Vista x86 and x64 on a single DVD?

My monthly MSDN delivery arrived today, and I did a double-take when I saw one green-bordered DVD. It’s labeled "Windows Vista, with Service Pack 1 (x64 and x86) (English)."

And sure enough, when I inserted the disk into a nearby PC and stepped through the first few installer steps, I reached this screen:


Look closely and you’ll see an assortment of x86 and x64 versions, all on the same media. That option certainly isn’t available with any of the Vista retail or OEM media I’ve seen in the past. With Vista Ultimate, you get two DVDs in the package, one x86 and the other x64. With other editions, you get x86 media (or x64, if that’s the one you ordered) and have to ask Microsoft to mail you the other media.

I’m completely sold on Vista x64 these days. It’s fast and driver support issues have been nonexistent for me (your mileage may vary, of course). I hope this is a trend and that x64 will become easier to find and install in the future.

Has anyone else seen any of these hybrid disks before?

14 thoughts on “Vista x86 and x64 on a single DVD?

  1. I’ve not noticed that ISO available on TechNet Plus for download (although admittedly, I’ve not looked all that closely) … must be MSDN only …

    All the more reason for me to resubscribe to MSDN …. 😉

  2. It’s listed as Disc 4455, May 2008. And yes, I don’t see it for download either, only as a physical disk as part of the regular DVD shipment. It might be a dual-layer disk, because Windows Explorer reports its size as 5.7 GB or so…

  3. The only reason I’m not using x64 right now is because I have an antiquated scanner and printer, neither of which have 64-bit drivers. I was sort of hoping MS might be able to come up with some kind of VM-based driver-virtualization subsystem, but I guess that’s kind of out of the question?

  4. x64 has been fine for me. The only driver issue I had was with my D-Link wireless card; but that was fixed through Windows Update (but it meant I first had to have my computer plugged in via wired). Also, Texas Insturments doesn’t have drivers for their calculators in x64; which is kind of annoying

    Besides that; its all been fine

  5. I noticed that this MSDN DVD also includes Windows Vista Starter Edition which is not available for download from MSDN or TechNet. There have been a few subscribers who have been requesting this Vista edition.

  6. Yeah must be a DVD-DL then. Ed I think you should consider writing something on the whole MSDN debacle of them not treating their users right. The situation with both Vista SP1 and XP SP3. A whole lot of users have been saying they will not re-new their subscription (I realize 90% of them are probably all talk). Anyway just a suggestion. 🙂

    In reply to Serdar about his driver issues on x64, there is one (admittedly dodgy) workaround. If you have VMWare or a virtual machine program that supports USB then you can install XP (x86) in the VM and point your scanner and printer to that. You could even run it in the background and share your printer over the virtual network.

  7. Ed,

    I have Vista Ultimate and am debating on reinstalling x64 instead. I double checked and have drivers available for everything in my system. Is there a reference that’s current about the pros and cons of x64? Some of the articles I read are pretty out of date since the early days of vista and current vista sp1…


  8. Dan, incredibly enough, I was thinking about doing just that. I’m pretty sure I have a spare license I can use for XP in such a case, too.

  9. I have been running Ultimate 64 since RC1 with no significant driver issues. Decided early on to go x64 because that is where Microsoft put most of the real new security code.

    Only real issue is that it defaults to using the 32 bit IE7 instead of the 64 bit IE7. I suspect the reason behind that is that most plugins for IE7 don’t exist for the x64 version including Microsoft’s own Silverlight. But the x64 version of IE7 is noticably faster, don’t know if it is really the browser being faster or the lack of plugins that makes it faster.

  10. Ben –
    I’m running Vista x64 Ultimate and Home Premuim with no problems. Early on drivers were a real issue but driver availability is mostly a non-issue now. I’m running Vista on 2 machines which I built myself. If you are connected to the internet during installation Vista finds most drivers and installs them automatically. I recommend installing the latest bios for your system prior to installation. I’m one of the “silent majority” that finds Vista a great experience. Join us!

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