| By Woody Leonhard |
64-bit computing is now mainstream, but the world’s most commonly used browser, Internet Explorer, didn’t get the memo.
You now have a 64-bit system and are running a 64-bit OS, but that doesn’t mean you want to run 64-bit IE 9. Here’s why.
Personal computing migrating rapidly to 64-bit
If you have a relatively new PC loaded with 4GB or more of RAM, chances are excellent that you’re running 64-bit Windows 7. (Sixty-four-bit is a prerequisite for using more than about 3.6 GB of memory.) Even if your PC isn’t so well endowed with memory, there are good reasons for using 64-bit Windows: improved security from forced driver signing, for example, rings quite a few chimes. Sooner or later almost everybody will be running 64-bit. It’s inevitable.
Many of the earlier problems with 64-bit products, such as big-name apps, are steadily disappearing. There’s been, for example, an enormous jump in the number of stable 64-bit drivers — no doubt in response to the surge of 64-bit Windows 7 installations.
All of which makes IE 9’s poorly implemented 64-bit version so puzzling — as is the impression that Microsoft, in general, is far behind the 64-bit migration curve.
A plethora of 64-bit compatibility problems
IE 9 (64) has a hard time fitting into a 32-bit world. Here’s why.
Internet Explorer works with ActiveX controls, small apps that hook into the browser and run on your computer. (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and most other browsers don’t use ActiveX.) Almost all of the ActiveX controls in the vast Internet cesspool … er, ecosystem, are 32-bit.