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Microsoft Says Tipping Point Already Reached

According to a source inside Microsoft, over 25 percent of Vista installations in the US at the end of last year were 64-bit. There were several major drivers for the switch to 64-bit, most related to cheap DDR2 DRAM.

Jon DeVaan, Senior Vice-President of the Windows Core Operating System Division, agrees. "From our point of view we believe that we have accomplished the tipping point in terms of 64-bit adoption. Now, this happened to a large degree because memory prices are coming down, and another dynamic that we've seen in the United States is that the retail channel is looking to use RAM upgrades as a way to boost margin. So what that means is that 64-bit machine run rate is increasing rapidly, and that means our ability to support those 64-bit machines fully in the broad ecosystem is a really important thing."

Any PC with 4GB of RAM or more must use a 64-bit installation of Windows in order to address the full amount of RAM. Typically a 32-bit installation would recognize a maximum of 3-3.5GB of RAM.

Instead of purchasing a 32-bit version and then having to change to 64-bit later when they purchase more RAM, many are choosing 64-bit at the start. Over 75 percent of Windows sales are based on OEM installations of new computers.

The majority of Core i7 platforms are also using 64-bit operating systems, due to the triple channel memory setup using more RAM.

If you bought Windows Vista as a retail packaged product, Microsoft offers a free 64-bit upgrade DVD for the cost of shipping and handling. The upgrade will be a full clean installation over the 32-bit version. Windows Vista Ultimate already includes 32-bit and 64-bit versions on the DVD.

Many OEMs also provide a free or low cost option to switch to 64-bit Vista.

Windows 7 is expected to be the last to natively run at 32-bits. The next major Windows revision after it will be 64-bit native, running 32-bit applications through the use of a compatibility layer.

Windows Server 2008 R2, the server version of Windows 7, is already exclusively 64-bit.

With the switch to Windows 7, it would be easiest for PC OEMs to adopt 64-bit exclusively. That would reduce the number of SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) and drivers that would be needed by half, not an insignificant number when you consider that Windows 7 will ship in at least 4 editions. Multiply that by at least 34 localized language versions.

Additionally, the price premium of DDR3 will drop significantly as 50nm production kicks in. DDR3 is the memory of choice for AMD's CPUs using the AM3 socket, as well as Intel's Core i7 and Core i5 (Lynnfield). Due to lower power consumption, DDR3 adoption on laptops is progressing rapidly as well.

"Put more simply, usage of 64-bit Windows Vista is growing much more rapidly than 32-bit. Based on current trends, this growth will accelerate as the retail channel shifts to supplying a rapidly increasing assortment of 64-bit desktops and laptops," said Chris Flores, a Director on the Windows Client Communications Team.

Since 64-bit Vista and Windows 7 can run 32-bit applications, the last remaining hurdle is driver compatibility. Many new devices now have 64-bit device drivers available for Vista, and those should be mostly compatible with Windows 7.

An important tool is the Windows Vista Compatibility Center. Devann thinks that 64-bit support will drive sales: "They can go here and look at 64-bit compatibility, and with the trend that we just saw this is a good place for communicating with your customers about your support for 64-bit, so that they can prefer your product if they have one of these 64-bit systems".

Devann addressed the crowd at WinHEC with the following message, "I urge everyone here to make sure that you have the right 64-bit support, and in general 32-bit software runs fine on 64-bit Windows, but when it comes to drivers, that's where the work is. And with this audience, it's something that we're all acutely aware."

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Slight error
By amanojaku on 1/22/2009 12:12:26 AM , Rating: 1
Any PC with 4GB of RAM or more must use a 64-bit installation of Windows in order to address the full amount of RAM. Typically a 32-bit installation would recognize a maximum of 3-3.5GB of RAM.
Not true. PAE allows 32-bit operating systems to use up to 64GB of RAM. There are a few factors that limit this from system to system, but memory greater than 4 GB has been around for the 32-bit world for a while. That being said, 64-bit is the way to go.

RE: Slight error
By CCRATA on 1/22/2009 12:25:52 AM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately microsoft never properly implemented PAE in windows. It works just fine in linux though.

RE: Slight error
By phxfreddy on 1/22/2009 8:32:59 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like Microsoft does not want to repeat sales debacle of Vista! .... by switching to 64 bit system appears they can stampede the cattle!

RE: Slight error
By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 9:08:36 AM , Rating: 2
64-bit had nothing to do with Vista's problems at release. The vast majority of systems with Vista at release were 32-bit. Drivers weren't ready for either version.

RE: Slight error
By dragonbif on 1/22/2009 12:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
32bit has to be the oldest technology used today. It is what 33-34 years old now, and I do believe Intel has the rights to the x86 process just as a side note.

RE: Slight error
By The0ne on 1/22/2009 12:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe when it first started but you really have to give it time for the industry to mature. I mean look at 64bit, it's been around for quite some time now and we're still not seeing full support for it. What I'm saying is it's not a fair comment to say 32bit has been around for 33-34 years when really the industry didn't get a hold of it until just a few years back.

Seriously, 15 years ago it was 8/16bit programming. 32bit wasn't widespread, nor the Windows OS.

RE: Slight error
By The0ne on 1/22/2009 1:02:13 PM , Rating: 2
Might be 20 years ago since I'm thinking about it more. I didn't get into 16bit/32bit until the 680030 and that was in 1992-3.

RE: Slight error
By William Gaatjes on 1/22/2009 6:10:06 PM , Rating: 2
Although the 68000 was limited to a 16 bit communications bus it had 32 bit registers thus one could argue the amiga already was 32 bit. That was in 1985.

Kinda like the consoles a few years back claiming to be 64 or 128 bit while only the path to the cache was 128 bit or having some 128 bit instructions.

RE: Slight error
By SlyNine on 1/23/2009 5:48:11 AM , Rating: 2
Or having 2 64bit CPU's.

RE: Slight error
By tasdk on 1/25/2009 2:33:09 AM , Rating: 2
There were even earlier 68000 PCs, such as the Apple Mac in 1984 and the Apple Lisa in 1983. I think the Lisa was the first 68000-based PC, although there are rumours that IBM engineers wanted to use the 68000 in the original IBM PC, but that the 8088 was chosen instead, for business reasons.

