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Windows 7's 64-bit adoption contrasts sharply with lackluster Windows Vista 64-bit adoption

With the rise of memory hungry applications like browsers with rich web content, DirectX 11/OpenGL video games, and an ever expanding wealth of business software, the time for 64-bit software is obviously now.  Some companies -- like Apple -- heeded the call early.  Others like Adobe (Flash), have yet to make a move on many flagship products.  But Microsoft may just convince those laggards to act, with the success of Windows 7 64-bit edition.

Early numbers from video game download service Valve indicated Windows 7 64-bit adoption to be quite high.  On Thursday, Microsoft blogger Brandon LeBlanc confirmed these numbers, reporting that as of June 2010 46 percent of Windows 7 installs were 64-bit.  This number is dramatically high, when compared to Windows Vista, which had only 11 percent 64-bit installs, or Windows XP, which had less than 1 percent 64-bit installs.

The biggest advantage of the leap to 64-bit is the increase in the amount of addressable memory.  32-bit systems can only address up to 4 GB.  With 64-bit Windows 7 up to 192 GB of memory is addressable.

One key factor to adoption was Microsoft's insistence that hardware partners make their devices compatible with the 64-bit version of Windows 7.  Writes LeBlanc:

Through the Windows Logo Program (the “Compatible with Windows 7" logo today), hardware partners are required to develop 64-bit drivers for their devices and software partners are required to have their applications compatible with 64-bit Windows 7. This groundwork was laid with the Windows Logo Program for Windows Vista and carries through to today with Windows 7. 

Businesses are loving Windows 7 64-bit -- in fact Gartner predicts that by 2014 75 percent of business PCs will be running a 64-bit edition of Windows.  Intel, which opted out of the "Vista experience", recently completed a massive adoption [PDF] of 64-bit Windows 7 and has loved the results thus far.

Windows 7 is the fastest-selling operating system in world history.  Even as Windows 7 looks to pass Windows XP to become the 
best-selling operating system in history, Microsoft is reportedly hard at work on Windows 8, which may see a 2011 release.  The company is also preparing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 for public consumption.

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I am surprised that it is not higher
By troysavary on 7/12/2010 9:11:26 AM , Rating: 2
Every system I see on sale around here, even the cheapo compaqs and acers, have 64 bit.

By Nutzo on 7/12/2010 11:09:19 AM , Rating: 2
Even my <$400 Acer Laptop (11.6 screen, 1.3Ghz dual core) came with Windows 7 64 bit.

Unless you have some hardware/software that just won't run under 64-bit, and can't be replaced, there's no reason not to go 64-bit.

Last year none of my other home systems where 64-bit capable. This finally gave me the excuse to rebuild them (beside the fact they where getting way to slow). Household should be all 64-bit be the end of summer.

By funkyd99 on 7/12/2010 11:44:17 AM , Rating: 2
Dell is still behind the curve... even their mid-range Latitudes still come with Win7 32bit by default, and many times it's impossible to customize to 64bit without talking to a sales rep.

Years ago, the only way to get Vista 64bit on a Dell workstation was to find their secret 64bit landing page (or talk to a rep)... looks like things haven't changed much, as far as their business site goes.

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