Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Reader asks about 64-bit

Bad Experience With 64-bit Has Reader Worried…

Q: Paul I am hoping you can help me. I have finally managed to set aside enough that I am shopping for a new computer but all I seem to find in the stores is 64 Bit models. I had a horrible experience some years ago with a 64 Bit computer and I don’t want to go through that again. Is it worth going going to the hassle to try to find a 32 Bit model or am I stuck with 64?

A: Dear Reader,
Congratulations on your shopping. Now to your question: in my humble opinion, the only people who should make an effort to stay 32-bit are IT Departments who must maintain specialty code (custom programs essential to business operation) that are DOS-based (16-bit).

Years ago, the Industry was just making the transition to, and learning about, 64-bit, and to say that there were “teething troubles” along the way would be more than fair. (Windows XP x64 was a disaster, IMHO). However, for the most part anyway, 64-bit is now “mainstream” even for us consumers.

There are several advantages to having an “all 64” machine: the two that leap first into my mind are; one, you can access and use more RAM memory, and two, (for the time being anyway) it is more secure.

My own experiences with Windows 7 x64 have been 100% positive. (See, Windows 7 64-bit Adventures and/or A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 RC and/or click here to see all of my articles tagged “Windows 7”)
[ note: Those who have purchased a new 64-bit PC and are having some issues, may want to look at https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/compatibility-tricks-for-old-programs-new-machines/]

You might also like to see my “computer shopper guidelines”. Back To School Computer Shopping Guidelines

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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August 28, 2010 - Posted by | computers, shopping for, Windows, Windows 7

8 Comments »

  1. I had similar worries when I made the plunge to x64. My worries were unfounded when I switched from xp x86 to win7 x64. I think the problems stemmed from the xp x64 and there were so many incompatibilities with the xp 64 machines. To date I have had just a few 3rd party programs that won’t run on my x64 machine which just required finding a similar program. It seems now the 3rd party programs are stepping up to the plate by making their programs x64 compatible.

    All in all, I wouldn’t hesitate to get a 64 bit win7 machine. The benefits of being able to run more memory and the fact that programmers are gearing their programs at this means a more future proof machine.

    Like

    Comment by g | August 28, 2010 | Reply

    • g,
      (Paul slaps forehead) Future-proofing, yes!

      And I agree, with each passing day, the need to look for “64-bit” versions of programs will become a bit like looking for a blank floppy disc. I am sure your RL (real life) testimonial will help set people’s mind’s at ease.

      And, sure, some really old programs might not work any more (or need to be run in ‘Compatibility Mode.. which reminds me, I need to put up that link..) but you cannot make time, nor tech, stand still.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 28, 2010 | Reply

  2. When looking to get a new computer, recently, I looked not for what I need now, but, bearing in mind the speed of change in computing, what was the most capacity I could afford (core i5, 4GB RAM, expandable to 8GB, Win7 Home Premium 64-bit) fully expecting it to be totally out-dated by the time I can afford my next replacement.
    So far, having had my new computer a few days, I am loving it! No problems (yet, at least) with my “essentials”, Firefox, Open Office, VLC, Calibre etc.
    By the way, as with all computers, it came pre-loaded with bloatware, in this case comprising of both 32-bit and 64-bit programs.

    Like

    Comment by roger | August 29, 2010 | Reply

    • roger,
      Congratulations on your new computer.

      I often mention Moore’s Law here.. but I don’t think most people truly grasp exponential growth, happening in 18-month cycles..

      .. as for what you called “bloatware”, (I think you meant “crapware” — the silly games, 90-day trialware, AOL Easy sign-up, etc.. “Bloat” refers programs becoming overloaded with useless features as each new version comes out) you can special order (such as Dell offers) or use the wonderful PC Decrapifier and clean that *stuff* off in one fell swoop.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 29, 2010 | Reply

      • techpaul
        thank you, yes, I did mean “crapware”, but sometimes when you (I of course mean I) can’t dredge up the correct term, almost anything will do, as long as it has some, even tangential, connection to what is meant. I’m sure you are familiar with, and heartily sick of, “but you’re the computer guy, you should know what I mean!”
        and thanks for the “PC Decrapifier” link, I’ll go have a look at it now.
        all the best,
        roger.

        Like

        Comment by roger | August 30, 2010 | Reply

        • roger,
          Very well said! I myself have a preference for “doohickie”.. but “gizmo” seems to be more universally accepted.

          Geekspeak is a language. And the best part is, we make it up as we go along.

          Like

          Comment by techpaul | August 30, 2010 | Reply

  3. I am using both the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 (on different computers) and while the experience has been great, it isn’t without its problems.

    The biggest problem is drivers for older equipment. My scanner has 32-bit drivers for both Vista and Windows 7 but no 64-bit drivers. In the end, I had to buy a new scanner. Ditto with an old printer.

    So be ready to splash out more cash for new equipment. Actually, it’s a great excuse to buy the latest new gear on the market that you could never justify to the wife.

    jbe

    Like

    Comment by jbe | August 29, 2010 | Reply

    • jbe,
      Not to subtract from your points, but readers should understand that the driver issue you mention is not always true (though I suppose you could say it was so.. for the wife). I have had no such experience myself, even when the printer in question was so old I was hoping the new PC would ‘force the question’… ha!
      But, yes, we have reached a point of generational change, and 32-bit (and Windows XP) is marked for the scrapheap.

      Note: sometimes a “generic” driver will work for your older gear (hint: a search online might be your friend) and be sure to look to the device manufacturer’s website for all available driver versions.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 30, 2010 | Reply


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