Unlike the Mac, Amiga or ST, the Lisa even had an MMU (a custom one, which I think was the only possibility with the 68000), which enabled memory protection under the Lisa OS. Although technically a separate issue, memory protection was one of the major new features of '32-bit' PC operating systems (Windows NT, OS/2, Linux, etc), since 16-bit systems like MS-DOS didn't offer it (because there was no MMU in the original IBM PC).

Mind you, the Lisa was outrageously expensive, so in a sense it would be more appropriate to compare it to Unix workstations from the same era (which also included MMUs). One example would be the 68000-based Sun-1, which was released in 1982, and was actually cheaper than the Lisa.

RE: Slight error
By Pryde on 1/28/2009 5:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
68000 was not a x86 processor, its memory system was only 16bit ( later expanded to 31bit ( yes I said 31))

Intel 80386 was the first x86-32bit processor. October 1985

AMD Opteron was the first x86-64bit processor. April 22, 2003 with the SledgeHammer core (K8)

While 32bit and 64bit were around well before these processors, it was not until these two were released that they became mainstream.

RE: Slight error
By Motley on 2/3/2009 8:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
Minor correction, the Atari ST had an MMU as well.

RE: Slight error
By Motley on 2/3/2009 8:57:11 PM , Rating: 2
And it wasn't 32/16 bit it was 32/24.

RE: Slight error
By afkrotch on 1/22/2009 1:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on how you look. Home use or overall use? 40286 was 16 bit and 40368 was 32. 22 years for the x86.

IBM's 360 mainframe was 32 bit and that'd put 32 bit at 44 years old. Course not like anyone could afford one for home use, let alone want to use their whole house for one mainframe.

RE: Slight error
By PrinceGaz on 1/22/2009 8:19:09 PM , Rating: 3
I assume you meant 80286 and 80386 (not 40286 not 40368 :p )

Yes, the 386 was 32-bit capable but the 32-bit capability wan't really utilised until Windows NT was launched in 1993, a full seven years after the 80386 chip was first launched. So that is 7 years when 32-bit capable chips were available for PCs, but we were using 16-bit OSs. It wasn't until Windows XP that the home version of Windows became 32-bit only (why they even bothered with Windows Me when 2000 was already streets ahead for new computers, amazes me - the compatability issues would soon have been sorted with games and other software which refused to run under it). So for home users, it was 15 years before Microsoft went completely 32-bit (1986-2001).

In that respect, the transition to 64-bit is proceeding somewhat faster. The first 64-bit AMD processors were released in 2003 and we had true 64-bit OSs soon afterwards (both Windows and Linux, and maybe others). Windows 7 will still have a 32-bit version, but it looks like being something which will quickly die out now that almost all current hardware has solid 64-bit drivers and the 4GB memory level is increasingly mainstream.

Instead of the 7-15 year transition from 16 to 32-bit, it looks like the 32 to 64-bit transition will be complete in 1-9 years (that allows for Windows 7 32-bit being sold until 2012), a full six years quicker than the last big move. And this is despite the 64-bit x86 move being done by AMD rather than Intel this time.

If anything, we should be amazed that x86-64 has been adopted so quickly (and be very grateful that the likes of PAE or any other form of memory-paging never caught on). That brings back nightmares of Expanded Memory and page-frames and lots of other DOS memory-nightmares I prefer to forget.

RE: Slight error
By Ammohunt on 1/23/2009 2:35:17 PM , Rating: 2
This is all fine and nice but i am holding out for 128-bit.

RE: Slight error
By Pryde on 1/28/2009 5:07:35 PM , Rating: 2
While PAE does increase the amount of memory the system can address it still has 32bit restrictions with limited memory per process. PAE is only useful in servers and even then 64bit is superior.

RE: Slight error
By TheLiberalTruth on 1/22/2009 12:28:13 AM , Rating: 3
True, PAE may allow for 64GB, however, not on any desktop OS.

Read the table there. XP and Vista are able to address only 4GB.

RE: Slight error
By quiksilvr on 1/22/2009 12:35:47 AM , Rating: 2
And technically speaking the 32 bit OS can handle 3.5 GB of RAM. I know its not 4 but its close and performance wise its still noticeably better than having 2 GB of RAM.

RE: Slight error
By StevoLincolnite on 1/22/2009 4:40:40 AM , Rating: 5
Theoretically Windows can support the full 4GB, but your hardware is going to allocate some of the address space (not the physical RAM) to the PCI bus, the video adapter memory address space, and other resources. 32-bit OSs need to use part of the full 4GB address space to address these resources, subtracting from the maximum memory you have available to the OS and applications.

RE: Slight error
By 16nm on 1/22/2009 10:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
That's right, and when you move to 64-bit then the addresses for these devices can be moved above the address space for the RAM thereby freeing it. I've seen WinXP access 3.99 GB of ram on some systems.

RE: Slight error
By SlyNine on 1/23/2009 5:58:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yea but the OS only allocates 2gigs to programs, Unless you.

A. Set the system to use the 3/1 memory switch. That can cause system crashes

B. The program has to be high memory aware.

It uses the rest for the kernel, and also like the other guy said. PCI buss, adapter memory all has to take a chunk out of that address space.

Vista 32bit in my eyes slowed development on Vista 64. All systems that could only run Vista 32 were pretty much inadequate for Vista in the first place. Its Ram barrier was also its minimum amount for smooth operation. Vista 32bit was a waste of time and a mistake.

I wish they wouldn't even bother with Windows 7 32bit.

RE: Slight error
By TheLiberalTruth on 1/22/2009 12:43:25 AM , Rating: 5
Heh...let me reword "not on any desktop OS" to "not on any desktop OS with appreciable market share". I wouldn't want to leave out Linux and it's ~1% market share or the handful of folks using Mac Pros. ;)

RE: Slight error
By Calin on 1/22/2009 3:31:03 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention the people using BSDs as a desktop OS (FreeBSD mainly) :)

RE: Slight error
By foolsgambit11 on 1/22/2009 5:00:25 PM , Rating: 2
All you have to do is reparse the quote to make the article accurate:

"Any PC with 4GB of RAM or more must use a 64-bit installation of Windows in order to address the full amount of RAM."

