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Friday, September 7, 2007

Vista: 64-bit or 32-bit Version? (x64 vs x86)

Updated: October 2008-Bugs and lack of apps plague 64-bit users

Many potential users of the 64-bit version of Vista are reluctant to make any OS changes after getting burned previously by 32-bit Vista. All versions of Vista have serious compatibility glitches, including problems with Office 2007, but the 64-bit release also suffers from a lack of applications written to take advantage of that version's ability to address more than 4GB of RAM. Complaints including but limited to what users view as important software that doesn't run under 64-bit Vista. On the list of software that users say is missing in action is a 64-bit version of Adobe's popular Flash player, Office 2007, which comes only in a 32-bit edition and ACT, a fairly popular contact-management program, will not work in 64-bit. Many popular third-party applications, such as Yahoo Music Jukebox Plus have bugs and incompatibilities abound.

Vince Heiker, a retired IT executive in the Dallas area cites working amongst the problems is "a jerky mouse cursor" that interprets mouse clicks in one spot on the screen as an action on a different spot. Detrimental particularly if you're a day trade where a click on the wrong spot can cost serious money. Heiker isolated the cause: the 64-bit version of Vista Ultimate failed to remove old device drivers. He discussed the problem with Microsoft support staff, but he says they could provide no solution. Heiker finally resorted to reinstall Vista to get rid of the hardware drivers. Another glitch Heiker continues to confront is his 64-bit Vista PC has accumulated some 23 million Registry entries with no solution to it by Microsoft support. Apparently, a Registry entry is made each time a 32-bit application tries to update the Vista-64 Registry ... duplicating Registry entries a huge number of times.

Today, there are 64-bit editions of both Windows XP and Vista — and there will also be 64-bit editions of Windows 7 when it ships in 2009 or 2010. The question is: When 64-bit computers become the norm for desktops, will all the software pieces be in place? Recast VIA on "Bugs and lack of apps plague 64-bit users"By Stuart J. Johnston.

Vista: 64-bit or 32-bit Version? (x64 vs x86)

For those with 64-bit processors, it seems obvious that installing the x64 version of vista would be ideal. The x64 version has increased security based around the 64-bit structure and programs compiled for 64-bit processors will likely run faster.

Downside of Vista x64 on a 64-bit system
1. Most hardware does not currently have 64-bit drivers.
2. In Vista x64, any driver that is not properly signed will not be able to enter the kernel and will fail to load.
3. Vista x64 currently does not backward support most x86 (32-bit) drivers.
4. Vista x64 does not support 16-bit software. 5. Very little x64 software currently exists.

Most users with 64-bit hardware should install the 32-bit (x86) version of Vista.
The performance gains promised by 64-bit will not be seen for years until 64-bit compiled versions of software is the norm.

Excerpt from Paul Thurrott page:-

As with Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, the various Windows Vista x64 versions represent a compromise of sorts and are, thus, not necessarily a good choice for most Windows users ... Yet. On the positive side, the x64 versions of Windows Vista are more secure and reliable than the 32-bit versions. The also support enormous amounts of system memory, which can be important in markets such as digital content creation, engineering, and even gaming. On the other hand, the x64 versions are also far less compatible than their predecessors, with both hardware devices and software, and these incompatibilities will ultimately make the x64 Vista versions less attractive to most users. Within the next few years, most Windows users will almost certainly move to x64-based PCs. But I'm guessing that the 32-bit versions of Vista will dominate throughout this product's lifetime because of compatibility issues. Think of Vista as the "line in the sand" for the x64 platform on the client: Post-Vista, it's likely that most compatibility issues will be resolved or rendered moot by new hardware and software versions that are more x64-savvy. By that time, migrating to x64 will be a no-brainer, and hopefully Microsoft will support upgrading 32-bit Vista versions to future 64-bit Windows versions.

--Paul Thurrott



How? See Here

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