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Windows 7: 64 bit restrictions?

20 May 2011   #1

Windows 7
64 bit restrictions?

A friend purchased a new computer with the 64 bit OS. I remember there used to be big driver compatibility problems with a 64 vs. 32 bit OS. Is this still the case or has the OS been out long enough to resolve the problem?

Also, it is my understanding that any program that runs on 32 bit will run on 64 bit, just not the reverse?

Lastly, are there any other considerations to keep in mind?



My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2011   #2

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit

Actually, it's not a problem with the 64bit OS, it is a problem with 3rd party dev's, not the OS.

Yes, 32bit apps will run on 64bit, but it all depends on if they were coded properly, not all of them will, But this is not an OS issue normally, most of the time (majority really) it is the app coding.

64bit apps that are 64bit apps will not run on 32bit.

No, 64bit is great, but it all depends on what apps you wich to run, Yes, 3rd party dev's are catching up to 64bit and they better, I for one am hoping that Win8 will be 64bit only. Time to force the 64bit issue on 3rd party dev's.

To put this in perspective, I have win95 apps that will run on 64bit, and I have new apps that will not run on 64bit. Those dev's blame windows, but they have an upgraded app that does run on 64bit, so I honestly believe they are lying about it being a windows issue and not theirs, just too lazy to code properly, and they don't see the point in fixing the old software. Would rather you upgrade, there is more money in it, which is understandable, but own up to the fact that your orginal software was not coded for 64bit and stop blaming the OS.

Now, that is not to say there may not be some minor bugs in windows that could prevent a particular app from being coded to run properly, or cause problems, but truly, those are extremely few and far between.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

I bought a new computer with Windows 7 64-bit in February, wiped the hard drive to get rid of HP's bloatware and carried out a clean install.

Device manager was fully populated other than the HD TV tuner, but that was resolved with a driver download from HP.

All my older programs such as Nero 8 and Visual Studio 2008 run perfectly and the 64-bit version of Office 2010 performs very well as does the 64-bit version of Photoshop CS5.

Suffice to say, I haven't encountered any problems with the 64-bit platform that can't be resolved quickly.

The major benefit of course, is that my system can fully utilise the 8GB of RAM, unlike the limitation imposed by using the 32-bit version.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 May 2011   #4
Hopalong X

Windows7 Pro 64bit SP-1; Windows XP Pro 32bit

+1 Tepid
A lot of old software is never updated to work on Vista64 or Win7 32 or 64bit. Buy their new and improved software.

Also a lot of older programs will run in Compatibility mode. You can read up on that here.
Compatibility Mode

Win 7 64bit isn't just 64bit. Win7 is 64bit and 32bit or x86. Where the Win 7x86 is only 32bit.

I took the Snips to show you they are both on my Win7 64bit.

Attached Images
64 bit restrictions?-windows-64-32-1.png 64 bit restrictions?-windows-64-32.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2011   #5

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit

One last thing, make sure that there are 64bit drivers for your PC, you can try the 32bit drivers, they might work, but there might also be problems at some point. You would have to then trial and error it. If there are no 64bit drivers for your system, I recommend sticking with 32bit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 May 2011   #6

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Hi there
My take on this is a bit different

I'd install the 64 bit OS and keep an XP Virtual machine.

That way you could run approx 85% of your apps (seems about the % of popular apps that work on 64 bit W7 is around 85% of the most popular apps) and keep an XP Virtual Machine to run those apps that only work on 32 bit.

You'd only need to power on the VM when you want to run the 32 bit app. A small XP VM won't consume a lot of resources.

Go for something like vmware player (free) to create your VM.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 May 2011   #7

Windows 7

2 points in reply to the comments--

It's clear that my impression of 64 bit is stale--compatibility has come a long way and it's a good thing this event occurred so that I now have a better understanding.

That said, it also seems there's no consensus on the degree of increased compatibility. The last post eludes to 85% and an initial post claimed almost 100% of correctly written 32 bit software (is it true that 15% of commercially written 32 bit code is dodgy?).

If one were to get into trouble the virtual machine is a good point.

Lastly, a question. Just how much production gain is achieved with the 64 bit OS with an application written for same vs. the same application under a 32 bit OS?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 May 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Tepid View Post
, I for one am hoping that Win8 will be 64bit only. Time to force the 64bit issue on 3rd party dev's.
I don't share this same hope. With that said, I'm on 64bit Windows 7 and am not having any substantial problems. The only 1 piece of hardware I have without a driver is a scanner, and I simply connect that to an old spare WinXP box that is 32bit and scan with that computer. I could replace the scanner with a new model with a 64bit driver, but I don't use the scanner enough to justify that cost.

However, at work, our problems are with our CheckPoint VPN. See, this is a critical piece of software that our systems admins all use and we need it on our laptops to be able to connect via VPN and work remotely. Up until very recently, there was no 64bit client option available based on the physical VPN hardware we had at our office and the licensing we had. Therefore, this wasn't a problem with the checkpoint developers getting off their butts and writing a 64bit driver...but a situation where my employer would have to spend substantial $$'s to replace equipment. These are the more substantial situations that cannot be quickly rectified or just dropped when 64bit doesn't work.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by markg2 View Post
Lastly, a question. Just how much production gain is achieved with the 64 bit OS with an application written for same vs. the same application under a 32 bit OS?
64bit OS's and applications can offer improvements in calculation times and such with extremely large datasets. Some software like Microsoft SQL Server, or Microsoft Exchange server can benefit greatly from being native 64bit. In most home use scenarios, the 64bit versions of applications don't offer NOTICEABLE improvements in performance. They don't get worse....but they won't blow you away either with the speed at which they get things done.

I've seen people on this very forum, disappointed when they upgraded from 32bit to 64bit and were surprised to see that their experience wasn't a radical improvement.

The sole reason that I went 64bit, was because I had a need to run more than 4GB of RAM to support running virtual machines. 64bit was the only thing that allowed me to do this. Like I said, my experience is that everything I use works, except my scanner, and I can live with that.

Your best bet, is to load 64bit on something and try it and see how it works for you. If everything works, then stick with it. If you find 1/2 dozen things are substantially broken and you cannot easily switch them out to something else, then stick with 32bit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 May 2011   #9

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit

well the bottom line is,

The 64bit compatibility has gotten a lot better, but it is not perfect, you still need to make sure that your apps will run on 64bit system. But as stated, if you have Win7 pro or ultimate, you can use XP Mode (virtual machine) for those apps, they should run fine.

Or use Virtual Box or VMWare Player.

If I had to put a number on it today, there are probably about 5% to 10% of apps that may not work, or may have some issue running on 64bit. That number is a bit arbitrary, but the amount is not as high as it used to be.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 May 2011   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

x64 is more secure against Malware etc than x32
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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