The question is, does 'must use a 64-bit installation of Windows' mean that the PC can only address all of the RAM if it is running a 64-bit installation of Windows, or does it mean that a PC with an installation of Windows will only address all of the RAM if it is 64-bit? The latter is a true statement. The former isn't, and you don't even have to get into exotic memory addressing. Any 64-bit OS will address more than 4 GB of RAM, not just 64-bit WIndows. So we must assume the intended meaning is the latter - that if you are using Windows, you must have a 64-bit install to use more than 4 GB of RAM.

Unfortunately, the immediate and obvious parsing of the quote suggests the first meaning. The latter is stretching the grammar of the English language uncomfortably. So that's unfortunate writing.

RE: Slight error
By dagamer34 on 1/22/2009 12:49:43 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't having 1GB video cards start chipping away at the usable amount of RAM a computer has available? I thought that's one reason why Microsoft states the amount of installed RAM in a user's system instead of the amount of RAM available to the OS at the behest of crying OEMs not wanting to deal with supporting 64-bit versions of Windows Vista?

RE: Slight error
By dani31 on 1/22/09, Rating: -1
RE: Slight error
By finalfan on 1/22/2009 3:36:13 AM , Rating: 5
It's not about the memory but the memory space. The video memory has to be mapped to somewhere in the 4GB memory space that a 32bit processor can address. The more video memory you have, the more memory space are occupied by it. The result is the main memory at that space cannot be accessed to the CPU. For 64bit processor, the video memory can be mapped to a space far beyond the main memory address which makes all main memory accessible.

RE: Slight error
By on 1/22/09, Rating: -1
RE: Slight error
By Motley on 2/3/2009 8:59:10 PM , Rating: 1
You shouldn't say "never", because my video card takes 1768MB (1.7GB) of address space.

RE: Slight error
By sabrewulf on 1/22/2009 1:23:42 AM , Rating: 2
Given the context of the article, I don't think it was really necessary for amanojaku to post such information. I suspect he was just showing off. If the article had been about 64-bit adoption on servers then it might've been more relevant.

RE: Slight error
By TomCorelis on 1/22/2009 2:21:16 AM , Rating: 3
Windows Server editions have been using PAE for a while, I thought?

RE: Slight error
By Bremen7000 on 1/22/2009 7:10:03 AM , Rating: 3
I believe the desktop Windows OSes are intentionally limited to not take advantage of PAE. Good riddance to 32-bit, anyway, bring on the global 64-bit support.

RE: Slight error
By anotherdude on 1/22/2009 8:50:33 AM , Rating: 5
Yes, no current DESKTOP OS, from MS, will use PAE to support more than 4 gig. Word is they tried it at some point with XP but some drivers were not mapping properly so they stopped it. As was pointed out it still works in some server versions and on some other OSes.

From Mark Russinovich:

"64-bit Windows client SKUs support different amounts of memory as a SKU-differentiating feature, with the low end being 512MB for Windows XP Starter to 128GB for Vista Ultimate. All 32-bit Windows client SKUs, however, including Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows 2000 Professional, support a maximum of 4GB of physical memory. 4GB is the highest physical address accessible with the standard x86 memory management mode. Originally, there was no need to even consider support for more than 4GB on clients because that amount of memory was rare, even on servers.

However, by the time Windows XP SP2 was under development, client systems with more than 4GB were foreseeable, so the Windows team started broadly testing Windows XP on systems with more than 4GB of memory. Windows XP SP2 also enabled Physical Address Extensions (PAE) support by default on hardware that implements no-execute memory because its required for Data Execution Prevention (DEP), but that also enables support for more than 4GB of memory.

What they found was that many of the systems would crash, hang, or become unbootable because some device drivers, commonly those for video and audio devices that are found typically on clients but not servers, were not programmed to expect physical addresses larger than 4GB. As a result, the drivers truncated such addresses, resulting in memory corruptions and corruption side effects. Server systems commonly have more generic devices and with simpler and more stable drivers, and therefore hadn't generally surfaced these problems. The problematic client driver ecosystem lead to the decision for client SKUs to ignore physical memory that resides above 4GB, even though they can theoretically address it."

Great read on the subject here:

The limitation is in virtual memory address SPACE - a 32 bit OS can address 4 gig TOTAL (2 to the 32 power is 4 gig)but it must reserve some of that space for other devices with addressable memory on them such as video cards for example, hence the reason a video card with a lot of Vram will take quite a chunk off of your 4 gig.

The system is not using the unused portion of your system RAM for video, the system ram that cannot be addressed just sits there, unused due to lack of available addresses in the 32 bit range.

RE: Slight error
By Targon on 1/22/2009 6:48:23 AM , Rating: 3
There is a big issue with 32 bit though, and PAE would never get around it. With 32 bit, you are limited to 4GB worth of address space for any application to use at one time. Sure, there are ways to work around this, but the problem is there. You also have the issue that in the 32 bit world, your video card memory MUST sit below the 4GB mark, so if you have a video card with 2GB of memory(the highest end cards are starting to hit this), that means you have under 2GB of RAM available to your applications.

So, 64 bit really is the way to go at this point, and the sooner we have 64 bit as the "norm", the sooner driver quality for 64 bit will get to the quality level we had for 32 bit. That has been a major issue under Vista 64 bit to this day, the lack of 64 bit drivers for some devices, the generally lower quality of what 64 bit drivers there is, and the need to be VERY careful before going 64 bit in the first place, because certain devices may just not work. Look at Linksys wireless cards and there is ZERO mention of 64 bit. With the exception of perhaps 2 or 3 cards, all 64 bit driver support is provided by other users finding the right chipsets that come with driver support, and there is no way to know without digging through every model and checking the driver list to see if x64 is even mentioned.

RE: Slight error
By anotherdude on 1/22/2009 9:04:25 AM , Rating: 2
I believe the limitation is 2 gig per application and not 4?

RE: Slight error
By Etsp on 1/22/2009 11:23:32 AM , Rating: 2
I think that 2gig limitation is because windows reserves 2 gigs for the kernel...

RE: Slight error
By mindless1 on 1/22/2009 10:50:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but nobody in their right mind ever used any Linksys driver, since they were always a few steps behind what was current at the time, even for a generic 8139 100Mb ethernet card.

