Bits from Bill Pytlovany: 64-bit Windows is here, Like it or Not.

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By Bill Pytlovany

If you’re in the market for a new Windows computer you’ll be joining the ranks of x64-bit processor users. It used to be an option but these days 64-bit systems are standard configurations.  The infiltration of the market has increased dramatically this year and many programmers like myself are working extra hours to catch up with some of the quirks that arrived with 64-bit systems. 

64pcs

For a long time many people stayed away from 64 bit systems because they feared lack of support for their legacy hardware devices. Those fears have seemed to disappear but many of us have noticed quirks in 64-bit systems that affect regular software.  Unfortunately you won’t have much choice and will be encouraged to purchase a machine that comes with the 64-bit version of Windows. 

I’m not a 64-bit fan
If I didn’t have to support all my friends with 64 bit machines I wouldn’t have one. When I asked on twitter for a reason we need 64 bit the typical answer was to have more memory.
Local programmer Chris Miller, @anotherlab said, “64bit Windows means you can have more than 4Gb of RAM, which is great for a developer with a mess of apps all running at once.”
Personally, I would be just as happy this year with only 4 GB’s and a fast SSD to use as virtual memory.

The most affected software are low level utilities like my WinPatrol. Most software won’t have serious problems but like many security programs WinPatrol uses low level API’s directly for optimized performance and to catch malware at infiltration points.

Over the last year I’ve continued to distribute a 32-bit version of WinPatrol and worked around various quirks.  It’s obvious now that if I want to continue to enhance WinPatrol and create more powerful features I’ll need a 64-bit only version.  That will be my primary focus this summer.


Programming 64 Bits

According to Microsoft, “The key is that all of the existing Win32 knowledge you have directly applies to the 64-bit version of Windows, and the majority of your code should compile for the 64-bit platform without changes.”. 
Any programmer who hasn’t started 64-bit programming is already way behind. If you thought your biggest challenge going to update your data types you’re sadly mistaken. You’ll find many new changes and promises of maintaining the same code base may be true but only if you’re willing to drop support for XP, W2K and systems with limited performance.

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This post is excerpted with Bill’s permission from his blog

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4 thoughts on “Bits from Bill Pytlovany: 64-bit Windows is here, Like it or Not.

  1. I also disagree with Bill’a assessment of 64bit h’ware/OS. There’s more than just the ability to address higher amounts of RAM, the entire hardware layer is more effective running 64bit programs. 64bit is the next leap in data transfer across the board, and if WinPatrol is having trouble on this platform, then I would think it’s a coding issue and not a fault of the system architecture or OS itself.
    I’ve been running 64bit for over 6 years now, and only a VERY few old legacy programs failed to run, but I never missed them as there were alternatives. No probs with my 7 year old printer or my 11 y/o scanner either, 64bit is here to stay & 32bit is fast going the way of W95/98/ME & XP.
    Stay current, or always find yourself on the back end of the bus wondering why it stinks so bad, is my philosophy.

  2. Just get the drivers to work with the software and hardware for people with parts in their computer that they(we) have purchased with good money.Not hardware or software from 1999 or such but If I(we)just brought hardware/software for a machine two years ago..let it work or have the drivers for it.Some manufactures do have x64 bit upgrade drivers for some hardware now but not a lot do..this is what people are afraid of whith a x64 bit rig.I think most programmers are having problems with development of such and not really moving like the industry would like it too so they are taking time to get the ball moving.Then of course it’s what/how much do we charge and they are stuck at that..it need to cost more than what we thought..Most of us don’t mind the cost..just as long as it works and with little to no “down” time…

  3. I am running Win7 Pro 64-bit and WinPatrol seems to be working fine. I also have a PC with Win7 Home Prem 32-bit, and that works fine. In the 64-bit OS, I rarely have problems with any programs running. I see there is a folder for x86 program files, in addition to the x64 folder. Is the Pro version of 7 better at handling 32-bit apps than lesser versions?

    • Easy answer…No.
      There is no difference between versions as to how well they handle 32bit programs, they all have the same 32bit virtualization layer.

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