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Thread: 64bit ???

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    Lounger
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    I am ready to replace our 7 yr old computer. I have heard so many downsides to 64bit that I'm hesitant. The only computers I've found so far are 64bit. I don't see any 32 bit. If finding software for 64 bit is so hard, what do you do. Will my printer work on 64 bit, will my wireless mouse work, and so on. Am I over reacting?
    I'm basically an advanced beginner so I am sure there is more to this than I understand.
    If someone could just direct me to some answers, I would sure appreciate it.
    Thanks to all you human computer encyclopedias. You are really appreciated!

    Twinkie

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    2 Star Lounger zigzag3143's Avatar
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    Hi Twinkie and welcome

    I do support on other forums. 64 bit is more difficult for drivers and seems to BSOD at a substantially higher rate. I think however that you dont have much choice. 32 bit is on its way out and windows 8 is going to be 64bit only I think.

    I do believe most of current apps and devices will work and with SP1 on its way the current problems should be worked out


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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinkie View Post
    I am ready to replace our 7 yr old computer. I have heard so many downsides to 64bit that I'm hesitant. The only computers I've found so far are 64bit. I don't see any 32 bit. If finding software for 64 bit is so hard, what do you do. Will my printer work on 64 bit, will my wireless mouse work, and so on. Am I over reacting?
    I'm basically an advanced beginner so I am sure there is more to this than I understand.
    If someone could just direct me to some answers, I would sure appreciate it.
    Thanks to all you human computer encyclopedias. You are really appreciated!
    You can check ahead of time about drivers for your hardware. Go to the various OEM sites and see if they have 64-bit Windows 7 drivers. Even if there is not a specific Windows 7 driver from an OEM there are many builtin basic drivers in the Windows 7 installation that will allow you to use the device but maybe not use advanced features.

    You can run many 32-bit applications in a 64-bit environment without a problem. You should run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor on your current PC. Also, check the software vendor site to see if the program is compatible with Windows 7. Note: if an application says it is compatbile with Windows Vista it will likely be ok on Windows 7. The exception to that is security software.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    The only downside to 64 bit computing is the lack of software and drivers. If your purchasing from an OEM, or from a large
    computer manufacturer, then they will have all the drivers for you. Infact your much better off going with a larger manufacturer
    than a smaller one for the driver support alone. (this includes chipset, sound card, and graphics card drivers)

    There are exceptions, that printer or scanner you've had for the last few years that your realy fond of, you can kiss it goodbye. It won't work.

    Software manufacturers too are begining to come around slowly, too slow for me though. I'm still waiting for a 64 bit photoshop.
    Most 32 bit apps will still run.

    I guess it's good in a way that your having a hard time finding a 32 bit system, it serves to help push 64 bit even more amoungst software makers.
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    Hi Twinkie, while I am not as 'knowledgeable' in this OS area as the other responders, I can give you my experience over the last few months.

    A) I installed a signature copy of Win7 ultimate 64-bit on my ASUS M50vm laptop. (4gb ram, 1gb nvidia graphics, came with Vista 32-bit) I had checked with ASUS (my laptop manf) and there were 64-bit drivers for everything. I did not really have too much trouble initially. For about a month or so, I had lockups maybe once a week. Then, around the 1 month point, I started getting BSODs. Started off with 1 per day and worked up to 4-5 per day. ASUS had me try a number of things (bios upgrade, remove some devices, reinstall all drivers, download vendor drivers instead of theirs). Nothing worked, so I am back on 32-bit. No trouble at all. ASUS said they could not explain besides to say that 64-bit is not as stable "just yet" with "all drivers and software programs".

    B) Second, I picked up an ASUS desktop in November with Win7 Home Pro 64-bit for my brother-in-law. 8gb RAM, on board graphics. He has not had any trouble running MS Office, surfing, music, TV input, etc. He does not have any meaty software programs though, and hasn't reconfigured any hardware. Theoretically, if you buy an "out-of-the-box" computer, the drivers should all be loaded and tested, so it should not be an issue.

    Hope this helps.

    Mike

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Twinkie, as JoeP recommended, you should by all means run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor on your current PC. Even though you are not planning to upgrade to Windows 7 on your current computer, the Upgrade Advisor can evaluate the software programs you now use, as well as all your peripheral hardware. Be sure that your printer and all other hardware you currently use is attached to your computer when you run the advisor. You will get a report advising of any problem software or hardware you have.