RE: Slight error
By 16nm on 1/22/2009 11:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
In a practical sense, the quote from the article is correct. It's not an error.

Applications must be specifically written to use the extra address space exposed w/PAE. Windows does not even touch that memory. It's separate from the 32-bit address space because 32-bit pointers can not address it. It's that simple. In otherwords, if you have 4GB of memory and add 8GB more to your server and enable PAE then not a thing will change, not even the memory your 32-bit apps and Windows use. The additional 8GB is totally reserved for PAE aware applications to access of which there are very few.

Here's how you write your program to use the extra memory made available w/PAE

Here are some nice notes on the technology to help understand it

It should be 64bit only
By mkruer on 1/22/2009 12:56:37 AM , Rating: 5
Anyone else get the feeling that Microsoft should drop 32bit all together, and say from now on Windows 7 will be 64bit only. 64bit processors have been out for a while now, and I would argue that most consumer who are willing to upgrade already have a system that meets the 64bit requirements, and any new system sold will have a 64bit processor anyway. Even the Intel’s Atom is 64bit

MS should just kill off the 32bit and place all the QA and coder into making the 64bit version work better, and be comfortable in the knowledge that any system that any system that can’t run 64bit is not worth installing window 7 anyway, and that those system will eventually disappear sooner than later.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By Einy0 on 1/22/2009 1:46:10 AM , Rating: 2
The lower power envelope variations of the atom do not have 64bit support. Probably software disabled though, maybe hardware. Resistor or something external to disable it. If MS didn't screw up so bad with Vista as far as resources hunger goes I'd say yes, Win7 64bit only. Now they are trying to make up for the shortcomings of Vista while still moving forward. ie away from XP... Netbooks are all the rage and Ms wants their new os on them. Not only running but running smoothly. Maybe the next windows will be 64bit only. You can probably blame the 32 and 64 versions on intel for not fully embracing x64. Perhaps for not embracing x64 sooner. There are tons of very decent pcs out there still running x32 only. I'll be running x64 Windows 7 for sure. BTW Beta 1 runs amazingly well on 2GB of ram. I know, no advantage to it but who cares. Let's move forward... x64 here to stay...

RE: It should be 64bit only
By B3an on 1/22/2009 2:00:19 AM , Rating: 4
If MS just did Win7 64-Bit your'd get all the cavemen moaning that it will not run on there system. Just like with the morons that tried to install Vista on hardware that was obviously not capable, and then got angry about it.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By Bateluer on 1/22/2009 8:33:31 AM , Rating: 3
These cavemen are going to piss and moan regardless. They've moaned when MS released their first GUI Windows OS, they moaned with the release of Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, and lord, we all know how they moaned with Vista. They'll moan with 7 when its released as well. The positive view of Windows 7 now comes from enthusiasts and tech oriented people running the betas, not the general public who gets confused when things like 'My Computer' is renamed to 'Computer'.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By mindless1 on 1/22/2009 10:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
and yet, the cavemen manage to do all the same work on a computer as those who insist more than 4GB of memory is important.

64bit is definitely the future, but a push or abandonment of 32bit when the vast majority of the world is currently using a 32bit OS with no need for more, would be foolish.

As always before, this is a transition period and that means supporting both. Don't ever pretend you are somehow less caveman like if you run 64bit, an intelligent person can use any tech placed in front of them without whining about what doesn't work and a need for change.

I'll bet you think it's necessary to have 8GB of memory and 64bit OS to do basic tasks people were doing with 512MB for years. Don't kid yourself, it is not memory address space that is a problem it is the programmers and users at this point.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By The0ne on 1/22/2009 1:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
I will have to agree. Most users, even hardcore enthusiast, encountered doesn't even use 4Gig or more memory. Even with pre-caching programs and applications that doesn't really mean they're using them all the time.

Now some users and enthusiasts doing technical work and what not will benefit from the increase in memory, ala 64bit OS and apps.

And if you're ever in the service department you know there are still a lot of users out there that still rely on 16bit/32bit apps. Most likely your city council is still using old voting systems, typewriters, PCs, etc :) You can't force some of the baby boomers to change :)

RE: It should be 64bit only
By SlyNine on 1/23/2009 6:11:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yea but those people who are not enthusiasts will probably want to stick with there computer for a while.

Down the road they may need more then 2gigs of ram and since they don't upgrade much support for more then 2gigs might be even more important because they wont even understand why they cannot just slap 2 more gigs of ram in there system and they'll think, wtf is 32bit and 64 bit.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By Chaser on 1/22/2009 1:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
I think the "caveman" term is a bit extreme especially when it comes to 64 bit. Many users don't embrace computer hardware and software technological advances like most readers of Daily Tech do. Some "cavemen" are very intimidated by computers just as others could be by car engines, operating rooms or sewage plants.

To many people rocking the boat can be as simple as changing their desktop layout. They see a computer as a necessary part of their job and at times as annoying as their occasionally arrogant or grouchy boss.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By finalfan on 1/22/2009 3:42:32 AM , Rating: 2
At least to me it will be difficult. My Canon EOS doesn't have a Vista 64 driver and there is no 64 bit Cisco VPN client either. If the shift really happens it may force the vendors to be less lazy. We will see.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By SlyNine on 1/23/2009 6:13:39 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe if there were no 32bit vista or Windows 7 versions someone would get off their ass and produce 64bit variants.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By Motley on 2/3/2009 9:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
There is VPN clients that support 64-bit and work with Cisco routers. If nothing else, use the built-in IPSEC client.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By TomZ on 1/22/2009 8:35:10 AM , Rating: 1
Anyone else get the feeling that Microsoft should drop 32bit all together
No, it is too soon for that. There is simply too much hardware out there that lacks 64-bit driver support.

For example, I purchased an Inspiron 1720 less than 2 years ago. Even though the processor is 64-bit capable, Dell doesn't provide any support (drivers) for 64-bit. None at all.

Win7 64-bit might work on that machine, but then I probably wouldn't be able to use some of the integrated devices because of missing drivers. So in this case, I'll be stuck with 32-bit until I replace the laptop.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 9:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
So just keep the OS already on it?

RE: It should be 64bit only
By TomZ on 1/22/2009 2:59:58 PM , Rating: 2
That would deprive me of the benefits of Windows 7, and it would deprive Microsoft of the revenue associated with my upgrade. Sounds like a lose-lose situation.

