Processors

Poll: Will you be deploying the 32-bit or the 64-bit Windows 7?

The TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog member poll: Will you be deploying the 32-bit or the 64-bit Windows 7?
TechRepublic member mgihouse suggested this week's poll question for the Windows Blog. If the results of the survey earlier this week, "74% of Work PCs Still Run XP, and They're 4.4 Years Old," are to be believed, there are going to have to be some major information technology spending taking place very soon. And since all new PCs on the market are 64-bit capable, will you deploy that version of Microsoft Windows 7?

My perception is that the ability of 64-bit machines to access memory levels past 4GB makes them very appealing. However, there is always the sticky problem of legacy applications, which may not run properly in a 64-bit environment. So some choices have to be made and the pros and cons have to be weighed.

Take the poll and then share with us the thinking behind your answer. What factors played into the decision? Was there pressure from upper management one way or another -- or do they even know what we are talking about? How dynamic is the situation in your organization?

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

25 comments
OdeonIT
OdeonIT

With some pressure from the top to go 64-bit, we decided to purchase new hardware for all of our previous laptops that were not 64-bit compatible. Our normal annual rotation is 10 laptops and 10 desktops (we have about 60 total computers), so this was a larger purchase than usual, but with last year's economic "downturn", we didn't do a refresh, so in essence, we're just playing catch up. We usually buy Dell Optiplex desktops, but that line does not offer any version of Win7 64-bit (which should have been a loud warning signal to us), so we ended up buying Vostro 230s instead after days and days of research. We purchased the new computers with Win7 Pro 64 and purchased additional licenses to cover the older computers. We had already created one test computer, but used Win7 Pro 32 and had absolutely no problems at all including with our virtual encryption drive software installed. We then made the mistake of thinking that we'd also have no problems with the 64-bit version. We did not. Add to this the firm-wide upgrade from Office XP to Office 2007 32-bit and you can imagine how much "fun" we've had. Acrobat Adobe 7 Standard (hardly what most would consider to be "legacy" software) will not install it's printer driver and Acrobat offers no help or support with the issue, saying that only Windows XP 32-bit is supported. Our Konica-Minolta MFP's fax software also does not install (at all) and we haven't been able to get support for that program for several years since Konica-Minolta used a third-party company that no longer exists. A tax valuation program we used with XP 32-bit does not work, but this was not unexpected since it's a 16-bit application, so we're having to upgrade and change licensing models. Our document handling application has given us more grief than you can shake a thousand tiny sticks at, and we've fought with a number of other programs and issues each and every day since rolling Win7 64-bit out. To top it all off, our print server is not recognized correctly, so we've had to install nearly all of our network printers manually, which bypasses the server completely and requires using Windows Update (which takes at least 3 minutes to process) to install HP LaserJet 5Si, 8000, and 8150 printers, which are installed all over the building and used by the majority of our users. Let this be a warning to anyone thinking of taking the plunge: If you do not absolutely HAVE TO change to 64-bit, do not do so without thorough and comprehensive research and testing. We thought we'd already done all of the necessary research and testing ahead of time, but we did not take the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit as seriously as we should have. If we could do it all over again, we'd push back against the higher-ups in the company and stick with 32-bit.

microface
microface

Why Deploy Windows 7 when the legacy software written in Access as an app will not work on Windows 7? Why Deploy Windows 7 when the drivers for some very expensive printers, copiers, and OCR machines from samsung are never going to available? I tried everything under Ubuntu with WINE, and Virtual BOX, had everything working after 1 days tweaking, and help from the Community, which is far more help than I received from either Microsoft, or Samsung, or any other place I looked. I presented this information to my VP and now in a years time all 175 desks will be moved to either Macintosh, or Linux. The mice are eating at the gorilla's toes.

john3347
john3347

32 bit does everything I need to do. 64 bit does nothing I need to do that 32 bit doesn't do. I have hardware that can run 64 bit or 32 bit. I have software that positively doesn't like 64 bit. I have no software that doesn't like 32 bit. I do not do anything with my computers that need more than a couple of Gb ram, although I splurged on a couple of recent machines with 2-2Gb modules. I observe no performance improvement with 3.2 Gb ram when compared with just under 2 Gb. Why should I even consider the headaches of driver and software compatability for a 64 bit system?

