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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 marvdmartian on 7/12/2010 10:27:00 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, my best (worst) example was a friend of a friend who asked if I could speed up their system. They brought it over, and the first thing I noticed were the system specs:
Compaq (ugh) with a 1.3GHz Athlon cpu (not even an XP+?), 512mb of PC133 ram (one slot of 2 taken up), and running Vista, with that wonderful Vista compatible sticker on the outside of the case.

That thing should have never been allowed to run Vista. And whoever at Compaq that thought that it could should have been taken out back and SHOT!

Oh, and it didn't help that this person had a task bar that took up about HALF of the width of the screen, when opened up! I kindly suggested that they put a copy of XP operating system on that computer, or just go out and buy a new one, and put that one out of it's misery.

RE: Makes sense
By mmntech on 7/12/2010 11:03:27 AM , Rating: 2
The electronics industry has a hard time differentiating "capable" and "ready". They tried the same crap with HDTVs. It's vague language that confuses the heck out of consumers.

There was even a lawsuit over it as many computers labelled "Vista Capable" could only run Basic Edition. Some computers being sold with the sticker couldn't even run that at acceptable speeds.

Vista was a resource hog and that was always its problem. Windows 7 largely fixed that.

RE: Makes sense
By MrWho on 7/12/2010 12:08:45 PM , Rating: 3
It's true, but IMHO, Vista was more a marketing failure than a technical one. Let me enumerate:

- Price
- System Requirements (compared to XP)
- Lock DirectX10 to it (I'm not convinced it couldn't be done on XP)
- Stickers mentioned above - (Un)Capable vs Ready
- Development time
- Pre-launch hype

As system requirements go, 7 didn't improve anything - MS just had to make sure they didn't go up compared to Vista so it could be a success.

RE: Makes sense
By Nutzo on 7/12/2010 12:13:38 PM , Rating: 3
Actually Window 7 did lower memory usage over Vista and improved graphics performance.

Microsoft has done away with the double buffering in Vista, and this is the reason why Windows 7 will actually deliver a superior performance. “It's basically because we're letting the video card do its job in managing the memory for those windows,” DeVaan stated, with Anguilo adding, “even though we're using less memory we actually have a faster graphics system going on Win 7”.

RE: Makes sense
By Obujuwami on 7/12/2010 12:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and I have a real wold example of this:

I was running the RC back in September/October as a VM to see what Win 7 really was compared to Vista. My system wasn't all that impressive: X2 4600, 2GB RAM, 6800GTS. I dedicated half my RAM and half my CPU, and Win 7 RC was running as fast as XP was. TBH, that one experiment is what caused me to back Windows 7 100% from RC forward.

I work in IT, and yes Win7 64-bit does pose a slight problem for my users, but overall it is the upgrade they needed at the perfect time.

RE: Makes sense
By Taft12 on 7/12/2010 2:28:36 PM , Rating: 3
How the hell did a Vista-capable sticker get on the case of a PC whose guts (going by the memory and CPU) date back to ~2001???

RE: Makes sense
By The0ne on 7/12/2010 3:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
Decisions made by people called "Managers" or someone higher up. Happens all the time.

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