And besides, the reason Microsoft is maintaining 32-bit support has more to do with wanting to be able to efficiently run on low-end processors such as those in netbooks, more than the upgrade market. The upgrade market certainly is significant, but it is small compared to the potential to run Windows 7 32-bit in emerging markets. That's the real goal.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By KITH on 1/22/2009 3:09:26 PM , Rating: 2
You make a very good and I imagine, valid, point.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By Fritzr on 1/26/2009 11:46:00 PM , Rating: 2
Second solution to the lack of 64bit support ... add a compatibility feature to 64bit Windows to allow use of 32bit drivers. The main need would be to ensure they are always loaded into the 32bit address space.

Win95/98 did this and a got a lot of criticism for being flaky due to badly written 16bit drivers and legacy 16bit modules that continued to be used by the new 32bit OSes.

One of the 'features' of XP was the removal of 16bit code and the addition of 'compatibility mode' to allow older software to contine to run in spite of required modules having been modified or removed.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By johnsonx on 1/23/2009 3:06:51 AM , Rating: 2
On one hand I agree with the notion that Windows 7 should be 64-bit only. It does seem a good time, now that 64-bit processors are nearly ubiquitous.

However, many people underestimate the amount of software out there that just won't run on 64-bit windows. It isn't just hardware drivers that have to be 64-bit, it's any sort of driver at all (you'd be surprised how many programs use some sort of driver). I have several programs I depend on that won't work with 64-bit windows because of this.

Also, don't forget that 64-bit mode also eliminates 16-bit software compatibility as well. The business and corporate environment tends to depend on many older applications that might break on a 64-bit OS. For example, I have a client who needs to keep an old version of Autocad running for various reasons... but it can't be installed on any of the new Vista 64 boxes because the installer is 16-bit.

So, if the plan is to have Windows 7 be the final 32-bit Windows, with strong emphasis on the 64-bit version, then that's probably a reasonable compromise.

RE: It should be 64bit only
By Darkskypoet on 1/24/2009 8:14:01 PM , Rating: 2
Do what the rest of us with Brand new 4-8-12 GB of ram systems with a stupid crap load of resources, and multi core processors do... Run that prog in a VM...

I have run into the same problem with my clients who have no need to upgrade a $20k accounting prog because it does exactly what they want it to do. I run it in a VM. It's far cheaper to run a vm in the Vmware player, and buy a couple licenses for constructing the image and testing, etc. Plus the roll out is uber simple.

So now, they have a little vm running win2k on top of their XP64, or Vista 64 systems that due to advances in the industry, are already more machine they really utilize.

Problem solved, client happy, no worries about both maintaining compatibility, and moving forward.

I would imagine, that since all server and desktop OS's from MS are now from the same code base (for each individual main version of course ; Xp64 = Server 2003, 2K = Server 2k, 2008 = vista, etc) because of support contracts, and other legal requirements to continue to support certain hardware for certain clients. The increased MC of putting out a 32bit desktop version since they have to put out a 32bit server version is relatively low, and as such to not put out a desktop variant @ 32bit would be silly. I'd imagine, that there are other products that would utilize a Windows 7 code base.. (ok Vista SP3) in embedded systems, etc, that do not require 64bit, and again like net books... MS wants their current OS in.

Why 32bits?
By Hapikern on 1/22/2009 3:13:51 AM , Rating: 2
Why still making 32bits OS's if 64bits have been out since some years and it runs every 32bits software out?... if it's for driver compatibility, well... hardware manufacturers should have started working in those drivers since years... get your lazy asses to work!

RE: Why 32bits?
By StevoLincolnite on 1/22/2009 4:50:30 AM , Rating: 2
It could be a processor problem, there are Plenty of people still hanging onto the Pentium 4's, Athlon XP and plenty of notebooks with a Pentium 4 M or a Pentium M which are 32 bit processors only.

RE: Why 32bits?
By fishman on 1/22/2009 6:42:26 AM , Rating: 2
Few people with older systems would upgrade them to windows 7, so an exclusive 64 bit release wouldn't have much effect.

RE: Why 32bits?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/22/2009 7:10:50 AM , Rating: 1
Pentium 4's of the Socket 775 line were all 64-bit capable.

RE: Why 32bits?
By noirsoft on 1/22/09, Rating: -1
RE: Why 32bits?
By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 9:12:35 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah well personally, I would rather Windows 7 have been native 64-bit. If you're still running an old heat factory socket 478 Pentium IV, you can stick with Vista or XP.

RE: Why 32bits?
By tasdk on 1/25/2009 2:48:48 AM , Rating: 2
The x64 version of Windows 7 is native 64-bit, and so are the x64 versions of Vista and even XP.

Right now there are two ports of Windows, the 32-bit x86 port and the 64-bit x64 port. The question is whether or not the x86 port should be dropped the way that the MIPS, Alpha and PowerPC ports were dropped back in the 90s, when it became clear that x86 had won the 32-bit CPU wars (and that Alpha wasn't going to win in the 64-bit market).

I'd like to see the x86 port of Windows 7 disappear, but realistically, there is still a business case for offering it, so I can understand why Microsoft aren't going to do that.

RE: Why 32bits?
By Merry on 1/22/2009 9:42:28 AM , Rating: 2
people still hanging onto the Pentium 4's, Athlon XP and plenty of notebooks with a Pentium 4 M or a Pentium M which are 32 bit processors only.

Yes. I'm one of them!

I'm quite impressed with Windows 7 on my Pentium M laptop (1gig RAM, 100gig HDD Ati X700), its quite snappy, indeed its comparable with the Ubuntu installation I dual boot with in terms of 'clicking around' speed.

Saying that, though, having used Linux for 2 years now, I find parts of the UI unintuitive and, something that made me smile, my Intel wireless adaptor didnt work out of the box, nor did my ATI graphics card, or fingerprint scanner (i'll forgive it for that). I know its a beta but, given the criticisms leveled at Linux (specifically Ubuntu in my case) it did make me chuckle.

I think MS is right in releasing both 32 and 64 bit versions of 7 before moving solely on to 64bit. Particularly given that 7 appears to run well on older hardware.