tom
tom

I purchased quite a few Dell Vostro 420s that had 64-bit processors. Got some of them with XP and the free upgrade to Windows 7, the others with Windows 7 but a downgrade to XP installed. Sadly, the Windows 7 disks and licenses were 32-bit. I bought 6 Win 7 Pro upgrades when they came out at 1/2 price so our developers will get 64-bit, everyone else will get 32-bit. Disappointed that when you buy the Win 7 upgrade you get to choose but the licenses that came with the PCs are 32-bit only. And, nowhere was that mentioned when I purchased the PCs. Now Dell specifies which version you get.

marks
marks

Moving slowly with test machines. 1) Win7 64 bit allows 6-8 gig ram which generates too much heat for lap top cooling fans. More memory is good but I burned up 2 laptops already, so they will need some cooling help. 2) The cost of upgrading apps for Win7 is a serious problem especially for Office suites and graphics apps.

HeavyChevy71
HeavyChevy71

As a consultant, my customers are not power users and would be more confused if I told them they must use 64bit software in their computers and that some vendors are still not ready with a 64bit solution to their application. I don't feel that the 64bit OS is good for my customers until more than 90% of the world's Windows applications can run in 64bit. I think that by this time next year, it should be easier to deploy all 64bit Win7, but until then, I will continue to recommend the 32bit version.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

Ancient astronomers defined the science as "the study of the way the sun, moon and planets revolve around the earth." The very definition of the science at that time precluded its success. Until the science was redefined, little meaningful outcome could be gained. Imagine what you would think if you saw a poll question such as "Which is your favorite car - a Blue Chevy Impala or a Red Chevy Impala?" Most people would immediately recognize this as a lame attempt to fabricate bogus opinion poll data. (You can hear the hype - "## percent of people polled identified _____ as their favorite car") Any sensible person would know it's hype, and little else. So today's question is "Will you be deploying the 32-bit or the 64-bit Windows 7?" A Defense Attorney might jump up and yell "OBJECTION! The question assumes facts not in evidence." This poll seems to be intent on creating its own version of reality by assuming it knows the outcome in advance, based on the very question itself. How about a neutral question like "What will you deploy as your next-generation operating system?"

netman
netman

I will be sticking with 32Bit Windows 7 for a lot of PCs on site as an educational site quite a bit of the software is not known whether it is compatible. Power users will be full 64bit with a 32bit or 64bit Office 2010 installation tbc at a later date.

peterhb
peterhb

The issue of memory management is certainly something to be considered. The problem of compatibility probably necessitates using some 32 bit apps until an alternative can be found. Adobe flash player is not currently supported in 64 bit Internet Explorer and it is necessary to run 32 bit IE to get this functionality.I have a desktop HP scanner for which there are no 64 bit drivers (and not likely to be)so I will stick with this in 32 bit mode until I'm ready to move on. I am sure that when I make the change I will find a number of other issues affecting software packages which I use, so I will be moving slowly on this one.

giorgos67
giorgos67

More secure, by far more stable, and way too effortless to setup and maintain, for serious work. Although, it doesn't have the bells and whistles of a fancy desktop. Greets!!! :-)

Mylon2202
Mylon2202

We Will be using 32 bit mostly. We may have a few x64 for some graphics software users if all their software will support it. I work in a government health care environment and the Ministry of Ontario doesn't support x64 with their VPN application we must use and that is what is stopping us from moving to x64.

aaron.newton
aaron.newton

My Studio XPS shipped with 64 Bit Windows 7. I must say how impressed I am with the 32 bit support - most of the time I don't even notice a performance difference. On this particular system I have 6GB of RAM :). When running some pretty big database queries, I cranked my MySQL (running in 32 bit mode) memory limits up to 3GB. I could still run Photoshop, Outlook and all my usual memory intensive applications while this was happening. 64 bit has however been painful on some of my Ubuntu systems. I tried to install Apache Solr, which has some 32 bit dependencies, and it was not as straightforward as it could have been.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Will you be deploying the 32-bit or the 64-bit Windows 7? Perhaps the better question is why? What are the factors that determine which bit of Windows 7 you choose to deploy?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

This poll question is posted in the TechRepublic Windows Blog. My interest is exploring everything Windows. While there are other fine operating systems out there, they are discussed in detail in other TechRepublic Blogs. If you note, the poll did put forth the answer that there will be no Windows 7 deploy.

paul.hudson
paul.hudson

There is a rumor that we will go to Windows 7 but, my organization didn't go to XP until support was all but gone. Now it's crunch time for the next evolution. To move or not to move. Study after study is completed but no decision if forth coming. I wonder what they are going to do when the new Office pack won't run on XP.

