Tutorial :Would you recommend 32-bit or 64-bit for Windows Vista?


I understand that 64-bit is the best. However, I've heard that there may be compatibility problem with 32-bit programs. Is this compatibility issue a major enough issue for me getting a 32-bit OS or is 64-bit Windows Vista still better, despite the compatibility issue?

I will mostly be using this for development purposes, but I may sneak in a few games on the side. :)


The biggest problem with 64-bit is driver support. Vista 64-bit requires that all device drivers are signed, so if you can't get signed device drivers for your peripherals you can't use them in Vista.


Depending on what you wanted to do.

For developers definitely go for 64-bits because you can then have a lot of RAM.

In one of StackOverflow podcast Jeff said because Vista caches disk data aggressively having lots of RAM changed his life.


I've had a 64-bit Vista laptop since November, and have only had a single compatability problem. That problem was so small that I don't even remember what it was!

In the meantime, I'm running Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008, etc., with no problems.


Do you need to use a Cisco VPN Client?

If so, I would say go for 32-bits - even if you have 4gb of RAM. There have been a lot of issues surrounding such a vital piece of software that lots of remote workers can't live without.

If you have 8gb RAM or more, definitely go for 64-bit as if you run a 32-bit operating system you will be throwing 4+ gb away (Windows 32-bit operating systems can only address some value around 3.4gb).

If you only have 4gb RAM you are only missing out on 600mb of memory and getting the benefit of increased application compatibility.

Your mileage may vary.


I run several systems with both. I would say 64-bit is definitely better. If you want older Cisco VPN support in a 64 bit system, try the Shrew VPN Client. I use it to connect to a Cisco 800 series router with 12.3 verison, which works very well. The DHCP doesn't seem to work quite right yet, but you can always set up static ips. You could also upgrade your router to support the Any connect, which also does 64 bit.

64 bit is all about RAM. I added 8 gig to my machines. I noticed a huge benefit going from 2 to 4 gigabytes. Going from 4 to 8 was not so much, until I started running Visual Studio and all the other things I run at once. It was like lightning after that.

Driver support is not a problem if you purchased good hardware. For example, the biggest problem usually is a video driver. If you purchase an Nvidia card, you can modify the device type in the INF to make it load the standard driver, and everything works very well. Even if you were unfortunate to get an Intel video card, you can still download a utility to calculate the hex codes for the INF file, and finally manage to get that 1600 resolution Dell monitor you stole from your coworker working as a second monitor.

Even making SSIS (SQL Server) work in it is not bad, since Excel is 32 bit only. There are ways around all of it I have found, and having a lot of RAM really !!! really helps the speed of the computer. Samsung will show you in its You Tube videos how slow hard drives really are. They loaded all of Office from scratch in 1/2 a second with about 2 gigabytes per second load speed. RAM = cache = speed. Definitely worth it for me.


I also have Vista/64. Also no big problems, but I don't have heaps of obscure hardware (more Vista problems than 64-bit problems).

However one should ask yourself why there is to gain by deviating. 3.25GB is nearly always enough.

It looks like Microsoft is going for a 32-bit Windows 7 as default OEM version, which means that the windows 7 cycle will be mostly 32-bit. (though probably some 64-bit will creep in the workstation market sooner or later).

I'm an exception, because I had special reasons, I wanted to validate certain 64-bit specific software. (a compiler)

So in short: despite the fact that Vista/64 will not really hurt, if you don't have really hard reasons, why take the risk?


If you need more RAM, go 64 bit. 32 bit is still the standard, and the most widely supported, with many applications not even capable of supporting or taking advantage of 64-bits. If you don't want to run any risks of non-compatibility, go with the 32-bit option. If you really need the extra RAM or are going to be doing development for 64 bit Vista, then go for the 64-bit version.


I cannot say which is better but I can say that both my work pc and laptop run vista 64 bit and I have had no problems with either one. So with that I don't see any reason why I would use the 32 over the 64.

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