RE: Why 32bits?
By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 8:19:43 AM , Rating: 2
Because many legacy applications may be 32-bit apps but they may use some 16-bit code.

RE: Why 32bits?
By TomZ on 1/22/2009 8:29:02 AM , Rating: 1
hardware manufacturers should have started working in those drivers since years
Because there is no business case for hardware manufacturers to go back and release 64-bit drivers for older hardware.

Actually the situation is the opposite - by failing to provide 64-bit for older hardware, hardware manufacturers are encouraging re-purchase of newer hardware for which 64-bit drivers have been developed. Good for them profit-wise, but maybe not so good for consumers.

Microsoft recognized this a while back and made 64-bit drivers a requirement in order to for a driver to be certified Vista compatible.

RE: Why 32bits?
By SlyNine on 1/23/2009 6:18:36 AM , Rating: 2
Then Joe consumer feeling shafted buys someone else stuff thus business lose consumer trust and- consumers.

Thus capitalism is working.

RE: Why 32bits?
By Motley on 2/3/2009 9:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
That is correct, and I have had this happen. Then I toss that piece of hardware away, and I buy a new one from a different company. I refuse to buy hardware from companies that fail to support their products.

RE: Why 32bits?
By rburnham on 1/22/2009 9:21:43 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Why 32bits?
By therealnickdanger on 1/22/2009 10:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
Whats ares yous talkings abouts, Tokies?

RE: Why 32bits?
By mmntech on 1/22/2009 10:16:21 AM , Rating: 3
The reason is more economics than anything else. The corporate market is probably the largest consumer of Microsoft products. The reason 32-bit was kept was to entice businesses to upgrade to Windows 7, since many work stations still use older, cheaper 32-bit processors. It's vary expensive to replace computer hardware on a mass scale. The reason Vista failed in the business world was because it's requirements were too high. This was why Windows 7, with its streamlined code, was created in the first place

Also, the Intel Atom N270 is a 32-bit processor. Microsoft wants to discontinue XP but they still want their chunk of the lucrative netbook market. It would be stupid to make an OS that wasn't compatible with 90% of those systems. I'm not sure if Pineview will support x86-64 or not.

RE: Why 32bits?
By The0ne on 1/22/2009 1:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
You don't have the driver and application support to be successful mainstream. Server side that's ok but that's not your money maker for a lot of companies. We had 64bit CPU's for some time now and how many applications have been fully converted to 64bit? Don't get me wrong I want 64bit and higher because then technical applications can actually benefit from them. But if the application and drivers don't change you're not going to get many benefits from having a 64bit CPU or OS.

I really do wish tech apps would catch up. I haven't checked lately but SolidWorks is still not Vista compatible? This is what I mean. Can't be like Adobe I guess :)

By icanhascpu on 1/22/2009 12:28:05 AM , Rating: 3
64bits is all anyone should ever need!

RE: 64bit
By StevoLincolnite on 1/22/2009 4:49:20 AM , Rating: 2
And quoted by Bill Gates: "640K ought to be enough for anybody."

Or even funnier... "We will never make a 32-bit operating system."

…until Microsoft launched the 32-bit OS, Windows NT 3.1 in 1993.

RE: 64bit
By icanhascpu on 1/22/2009 10:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
Glad someone got that.

RE: 64bit
By tasdk on 1/25/2009 2:57:04 AM , Rating: 2
I think that 32-bit OS quote is genuine, but the 640k one is a well-known urban legend. There's no reason for Gates to have said it anyway, since IBM engineers are the ones who decided to split the 1024k offered by the 8088 into 640k for the OS and applications, and 384k for the BIOS, video, etc.

64Bit Vista Now.
By iwod on 1/22/2009 1:29:33 AM , Rating: 5
Microsoft should start pushing 64Bit Vista in OEM and Large PC Market Channel now. So that they are better prepared for Hardware Drivers and Software Developers get more testers.

Vista already has a bad name and no large amount of money is going to save it. Why not push Vista 64bit as testing ground.

That way Windows 7 64 bit will have a much better Start.

They should force Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer to use 64bit Vista as Default shipping now. Those 4 should be enough to cover 70 - 80% of Market alone.

RE: 64Bit Vista Now.
By Omega215D on 1/22/2009 5:38:58 AM , Rating: 2
HP, Gateway and others already ship 64 bit Vista on thier systems containing 4 or more GB of RAM. Not too sure about sony though.

RE: 64Bit Vista Now.
By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 9:16:18 AM , Rating: 2
Any idea if HP provides for a free or inexpensive way to upgrade to 64-bit? Wouldn't mind my 3GB laptop having 64-bit Vista instead of 32-bit.

By xii on 1/22/2009 12:49:54 PM , Rating: 1
Ok, so wait, what about CPUs? I know it is possible to run a 64-bit version with a 32-bit CPU but it's probably better to have a 64-bit CPU, no? Anyone, what 64-bit CPU are available right now? Are they worth it?

By icanhascpu on 1/22/2009 10:21:17 PM , Rating: 3
"what 64-bit CPU are available right now? Are they worth it?"

Are you serious?

By xii on 1/23/2009 1:54:38 AM , Rating: 2
Oh big deal, ok, so I did not follow CPUs closely lately and I did not look it up wiki, oooh, shame on me. Come on man

By Alien spoon on 2/4/2009 1:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, so wait, what about CPUs? I know it is possible to run a 64-bit version with a 32-bit CPU but it's probably better to have a 64-bit CPU, no? Anyone, what 64-bit CPU are available right now?

AFAIK, all current desktop CPUs are 64-bit. As somebody else mentioned earlier, there may be some 32-bit versions of the Intel Atom, but those aren't intended for desktop systems anyway.

As for compatibility: no, a 64-bit OS will not run on a 32-bit CPU. If you want to run a 64-bit OS, you need a 64-bit CPU.

32-bit CPU: will run 32-bit [or older] OS. Will not run 64-bit OS.
64-bit CPU: will run 64-bit, 32-bit, or older OS.

Off topic:
By Clauzii on 1/22/2009 1:13:18 AM , Rating: 1
I'm so tired of the voting system eating it. 3 times this week I've voted, It says I have, but no change in rating...