Jaqui
Jaqui

yet another strike against Ubuntu. cause all Apache Software Foundation apps are available in sources and wwill build for both 32 and 64, so if Ubuntu 64 bit fails on it, they screwed up royally. I can take a pure 64 bit system of any other distro and install a 32 bit app, all needed deps are automatically installed to make it work. so a double strike against Ubuntu there. not building it right and not handling a mulilib dep chain.

kirk227
kirk227

So, I decided that since I never liked Vista andknew I'd take to W7 right away, I built it as an xp pro x64. When & came along I hadn't leaned enough about dual ops so I just put it on another HDD and removed the xp drive. I then of course realized that I could leave them both in the computer and just go to bios if I needed to use xp for anything. The only 32 bit os left is my virtual mode xp home edition. I would use that only in a real crisis. It takes longer to boot than changing the bios and if W7 fails, it fails with it I'm certain. I think I finally have it just the way I like it. The reasons are many, but I mainly wanted to get ready to face the challenges of the next big quantum leap in computers. I think when 64 bit programs become plentiful, it'll be a big step. I'm ready and waiting.!

olarande
olarande

I am an IT Consultant in Nigeria, West Africa. All my clients run on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 - all 32-bit versions. I would love to move them to 64bit but at whose cost? Over here in Africa, Labor is cheaper than capital. It means that organizations will not take on additional expenditure unless their survival absolutely depends on it. To make the transition easier, all the big software companies need to do what AMD did, release versions of all your products that makes the transition seamless - not that it will work but the dependencies will not work. AMD made a 64bit processor that can run 32bit seamlessly - and it helped a lot.

Realvdude
Realvdude

Since we mainly do drop ship installations for our clients, the OS choice is pretty much locked into whatever the client can get. Our application software is 32 bit, but deploys fairly well onto 64 bit Windows as well.

mike.panagos
mike.panagos

you would be surprised (or not) how far behind some vendors are in providing 64-bit compatibility, let alone running in 64-bit. In addition, a handful of business class computers (usually laptops/tablets; HP is a good example) don't come with 64-bit builds from the vendors, though the hardware is 64-bit compatible. You could create your own build, but may run into possible driver or model specific software that isn't as well tested as the 32-bit builds. When we have some client computer refreshes in the upcoming years we will reevaluate our options, but for now we can still get decent performance from newer processors even while running with 32-bit Windows 7 and 4 GB ram max (even though running 4 GB on 32-bit you may not be able to take complete advantage of all 4 GB, having two sticks running in dual channel does make a difference).

Randy Hagan
Randy Hagan

In my shop, I have both Mac and WinTel PC machines. I do a lot of graphics-intensive work and have seen real benefits going to 64-bit OS installs, more RAM and more 64-bit applications. While I think that the main road to 64-bit application upgrades may be long and slow-moving, for graphics-intensive businesses going 64-bit now provides real benefits now and an extended upgrade path down the line. It's an easy call to make for my clients as well, especially when it comes to new equipment purchases and recent (within the last 3 years) system upgrades. Graphics businesses, especially ones that support outside clients in their regular business, generally have faster hardware and software upgrade cycles than general business clients. Adding more RAM and 64-bit software suites to production systems equals greater productivity, and better responsiveness to client needs. It pays off quickly in ROI and reputation with clients.

TheBlueGoose
TheBlueGoose

32 bit for most users, 64 bit for power users who may need the extra available ram that it supports.

apdumas
apdumas

I'll have to stick with 32-bit as the IP telephony solution in house is 32 bit only.......

aaron.newton
aaron.newton

From memory, it was actually a dependency which mucked it up. If I remember correctly, it one of the Java libraries.

Jaqui
Jaqui

would have been resolved if the distro was configured effectively for multilib installs. allowing for both 32 and 64 bit binaries on the system is still a good thing to do. there are a number of apps that aren't 64 bit still. so a "pure 64" environment is still at least a year off. :\