntu install, that is, on a drive you did not boot from, is the 32-bit or 64-bit version. I cannot use uname -m because the Ubuntu I want to know about is not the Ubuntu which is running.

For example, if Ubuntu is installed on the hard drive of a desktop PC and the PC is booted from a Live CD/USB version of Ubuntu is it possible to tell what is installed on the hard drive just by looking at the file system of the Ubuntu on the hard drive?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Mount the partition where Ubuntu is installed on and run this command:

file /media/ubuntu-disk/sbin/init

Where /media/ubuntu-disk is the path to where Ubuntu is mounted...

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Thanks! Makes sense (once I'm told what to do). – irrational John Apr 19 '12 at 19:42

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