RE: Off topic:
By bodar on 1/22/2009 6:25:07 AM , Rating: 2
Did you post a comment in those threads? FYI, commenting nullifies all votes in that article.

RE: Off topic:
By TomZ on 1/22/2009 8:37:12 AM , Rating: 2
3 times this week I've voted, It says I have, but no change in rating...
Maybe somebody voted in the opposite direction as you at about the same time...?

RE: Off topic:
By Clauzii on 1/22/2009 10:49:18 AM , Rating: 2
Probably. Just seems odd three times in a row. Btw. no, it's not because I made a reply. I´ve been on AT/DT for Years now ;)

All I can say is...
By TomCorelis on 1/22/2009 2:18:10 AM , Rating: 5

32bit needs to die. WOW64 works very well. 64-bit has been out in some form for YEARS. Hardware manufacturers need to get with the program .

RE: All I can say is...
By ChronoReverse on 1/22/2009 2:48:54 AM , Rating: 2
My HP tabletpc with 4GB came with Vista64 =)

About time!
By dj LiTh on 1/22/2009 12:08:44 AM , Rating: 5
This has been a long time coming. With Vista, even the naysayers can agree i think that it was a teething tool for the 64bit switch. Microsoft has learned its lessons from it and is now more involved in pushing 64bit drivers for the Windows 7 release. What needs to happend next is more 64bit applications now.

Another decade, another shift
By Buspar on 1/22/2009 12:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone else remember the shift from 16 to 32 bit computing? Ah, those were the days. I'm glad 64-bit computing is ready for prime time.

RE: Another decade, another shift
By Motley on 2/3/2009 9:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
I remember the huge performance increase that Windows 3.1 got when they started adding 32-bit support (the hard disk manufacturers), and then was rolled into the OS in Windows 3.11.

By Kary on 1/22/2009 12:56:43 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone know if Windows 7 64bit is going to run 16 bit programs (I haven't set it up and tested yet)?

No, I'm not trying to run Pacman or anything, stupid 16 bit installer for Oracle kills me on 64bit systems...guess I could just rewrite the installer with a script but that's probably going to be a pain with Oracle (only had 1 - 64bit system come through and I just forced them to run through a Terminal Server).

32bit has seen it's time come and go, but unfortunately there are still some programs that, even though they weren't written this century, businesses are going to hold onto running 16 bit installers (not to mension I really did like Pacman :)

WOW64 works great...WOW32 works great...could WOW64 run WOW32?

RE: 16-BIT
By TomCorelis on 1/22/2009 1:12:20 PM , Rating: 2
AFAIK 64-bit versions of Windows dropped 16-bit support.

The Majority
By JonnyDough on 1/22/2009 7:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
The majority of XP users should have been 64-bit. XP Pro x64 has 32 bit capability for programs, device drivers were where it got hit. The few programs that got errors on XP x64 could have been fixed. It's sad that it took a beta called Vista to get the show on the road. Hopefully we'll see the end of 32-bit computing before long.

RE: The Majority
By Belard on 1/23/2009 5:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
No. When XP first hit the market, 512mb was upper end. And when Vista came out, a typical high end XP box in the store had 1GB of RAM... some with 2GB. So no, 64bit wasn't important for the home user.

Even today, only a few games can make use of 2GB or more RAM. XP64bit was never as good as 32bit XP... the market wasn't driving it. UNlike Vista which drove demand for more memory and 64bit because of its resource issues. So now that many Vista users have 4~6GB of RAM, there is a need for 64bit.

A bit late
By Screwballl on 1/22/2009 12:08:16 AM , Rating: 1
this should have been their aim with Vista... oh well better late than never...

RE: A bit late
By Belard on 1/23/2009 5:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
If vista was straight 64bit, it'd be more a disaster than it currently is. Think of vista as an unplanned public beta OS that MS charged money for.(Win7 should be sold as a discount) Win7 should/will be better we default 64bit.

Why bother with 32bit anyways?
By Belard on 1/22/2009 2:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
In the article... it is said that 64bit Vista is adopting faster than 32bit vista. Hmmm.. oh yeah, Vista is a resource hog that SHOULD and NEED 4GB to run good. 2GB for a low-end system. HPaq is selling PCs with 3~4GB of RAM with 64bit Vista.

So why bother with Win7 with 32bit at all? If there are compatiblity issues (as there are with Vista) - then many of those users are going to have to continue with WinXP until the software is updated (if ever) as they are now.

Its about 9 or so months before Win7 hits the streets. 64bit Vista support is already very strong... memory is dirt cheap. Save the headache of SKUs, inventory, and having a user to require a reinstallation by NOT bother with 32bit. Win7 should be (hopefully) faster, better and easier than Vista (so far, it sounds like it is)... so even if its less of a resource hog, it'll need the memory anyways.

Win7 should come in 3 versions... simply things.
Home : 1 CPU, Media center
Business : 1 CPU, networking and business type tools
Pro : 1 CPU, combo of above. (Ultimate... not so good name)
Advanced: 4 CPU, sambe as Pro - but with Multi-CPU support.

And there should be OEM and Retail versions only. No Upgrade versions. The retail can be used as upgrade or end-user system build. Less SKU, less confusion, easier system restoring/rebuilding due to upgrade, virus recovery or hardware failure. So that an end-user doesn't need to find the exact correct CD or buy another if its lost/damage or reinstall an older OS first, etc. Just make like easier.

Pricing... Economy is kinda sucky, in case nobody noticed - so the price needs to be lower. And without the "upgrade" version, you save inventory, shelf space, SKU and grey market in which people buy OEM version for their self builds.

Home: $75~100 ( No basic / Premo versions )
Business: $150
Pro: $200
Advanced: $300

No 32bit version... As badly as Vista is doing, the positive thing it did was to start the transition into 64bit because of its memory eating issues. 64bit Support for XP was rarely needed.

Now, I'm NOT saying that Win7 shouldn't support 32bit at all, since many applications are not 64bit. But that it cannot be purchased/installed in a pure 32bit version.

Then in 2~4 years after Win7, the next OS can drop all 32bit support.

By 460cidpower on 1/22/2009 9:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
WTF? Why is there even going to be a 32 bit version available? This is 2009! This is Windows 7 for crying out loud! Every computer capable of running Windows 7 has 64 bit support! Use it!

