Microsoft Announces Availability of 64-Bit Windows Editions
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
This week, during his keynote address at the 14th annual Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced the general availability of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.
"This is a time of profound change in our industry. The move from 32-bit to 64-bit computing offers a dramatic improvement in performance and reliability, enabling people to use their PCs in exciting new ways at work and at home," Gates said. "The introduction of Windows x64 editions, combined with a wide range of 64-bit applications and hardware, will help launch 64-bit computing into the mainstream."
The new operating systems will run on 64-bit Intel® Xeon and Intel Pentium® 4 processors, as well as AMD Opteron processors and AMD Athlon 64 processors.
Upgrade to Windows x64 Edition from Windows 32-bit
If you acquired a qualifying 32-bit version of Windows with x64 hardware, you are eligible to exchange it for the x64 version. Microsoft's Volume Licensing customers may do this via their media kits; if you acquired Windows from an original equipment manufacturer or system builder you can receive your new software via the Technology Advancement Program. For more details, visit the Microsoft Technology Advancement Program (Windows XP Professional) Web site. If you want to make use of this offer (valid till July 31, 2005), I suggest you carefully read the points noted on the page before agreeing to them! If you are using Windows Server 2003, visit this Microsoft Web site for details.
If you already have 64-bit hardware, and would like to update your operating system, I'd urge you to be very careful. Driver support is very limited, so not all your hardware may be supported. Software support is also a headache, for example if you read this vnunet article you'll note that both Norton or McAfee Anti-virus software will not work with XP Pro x64 Edition.
Also note that if you have Windows XP Home Edition, you are out of luck, Microsoft only offers the upgrade for Windows XP Professional.
I've been told that Microsoft's next operating system (currently code-named Longhorn, and slated to be available towards the end of next year) will be available in both 32 and 64-bit, and that the 64-bit version also will be available for the "Home" version.
Software vendors that have or are in the process of developing applications to support the Windows x64 platform include Adobe, Avid Softimage, BMC Software Inc., Cakewalk, Citrix Systems Inc., CommVault Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., DHI Water and Environment, Ericom Software, IBM Corp., McAfee Inc., NewTek Inc., Oracle Corp., Parametric Technology Corp., Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology Inc., Symantec Corp., UGS, and VERITAS Software Corp. Computer manufacturers that will offer hardware running Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions include Acer Inc., Alienware Corp., Dell, Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp., Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Hitachi Ltd., HP, IBM, NEC Corp. and Unisys Corp. Hardware and peripheral vendors that will offer hardware support for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 X64 Editions include Broadcom, Brother, Canon, Epson, Lexmark Marvell, Neterion, Nvidia, and Ricoh, Samsung, Wacom, Xerox and Zoran.
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