Suddenly, 64-bit Windows is mainstream

In a new post over at ZDNet, I look at a surprising trend: an increasing number of new PCs being sold at retail have 64-bit versions of Windows Vista preinstalled. In fact, if my back-of-the-envelope calculations are correct, by this fall more than 50% of new PCs sold at retail are likely to have 64-bit editions of Vista preinstalled.

Read the rest here: Suddenly, 64-bit Windows is mainstream

When I configured a new notebook recently, I only had to ponder for a few seconds before deciding to go with Vista x64. In fact, right now I have three machines within arm’s reach running Vista x64. How about you?

17 thoughts on “Suddenly, 64-bit Windows is mainstream

  1. I don’t have any 64bit Vista machines. Mainly I don’t want to buy new software that will work on 64 bit machines. I don’t know if my current software will work or not. Is there a place to go to see if my 32 bit apps will be compatible? I currently have things like Office 2003 Pro, Dreamweaver MX 2002, Adobe Premiere Elements 4 and Photoshop 7 that, yes, most are all old but, they work just fine on 32bit Vista (interestingly I’ve been told that CS2 doesn’t work on Vista… then how am I running Photoshop 7?). If I have to buy new software, I’d rather stick with 32 for now.

    Everything else I’m fine with. I can get Firefox, iTunes, Live Photo Gallery, my messengers and SmartFTP all for 64bit and are all free, but it’s the ones I have to pay for that I’m worried about.

  2. In almost all cases, the only issues you may have with Vista 64 is related to drivers. If I am not mistaken, all drivers must be 64-bit or Vista 64 won’t install them.

  3. But a lot of drivers got moved into user-mode in Vista. I thought I’d have trouble with a virtual CD driver (MagicDisc), but no problem. Up popped the unsigned driver warning, click OK, and it works just fine.

    Run half my Vista machines as x64 now. Even ones with less than 4 GB of RAM, because I might want to add more at some point. Some stuff that does deep shell integration really needs native 64-bit — Console2, taskbar reshufflers, minimize to tray. Most of these tools are written by one guy, so the prevalence of x64 is a hopeful sign. No problems with mainstream apps that don’t integrate much into the shell.

  4. Thanks, Ed! That’s good to know. I just haven’t been studying up on 64 bit computing like I should have. I’ll probably make my next computer 64 bit then.

  5. I’ve been putting Windows x64 on anything with 4GB of memory or more for the past 12 months. Only issues have been with drivers and driver support has been steadily getting better.

  6. 2 64bit 3 32bit here. I would be converting my laptop and other desktop, but reinstalling everything makes it not really worth it for now(any ideas for making converting easier??). The only major problem with 64bit lies with HTPC/media center use. Most of the plugin development tends to heavily favor 32bit boxes(path names mainly). I started with 64bit there, but had to go back to 32bit for the netflix plugin and others.

  7. I’m running Vista Business x64 on my Dell Latitude D820.

    It generally runs fine but Dell are UNBELIEVABLY slow at putting drivers up on their download page. The video driver for the nVidia Quadro NVS 110M chipset is from January 2007, and we know how bad early Vista drivers from nVidia were.

    You can get around it by grabbing new drivers from and using their modded INF – while the drivers are unified, the INF file doesn’t contain the hardware detection strings for this card.

    There’s still no driver for the touchpad/stick, which finally led me to remove the blue rubber nipple from the touchstick, but I still have to be careful not to leave my spacebar thumb hovering over the pad which leads to accidental clicks. It’s annoying when suddenly the caret moves when typing, or a whole block of text gets selected and you accidentally overtype it.

  8. I took the plunge about 5 weeks ago. Found workarounds for the couple of driver issues I had. There are a few programs where shell integration does not work (the clipbar in ClipMate, some context menus in Explorer, etc.). That was a disappointing surprise, but not worth reverting over.

    Cory: All the Adobe stuff should work fine. I have 3 versions of Photoshop Elements and all 3 versions of Creative Suite installed under Vista 64. A few things had minor installation issues, most of which had documented solutions on

  9. I think I’ll just wait and perhaps get 64bit when windows 7 comes out =)

    I’m happy with 32bit vista atm

  10. I’ve been running Vista Ultimate 64-bit since it was released. I knew there’d growing pains with the drivers and some software compatibility issues, but I was willing to deal with it in order to have access to a full 4GB of memory. I was also hoping that in some small way, my system error reports could help in the migration effort.

    The driver issues went away over time, and there are only a handful of old apps or games that don’t run. It’s a rare day now that I bother booting from my XP partition (primarily to apply security updates). Especially now that they have Folding@Home clients that work under Vista 64-bit.

    Now let’s see those 64-bit apps.

  11. Small software-development business owner here: My home PC has been running 64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate for about two months, with no issues whatsoever. I use the PC as a media center system (with XBOX 360 extender) and general computing platform. Driver availability was fine, including ATI video drivers, Windows Mobile Device Center, camera support and so on. The only sticking point was the 64-bit Hauppage WinTV driver is still beta… but it works!

    At the office, we have four client PC’s running 32-bit Windows Vista Business, but we do a fair amount of virtual PC work, and are slowly upgrading the PC’s to 4 GB of memory. Next step is to install Windows Vista Business 64-bit on the clients. Server computer is already running 64-bit Windows Server 2008.

    How can we afford all that fancy new OS software? Ultimately, it came from a tip from Ed Bott himself: We joined Microsoft’s partner program and became and Action Pack subscriber. Around $300 per year gives you 10+ OS licenses, 10 Office licenses, server licenses… more Microsoft software than you can shake a stick at, and it’s great for testing out new technologies.

  12. I have been running 64Bit Vista Ultimate for about a year on an HP notebook. I cannot get print from Quicken to work. Printing from everything else works fine. I have been over this issue with Intuit several times without a solution. I believe this is a 64Bit issue since a friend can print from Quicken on 32Bit Vista just fine. Any fix for this?

    Bob Courts

  13. One machine here with Vista 64. It’s a test machine with Linux distros and XP Pro in a quad boot. It’s been really delightful and has me thinking that if subsequent Windows offerings (7 maybe?) offer 64-bit I will be looking that way.

    Just bought a new Dell XPS laptop with the 2.5 Intel core duo and am kicking myself that I didn’t go 64 on it.

    Off task but perhaps a help to others: Noticed that the Vista Home Premium won’t run Windows Virtual PC 2007 (ugh!!!), but Sun’s Virtual Box is great as a stand-in.

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