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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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RE: Makes sense
By Bateluer on 7/12/2010 10:19:23 AM , Rating: 3
Still a lot of high dollar 16 bit code out there too, lots of electrical engineering and machining applications/equipment are dependent on it. Sadly, but its a tough sell to convince a company to upgrade a multi-million dollar machine . . . even if its applications are 20 years behind the curve.

RE: Makes sense
By funkyd99 on 7/12/2010 11:31:29 AM , Rating: 3
The worst are old 32bit applications that use (even older) 16bit installers... The program would most likely run fine if only it could be installed!

RE: Makes sense
By martinrichards23 on 7/12/2010 12:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
Still a lot of high dollar 16 bit code out there too

That's a common thing for people to think, but I wonder why on earth someone using such old software would ever need to latest operating system anyway?

Its impossible that those old 16bit applications can be guaranteed to work even on 32bit windows vista/7. They could not have been designed for it.

If you have old software that you need, then you will need to carry on using an old operating system. Fact.

Just unplug it from the internet so it is secure!

RE: Makes sense
By Taft12 on 7/12/2010 2:25:50 PM , Rating: 2
Running an old OS disconnected from the internet all well and good, the problem is getting hardware with driver support of that old operating system.

RE: Makes sense
By delphinus100 on 7/12/2010 5:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
That's a common thing for people to think, but I wonder why on earth someone using such old software would ever need to latest operating system anyway?

Because we need/want the new stuff too, but separate computers aren't affordable or practical for those few 16-bit apps that one may still use.

I knew going in that they could not work here, but there are at least two, maybe three 16 bit apps (for which there are no 32-bit versions) that I would have on my Vista-64 laptop, if I could. However, I don't want them nearly enough for a separate laptop with XP or earlier.

I do miss Hyperterminal as well, but that's not a 16-bit issue...

RE: Makes sense
By The0ne on 7/12/2010 3:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
It's sad but true of engineering apps :( You figure they could make good use of the latest OS, 64bit, memory, etc. but no, they hardly ever change. At least I haven't encountered any major issues running them in a VM.

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