64 bit vs 32 bit Vista

February 15, 2009 at 19:52:50
Specs: Windows Vista, 2.0/4GB
Hi,
My Mom just bought a Dell laptop that came with 64 bit Vista Home Premium. I'll be her only tech support and I have zero experience with any 64 bit OS, and really don't know anything about them at all. I'm considering telling her that we need to exchange her laptop for one with 32 bit Vista. What factors should I consider in deciding? What are the downsides/complications that come with 64 bit Vista?
Thanks.

See More: 64 bit vs 32 bit Vista

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#1
February 15, 2009 at 19:58:51
What are the downsides/complications that come with 64 bit Vista?
1. Drivers for 64-bit are rarer than 32-bit drivers. -> Not an issue, because you already have the drivers.

2. No 16-bit support. -> Not an issue if you use programs written in the last decade.

That's all I got, and I use the 64-bit versions.


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#2
February 15, 2009 at 20:29:31
Thanks.
If I buy/add a new device, does all hardware now come with 64 bit drivers? Do I have to select 64 bit drivers specifically or does in happen automatically as I install a device?

I'm a total noob to 64 bit.


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#3
February 15, 2009 at 20:57:24
The experience is a lot like the 32-bit version. If your driver disk has the relevant 64-bit drivers, Windows will take those. If not, Windows will either use its generic drivers, or you'll have to get them from the manufacturer's website.

Finding 64-bit drivers was an issue three years ago. It doesn't really seem to be anymore.


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Related Solutions

#4
February 16, 2009 at 04:49:19
Razor,

Does your 64-bit operating system run 32-bit software at the same speed as a 32-bit operating system would?

klint


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#5
February 16, 2009 at 05:37:19
I don't notice any slowdown. Then again, I don't exactly have a benchmarking setup here.

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#6
February 16, 2009 at 21:35:30
Thanks for the replies everybody. To refine my question a little, what are the likeliest real-world possible situations that might come up that might make me regret her buying a 64 bit OS? (Other than trying to run an old 16 bit app.)

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#7
February 17, 2009 at 16:18:43
Your only issues would be with applications and add on cards or other hardware.

For most people it is of no issue. There are plenty of people that can't seem to get 32 bit applications to work for one reason or another.

Still people that say, "I got this gizmo and I can't find drivers".

I suspect that if you use best practices, get a good firewall, antivirus, antimalware application and use it, your mother will be very happy.

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10


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#8
February 17, 2009 at 16:37:28
...use best practices, get a good firewall, antivirus, antimalware application and use it...

Just for clarification, are you saying 64 bit Vista is more vulnerable/susceptible than 32 bit to hacking/exploits/viruses/malware, or is this just standard advice?


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#9
February 17, 2009 at 16:39:44
Your only issues would be with applications and add on cards or other hardware.

This is what I'm concerned about. How likely is this to be a problem if I buy new hardware? Is all 32 bit software compatible or do I need 64 bit software?


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#10
February 17, 2009 at 19:29:58
Actually 64 bit might be a bit (only a small amount) safer. Basically same.

You have to investigate each application. I wouldn't get too worried. Most common applications that a mother might need run, I'd guess would run.

Gamers and many high tech applications do not seem to have support just yet.

Newer hardware is generally supported but read package.

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10


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#11
February 18, 2009 at 13:43:48
Is 64 bit considered x86?

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#12
February 18, 2009 at 15:05:45
64-bit has the x86 instruction set, yes, but it is not x86. If you see x86 (vs. x64), they're talking about 32-bit.

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#13
February 18, 2009 at 17:32:08
Well, I took the laptop back today and exchanged it for one with 32 bit Vista HP. For future searchers, the final straw was when my Ghost boot CD wouldn't work. It seemed to hang on loading USB drivers for the external HD. Quick research revealed that my CD was for x86 and apparently not 64 bit. So before I got any further down the non-x86 road, I made it gone. bu-bye.
Thanks everybody.

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#14
February 19, 2009 at 00:46:26
For future searchers, the final straw was when my Ghost boot CD wouldn't work.
For future reference, 64-bit only applies to 64-bit OS'es, which don't apply to your Ghost boot CD. (So your problem was something else.)

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#15
February 19, 2009 at 09:29:52
Oh well. Future searchers be aware that x86 and 64 bit are not the same. Be ready for a can of worms if you go 64 bit.

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#16
February 19, 2009 at 15:18:55
Not sure if your comment is valid. It is a personal opinion that you have.

Personally I would have let Ma run the darn 64 bit.

"Best Practices", Event viewer, host file, perfmon, antivirus, anti-spyware, Live CD's, backups, are in my top 10


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#17
February 19, 2009 at 17:57:56
Spoken as people who enjoy computers more than average. No?

