Limitations on Running 32-Bit Windows Apps in 64-Bit Windows Vista?

Discussion in 'Windows Vista General Discussion' started by Will, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. Will

    Will Guest

    In general, what limitations are there in running 32-bit applications from
    the 64-bit version of Windows Vista? I read several places that the 64-bit
    version appears to have problems working with many of the 32-bit
    applications. If the support for 32 bit were completely seamless, then why
    wouldn't someone run the 64-bit version, since it gives you the potential to
    grow memory significantly.
    Will, Jun 27, 2006
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  2. Will

    Zapper Guest

    It will not run the 16 bit apps. It will not have as complete driver

    Vista will be the first major(any?) OS which ships a 64 bit version in the
    standard box, and it is the first major release when 64 bit processors are
    cheap enough for the average person to have in their machines.

    Many motherboards will not support the larger memory out of the box. The
    real large memory chips are still quite expensive..
    Zapper, Jun 27, 2006
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  3. 32-bits apps run in a Windows on Windows64 emulation mode. The emulation is
    very thin and you can read about it at

    Any legacy app still using any 16-bit components, including the installer,
    will not work on any x64 OS. This is because an x64 OS must use 32
    significant bits. Second any 32-bit app with a 32-bit device driver cannot
    work because all device drivers have to be 64-bit.

    A lot of popular software like cd/dvd burning software, utilities with
    scanners, packet writing software and so on have to be updated for a 64-bit
    target. Other software may have issues due the way they were written.
    Having said that, most productivity apps and games do run and perform
    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 27, 2006
  4. Actually, XP Pro x64 and quite a few Linux 64-bit systems have been out
    there for a year.

    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 27, 2006
  5. Will

    Will Guest

    They should have made Vista 64-bit only. It would have been one year of
    serious pain but would have resulted in a much faster transition to 64-bit,
    and we would all enjoy the benefits of that within a year. Most users are
    probably going to get new hardware and video cards to run Vista anyway,
    since it is such a memory pig and has such high end graphic requirements.
    Most systems being sold today have 64-bit as a standard feature in the
    processor. By releasing both versions, 90% of all users will retreat to
    the 32-bit version in order to get solid device drivers, which just
    fractures the market and delays indefinitely the transition to 64-bit.
    Will, Jun 27, 2006
  6. Will

    Will Guest

    And of course they won't update for 64-bit because users will all be buying
    32-bit, because all of the device drivers and applications are written for
    32-bit. Catch 22.
    Will, Jun 27, 2006
  7. Why should Vista only be 64bits? Hundreds of millions of computers are
    capable of running 32bit Vista but not 64bit. Tens of millions can run it
    with Glass. Why should those users be told they cannot upgrade to Vista
    just because 64bit computers are a good idea?

    What does "retreat to the 32-bit version" mean? They are using 32-bit now
    so what's to retreat to? Who are we to tell anybody that the computer they
    have now is not acceptible?

    Are we to become the architecture police?
    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 27, 2006
  8. Its their choice.

    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 27, 2006
  9. As an aside, I am running XP Pro SP2 natively on my Mac. It has a Glass
    capable video adaptor and if I want to I can upgrade to Vista next year.
    Are you telling me that I should not be allowed to do this just because the
    core duo processor in my computer is 32bit?
    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 27, 2006
  10. Will

    Will Guest

    From Microsoft's point of view, it is expensive to maintain multiple
    versions of the same OS. So certainly their profit goes up if they can
    consolidate. Short term they sell less, but within a year people would
    welcome a migration to 64 bits as prices on hardware commoditize.

    From the customer's point of view, it is expensive to have to support
    different versions of the same OS. No one wants the hassle of multiple
    versions of drivers and applications and partially supported configurations.

    Every release of an OS involves decisions and trade offs that necessarily
    exclude some part of the market from participating in the new OS, based on
    memory requirements, processor requirements, graphic requirements whatever.
    That puts a software manufacturer in the role of being architecture police
    whether they want to be or not. Microsoft made a mistake in 1985 of trying
    to support Windows 1.0 on 286 processors. They used all your same
    arguments about trying to find a mass market, but in that case the marketing
    decision led to a low market adoption of the new technology because it was
    not able to use features in the higher end 386 architecture effectively.
    In this case supporting 32-bit means they will see rapid adoption of Vista,
    but at a higher support cost for Microsoft and the customer's both. I
    just think if you were to look out over a four year adoption curve,
    supporting 64-bit only would not have significantly lowered Microsoft's
    sales. They would just have been highly skewed to years two through four
    instead of front-loaded. And customer adoption costs would be lower,
    because the human costs of having to research compatible drivers and
    applications and support complex configurations always greatly exceeds the
    cost of the hardware.
    Will, Jun 28, 2006
  11. 95% of Windows are preinstalled by system builders. They will drive this
    market. MS will respond to it. Nothing else will matter.
    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 28, 2006
  12. Will

    Will Guest

    99.9% of all system builders buy 95% of their operating systems from
    Microsoft. They'll do whatever Microsoft tells them to do because it's a
    monopoly and they have no choice.

    In any case, I understand that it's the easy decision to support 32-bit and
    go for the most sales as fast as possible.
    Will, Jun 28, 2006
  13. OEMx will not use a 64-bit OS that is not fully supported by device drivers
    and productivity software. It does not follow that most machines shipping
    next year will not be 64-bit capable. That appears to be what is going to
    happen. At least one of the principal system builders plans to completely
    discontinue use of 32-bit cpu's at the end of this year.
    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 28, 2006
  14. Will

    Zapper Guest

    Ok, you lost me on this one...

    You insinuate that MSFT is bad because they are a monopoly and they force
    system builders to limit their offerings to MSFT's preffered
    version......yet your WHOLE argument is the MSFT should FORCE EVERYONE to
    ONLY run/support 64 bit???
    Zapper, Jun 28, 2006
  15. It's the same logic that would drive MacDonalds out of business if they
    decided to tell the customers what was good for them.
    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 28, 2006
  16. Will

    Will Guest

    I did not say Microsoft was bad. I was saying they are uniquely empowered
    by a monopoly to shape a generation of technology.

    In this case I think they could have used that enormous power to force a
    shift to 64 bit computing sooner, with a resulting cost savings to both
    Microsoft and their customers, as measured over a four year adoption cycle.
    Will, Jun 28, 2006
  17. Will

    Will Guest

    Not at all. If McDonalds told customers "don't eat beef, it's not good
    for you" the customers would go to Wendy's, Burger King, and every other
    greaseburger joint that competes with Wendy's.

    If Microsoft told customers to use Vista they need 64 bit computers, then
    what are the customers going to do? They aren't going to buy Apple
    computers, or Linux, or any other OS because those really don't compete
    effectively, and won't compete effectively in the next four years with what
    Microsoft already has today. In that four years, every new computer system
    delivered will be 64-bit capable, and the costs of a new office computer
    will fall below $1000 fully equipped. The adoption cycle for Vista would
    be slowed initially but would within a year dominate and become the standard
    for every new PC delivered.

    In any case, for the next four years, 32-bit dominates I guess. We'll
    Will, Jun 29, 2006
  18. Will, your reality checks are coming back NSF.

    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 29, 2006
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