    Any new Windows PC with Windows 7 64 bit will already have the necessary 64 bit drivers installed. You just have to obtain your favorite security software in a 64 bit version, and there are plenty to choose from if your favorite has no 64 bit offering at this time. There are also some very good free ones available.

    That only leaves your existing software programs and hardware to check out, and the Upgrade Advisor will help you with that. Also, Windows has a site listing a number of popular software packages rated as to whether they are Windows 7 compatible or not (including 32 and 64 bit). You can find that information here , as well as download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.

    Windows Secrets Newsletter has a article on 64 bit computing today that you might find interesting. You can find it here , and set up a subscription real quick to read the article.
    Deadeye81

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    Hi Twinkie,

    Everybody here has given you good advice. Don't be afraid of Win 64 bit. The only thing I'll add is that any program that you have that won't run on Win 7 (32 or 64 bit) you can most likely run in XP mode if your version has that option. Another thing to keep in mind is any program that you can't find drivers for has most likely been replaced by something more advanced. In my case I decided to find free software that replaced some of my favorite old programs that won't run on 64 bit. Sure I've had to re-learn a few things but everything changes and eventually you will be forced to comply. Good luck.

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    You will most likely find that a lot of your software will run on 64 bit Win 7. All the software I use is still 32 bit. So far, the only problem I'm having is with the GIMP, and that's not a biggie anyway since I don't use it a lot anymore (it doesn't support 16 bit .tiffs yet). But the GIMP did cause a BSOD, the only one I've seen. My old HP Scanjet 4300c is not supported, but that's just a good excuse to buy a much better scanner.

    At work, due to vendor support issues, we'll be going to 32 bit Win 7 Pro. But for home use, I see no need to shy away from 64 bit. If vendors don't have compatible software, they will soon or they'll be shutting off a cash source. And its a really good way to force your self to put off needed upgrades. If you really want 32 bit version of 7, I'd contact the vendor before your purchase and see if they can get you a copy as part of software fulfillment.
    Chuck

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    All 64-bit does is get computers past a capacity limit that will always be inherent in 32-bit systems, period. OEMs are going exclusively 64-bit for the most part because its more cost-effective to only carry and support one variety. Vendors are going to draw a line in the sand at some point and not provide 64-bit drivers for devices of a "certain" age, period. So if one gets a new system, one should also factor in the cost of newer 64-bit supported peripherals as well. Unsupported devices can still be made to work (as long as they are USB or can be tricked into looking like USB connected devices) but that requires running XP in VirtualBox or VMPlayer, enabling USB connection passthrough and installing the device drivers and function into the virtual installation of XP.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    If your processor is 64 bit capable, then this is the best option. Yes, there are many good apps not available for 64 bit yet, but most work very well as 32 bit apps on Win 7 64 bit. As time goes on more and more apps will be updated to 64 bit. At some point in the not to distant future, 64 bit will be so mainstream that 32 bit will become obsolete, as 16 bit has become.

    One caveat, 64 bit works even better with more RAM. Many new PCs today, even those that are 64 bit capable and set up with 64 bit Win 7 come with 4 GB RAM. When you consider that the OS occupies approx half the available RAM, 4 GB can be consumed rather quickly. If and when you can afford it, 8 GB is an even better choice and will allow the newest 64 bit apps to really take advantage of the 64 bit processor.
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    I have been running 64-bit for about 2 years and have not had any problems finding drivers for various hardware. USB drives work just fine, including ones that are several years old. My cameras connect just fine with USB. But there were some rough spots:

    1) HP does not have a 64-bit Windows 7 printer driver for my printer because it is an older model. But Windows Update found a suitable driver for basic printing. I also found an article where someone showed how to convince Windows 7 to install a printer driver for a new model of a printer (in other words, if HP has a driver for printer XX4500m but not the XX4100 you have, you can install the XX4500 driver. True, new features won't work but all the old features will, and I got my 6-color photo printing back). I'd give a link but i can't find that article any more.

    2) No luck with my scanner. But it is really old (it even has a parallel port!). To get around this I installed XP in a virtual machine and installed the scanner software there. One of these days I will bite the bullet and get an all-in-one (perhaps when my printer ink runs out)

    3) The Hauppauge video card had some issues running with 64-bit if you had 4GB of RAM or more. At the time I had to locate a beat driver that fixed the issue. But the current drivers work just fine.

    4) My external video capture card does not work. But then, that card seemed to only work with my old Dell laptop. I tried the card on several other computers running XP and Vista, 32 and 64-bit with no luck.

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