64-bit Windows Adoption

by Donald Burnett

Granted there are still more 32-bit PCs out there than 64-bit machines. However, if you go out and buy a new PC it will most likely have a 64-bit processor. That doesn’t mean though you’ll get a 64-bit OS out of the box, you’ll probably get 32-bit home premium then have to upgrade to Ultimate and order the x64 media.

What a stumbling block this is to 64-bit adoption. Already 64-bit support in drivers are limited and this isn’t necessarily getting better. Though a lot of new machines have optional x64 downloads but usually not fully supporting everything that is present hardware wise in the machine.

This while we wait for vendors to add support. Most aren’t and won’t until they are forced to. “Vista Compatible” doesn’t even mean that it supports x64 Vista.

However if you want a full 64-bit OS, all the time just by a Mac with Apple’s OSX. The PC market is a little different than the Mac because Apple only has to support it’s own specific machine configurations.

I would say that most people buying the new Windows Vista installed machines probably don’t even know about the x64 option or why they should consider it.

x64 provides a lot of advantages, including addressing way more memory, better multi-threading support and applications written to support it just fly. But it’s still being treated like a “wicked stepchild”.

Microsoft needs to consider working differently with their hardware partners like HP, Dell, and Gateway to offer the hardware with all of it’s extended benefits. They also need to be encouraging in a more improved way the creation and adoption of x64 drivers. We could all see benefits. Now that presents a support cost to the hardware folks, but seeing a machine not doing all it could is disappointing.

Will we see an x64 version of Office, or Adobe’s Creative Suite 3 including Photoshop ? My guess is no, and there might not be a great need. I think Adobe applications would benefit from 64-bit Windows versions, but they probably will stick it to Windows, and only offer a 32-bit version making the Apple Mac version the only true 64-bit version out there.

If you do want a program that operates in true 64-bit mode for Paint, that’s multi-threaded and pretty cool you can download one for free. It’s called Paint.net and it rocks. Rick Brewster over at MSDN Blogs has an entry on benchmarking 64-bit Paint.net vs 32-bit Paint.net..

If you want to know more please visit http://www.getpaint.net

How can we change things, we need to lobby the companies for x64 versions that really take advantage of the hardware ?  So far only a lot of 3d rendering software really supports x64 and the Sonar music program was introduced with x64 support..

Let’s leave 32-bit Windows behind.. it’s time..


Now for something completely different..

Microsoft did something really cool this week and released Virtual PC 2007 for free. Get it here! So if you have say an old no longer supported 16 bit program (like say you love an old 16-bit Windows program like AutoDesk Animator Studio 1.1) that you goof with all the time doesn’t work anymore and will never be updated. Well Virtual PC is your answer. There is also an IE 7 readiness kit out there that includes an IE 6 XP image that you can use to test your websites out for IE 6 compatibility that runs just the IE 6 browser inside of a virtual PC image. You can probably find that from Googling Microsoft. I also use it to run AROS (i386 native, in a Window with full networking support). AROS is a free re-implementation of AmigaOS version 3.x..

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2 Comments on “64-bit Windows Adoption”

  1. hans Says:

    Mac oSX is NOT a real 64 bit system , still true with tiger. Every program with grapics interface is still 32 bit. please inform yourself…

  2. Don Burnett Says:

    That’s kinda interesting because I have talked to a Cocoa developer and he tells me differently and Apple’s ads say differently. Can you talk more about this.. I’d like to hear more..

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