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#18
February 25, 2009 at 05:33:40
1. 16/32 bit applications compatibility will be a problem,
2. not more applications have been developed to support x64, although they may run with some part of functionality missing or not working.
3. vista, uses driver signing for x64, so all those applications which have unsigned driver with it, (not published and certified) will not get pass thru windows x64.

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#19
February 25, 2009 at 06:22:37
I buy a new PC every year, this year is my first 64 bit, and I won't go back. I carry everything over from an external backup drive, years worth of documents, media and applications, and with a bit of effort and patients I got all my old apps up and running on my 64 Vista. Granted, "America's Army" was a major pain, but I made it happen.

I can't do anything on this year's 64 that I couldn't do on last year's 32, but I can do more of it at the same time. 64 is, IMHO, mostly dedicated to multi taskers. I only go for high performance PC's, last year's 32 was quite comparable in memory and processor to this year's 64, yet I was limited in how many tasks I could burden my 32 with at one time. I've tested this theory by loading up several resource heavy apps from Adobe CS4 all at once, and switching through them. Trying to work with Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Soundbooth, Flash, Premier, FTP and IE all open is not comparable when stacking 32 against 64, 32 system with the same specs cannot handle that payload. Regardless, I'm guessing your mother doesn't need that much performance to check her email and surf recipes. But I bought my mom a 64 for Christmas, she's an amatuer photographer, I knew she'd be using Photoshop, and she has ambitions of building a website for displaying and selling photos. I'm dreading that day...

I can't do anything on my 64 that I couldn't do on my 32, and the same vice-versa. My downside to 64 is a bit less effortless installments of applications, the upside is seamless multi tasking with far less hang time. In the future 64 may become a necessity for advanced users, but I'm betting your mother will happily get her money's worth out of her 32.

If I were in your shoes I'd have welcomed the opportunity to explore 64 at someone else's expense, and would have given it more of a chance before downgrading to 32. No offense intended, but I think you sold yourself a bit short.


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#20
February 25, 2009 at 07:39:41
Seabee Tim: "I can't do anything on my 64 that I couldn't do on my 32"

I'm going to buy a new PC and I'm not sure whether to install 64-bit or 32-bit Vista Ultimate Edition on it. One major problem I foresee is that my old (but still very good) HP Scanner does not have 64-bit drivers, and HP are refusing to support this scanner any more and will not write any 64-bit drivers for it. Will I be able to install the 32-bit drivers if I use 32-bit Vista inside a VM (such as VMWare or Virtual PC) running on 64-bit Vista?


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#21
February 25, 2009 at 09:10:38
I have an HP C3180 All-in-One that's about three years old and I got it to run on my 64, but I think I got driver support, can't remember.

I can't honestly say that installing it in a VM would work, because I can't test that theory, but I'm pretty confident it would. I also think it would be a hassle if you do a lot of scanning. Are you certain that your drivers are incompatible with 64? I was surprised to find that a lot of my 32 programs and devices transferred to my 64 without much hassle, a few things I had to set compatibility preferences for, and then there were those big ordeals...but I'm a firm believer in "where there's a will there's a way".

Are you keeping your old PC? You could network it.


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#22
February 26, 2009 at 02:04:38
Thanks for the reply. In fact, HP do not even support any version of Vista with the drivers for that scanner. In effect, they have simply abandoned their customers. They want them to go out and buy a new scanner, so they can make more money, even though there is nothing wrong with their old scanner.

Fortunately, some people have found a hack that allows their old HP device driver to work on Vista, and published it on the net. However, I was under the impression that device drivers had to be specific to 32- or 64-bit OSs even though applications could work with compatibility layers.

And unfortunately I can't network my old PC: the reason I'm buying a new one is that my old one is broken and, being about 7 years old, it's not worth fixing.


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#23
February 26, 2009 at 05:41:31
I've installed certain periferrals with the same drivers that worked on my 32 running on my 64, so yes, certain 32 bit drivers will run on 64 bit systems. Where the line is drawn on that, IDK.

Like I said, "where there's a will there's a way". If you're PC savy enough to find hacks and such, it might not be easy, might take some patients and cause a headache, but I'm confident its possible to get that old scanner up and running on a 64 bit system.

Regardless, I'd insist that upgrading to 64 is worth buying a new $50 scanner...if you do a lot of multi-tasking that is. If your happy with your 32--if it ain't broke... ...


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#24
March 4, 2009 at 17:51:10
the x86 allows you to run 32bit software and drivers on a 64 bit system
if you have a problem running on vista 64bit youll probibly have the same problem running on vista 32 bit ans was most likley not vista compatible in the first place
i have 2x quad core systems both with a 5.9 rating running 64 bit vista ultimate and the only issues i have are with older porgrammes that dont have the x86 file install option in thier setup wizard
i think returning the computer for a 32 bit one was a big mistake

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