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64 Bit OS - When to Switch ?

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As worstje says, I think it's all about memory.  With the 32 bit versions you are limited to about 3gb of memory.
With memory as cheap as it is, using 4gb, 8gb, and greater amounts of memory is starting to become standard -- and for that you really need a 64bit OS.

So if you are building a new machine, go with 64bit OS, no doubt about it.  Unless you know for sure there is some legacy hardware you are using that isn't supported and you refuse to upgrade the hardware.

If it's an old machine whose memory is going to stay < 4gb, don't worry about it.

Note: My understanding of the memory limits in windows is very superficial -- if others on this thread say there are memory limitations with 64bit Windows they would know better than me.

@vlastimil I disagree that this is a actual issue affecting many end users.

I'd say the time to switch was about 5 years ago when WinXP x64 came :D That's when I switched.-Eóin (July 07, 2011, 07:42 PM)
--- End quote ---
That release was in the same league as the Win32 subsystem on Windows 3.11: Total crap, with near to none support from applications or drivers.
It's sister-release Windows Server 2003 x64 edition was a little better (read: less worst) as there was actual hardware-driver support from the larger (server) vendors, but generic consumer-stuff was, as to be expected, a total disaster.

Starting with Vista x64/Server 2008 x64 this has dramatically changed, even though the first year after it's release there where a lot of issues with hardware-drivers, but ever since then it only has become a lot better. Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 is near default in x64 release on new hardware, even with the local discounters, IMHO meaning Windows x64 is ready for prime-time.

Don't know, and have never seen, the issues vlastimil is talking about, but AFAIK that's a configurable item, but deeply hidden in the registry (don't have a link to MSDN available where I am now), and it's not stopping me from pushing everybody to x64 where possible. If Microsoft wants to go there it's most likely the (unavoidable) future :-\

Carol Haynes:
No problems here with Windows 7 64-bit and I run a fair amount of stuff that was specifically written for Windows XP 32-bit (I would say 75% of my programs are installed as 32-bit apps).

The only compatibility issues I have come across are clients with ancient peripherals (usually printers and scanners).

To me the biggest advantage is you can stuff in as much memory as you like and have your system running without needing a pagefile. With 16Gb I can have as many applications loaded as I like and still pop in and play the odd game without having to make use of a page file. Certainly would not contemplate swapping back to 32 bit.

The only thing I feel I am missing is an SSD but I am waiting until I can buy at least 521Mb at a reasonable price.

As an intensive VMWare Workstation user, I'm really glad my new system has 16 GB and an i7 2600 ;D and running Win7 x64 'ofcourse' :tellme:


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