By plonk420 on 1/22/2009 12:56:25 AM , Rating: 1
i'll believe it when i see it.

By garbageacc3 on 1/22/09, Rating: -1
By Aquila76 on 1/22/2009 12:53:56 AM , Rating: 3
The article and excerpt above state it will have 32-bit compatibility.

The next major Windows revision after it will be 64-bit native, running 32-bit applications through the use of a compatibility layer.

By Baov on 1/22/2009 2:01:15 AM , Rating: 5
This sucks! What about REEEEEAAAAAAAAAALLY old games that run in 16bit DOS?

By sliderule on 1/22/2009 2:34:27 AM , Rating: 3
If I can't play Spacewar! I'll be pissed!!111one

By StevoLincolnite on 1/22/2009 4:43:38 AM , Rating: 2
Get on old rig going, I did with Windows 98 and SLI Voodoo 2's so I can play the old classics in Glide. ;)

By probedb on 1/22/2009 5:02:50 AM , Rating: 2
Well seeing I can get BBC Micro emulators I'm sure someone will sort something for ye olde DOS games.

By freeagle on 1/22/2009 6:55:39 AM , Rating: 5
How about DOSBox?

By ADDAvenger on 1/22/2009 12:41:27 PM , Rating: 1
I use DosBox on my Vista64 laptop, the only catch is DoxBox still uses IPX for multiplayer and Vista finally did away with that protocol

By The0ne on 1/22/2009 1:12:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, people really need to research more and instead of setting up an old pc, run DOSbox or something similar. WINE for linux, etc.

And since PCs are faster, in general specifications, you can run VMs and run your games there too :)

By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 8:17:11 AM , Rating: 2
So run a virtual machine with 32-bit XP install.

I'm glad they're finally getting rid of old legacy code for the sake of progress.

By bobsmith1492 on 1/22/2009 8:48:19 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I have to do... to play my games of "Stars!" Unfortunately I also have 16-bit engineering software (Eagle circuit and board layout) that, while it runs on Vista 64, renders super-slow when panning and zooming. :(

By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 9:11:13 AM , Rating: 2
You can only cater to the lowest common denominator for so long before it isn't worth the effort.

Unless you're the government that is.

By mindless1 on 1/22/2009 11:02:08 AM , Rating: 2
Except that when it comes to 32bit OS, that is about 90% of the planet if not more. Only enthusiasts and professionals running workstation like loads care anything about 64bit, the rest of the population might have bought a system with 64bit OS but only 'cuz it came from HP or Dell that way.

Yes it's time to put more support into 64bit OS/drivers, but no we shouldn't drop 32bit support, that'd be stupid when it's the vast majority of PCs on earth.

Fact is, it just doesn't require 4GB of memory, nor even 2GB, to do the tasks most people do on a PC. Somehow this basic fact gets lost in the all the noise. There should be, and will be, a period of transition as there has always been in the past with other tech, because those with cooler heads realize what I do.

By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 12:05:57 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say running a 32-bit OS was the lowest common denominator. I said running a PC that can't run a 64-bit OS is. The vast majority of PCs out there have a 64-bit capable processor.

And if you don't, you merely don't upgrade your OS. Likely you wouldn't anyway since your older hardware wouldn't be able to handle the new OS.

By mindless1 on 1/23/2009 11:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think most who use 32bit should upgrade their OS, and yet some do, and since Vista has a 32bit version and Win7 is for all reasonable intents a WinME version of Vista, it should be a matter of announcing an end-of-like support cycle for 32bit, let them announce years ahead of time to give businesses due warning.

By Etern205 on 1/22/2009 6:12:54 PM , Rating: 2
Just setup a virutal machine and you can play your old 16bit games from there, with Win98 and run from there.

By Lord 666 on 1/22/2009 4:51:44 AM , Rating: 2
Its not only games... Cisco VPN software client is 32bit only as well and will not work at all in Windows on Windows mode.

Cisco's current work around is to use the SSL Anyconnect version or use a hardware ASA to ASA firewall. Thats a tough sell for several clients.

By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/22/2009 7:09:03 AM , Rating: 3
We use the same Cisco VPN here at work Lord, but quite frankly thats a failure of Cisco to support the market place. We're already running against the 32-bit limit on many of our desktop systems here in the office and would gladly switch to 64-bit if it wasn't for a few companies that don't see the need to release a 32-bit client/driver. I think the only thing holding back the Cisco VPN client is the 32-bit DME driver that gets loaded with it.

By Bateluer on 1/22/2009 8:29:07 AM , Rating: 2
We're in the same boat here. I have to have a separate, 32 bit machine, to run the Cisco VPN client in order to accomplish any work tasks from outside the office.

I have a few of those machines at the moment, but this is definitely a failure of Cisco to support the market properly.

By gamerk2 on 1/22/2009 10:13:36 AM , Rating: 2
Hence, the reason why everyone should have saved their 98 SE disks; i did, so I have my 16-bit OS running on a virtual machine.

By System48 on 1/22/2009 10:15:54 AM , Rating: 2
I found it easier to run an XP VM for anything I use that's not 64-bit compatible. It’s still annoying but better than having a second box just for 32-bit apps.

By gmyx on 1/22/2009 7:46:35 AM , Rating: 2
It's in there right now. XP (I don't know about Vista 32 bit) have wow (windows on windows) that support running 16bit apps on 32 bit arch. On the 64bit versions, they have wow32. Same principal. Not the Program Files (x86) and system32 (I think) folders.

16 bit dies with the transition to 64 bit. Use a VM or DosBox

By Donovan on 1/22/2009 12:00:11 PM , Rating: 2
It would be nice to have limited 16-bit WOW support if only for the 16-bit installer stubs used by some older programs. I had a game from late 2000 (No One Lives Forever) which installs and runs perfectly under Vista 64 but the "real" installation program is extracted and launched by a 16-bit stub program. I had to start the installer on a 32-bit XP machine, grab the files from the temp folder, and copy them over to the Vista machine to install. It's not a big deal, but I imagine most people will simply give up without realizing there is a workaround.

I imagine the installer stubs don't need access to the registry, Program Files, or any serious graphics/sound libraries, so even a very limited amount of 16-bit support would enable them to run.

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