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Opinion on running 32-bit apps on 64-bit notebook

jana
jana asked
on
We are thinking of purchasing a 64-bit windows 7 proff notebook.  However, our doubt on the apps we currently have on the 32-bit notebook that the 64-bit notebook will replace.  Will the 32 apps run ok?

We would like EE opinion on what should we consider if purchasing a 64-bit PC when all our life we have run 32-bit apps.

Note: we know that some apps has to be purchase for the 64-bit notebook.

Please advice
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Top Expert 2012
Commented:
You will find that 32-bit applications typically run quite well on the 64-bit version of Windows 7.  Our largest domain in primarily comprised of 64-bit operating systems, and we never encounter any significant problems.  When in doubt, consult the Windows 7 Compatibility Center for any software that you may be concerned about:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/default.aspx

Author

Commented:
I have the comptroller next to me and asked why buy into 64-bit.  Besides the actual faster the 32-bit what other advantage is there buying 64-bit notebook?
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Commented:
The 64bit version of Windows 7 will in most situations have no problems running 32bit apps at all, as it fully supports those. The only issue you might have is if those apps also need to use a 32bit driver for some hardware. The driver will always have to be 64bit if your OS is also 64bit. But most apps don't need direct access to the hardware so most of the time you won't have any problems running 32bit software on a 64bit OS.
Most Valuable Expert 2015

Commented:
The main advantage of a 64bit OS is that you can use more than 4GB RAM.

Author

Commented:
Understood.

It seems that if problem may occur, it will be driver related, correct?
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
Eventually, 32-bit machines will be phased out entirely.  The most obivious benefit of 64-bit machines is the ability to fully utilize 4 GB or more of RAM within your operating system.

Author

Commented:
Thanx rindi.

How about followup on the previous question, if problem would occur for this new 64 bit notebook, would it be more related to drivers?
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
But unlike the Vista (and especially the WinXP) generation of Windows operating systems, you will find that 64-bit drivers are plentiful.  They have now essentially become mainstream.

Author

Commented:
What about speed or processing, 64 bit faster 32 bit? or is only memory extended use?
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
I wouldn't necessarily say that any problems on a 64-bit machine would be "more related to drivers."  As I said, 64-bit drivers are really much more common these days, and as a whole Windows 7 itself is very trouble-free.
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
Yes, a 64-bit machine is going to be faster than a 32-bit computer.  However, the difference may not be as drastic as some would lead you to believe.  Here is a good FAQ from Microsoft themselves that can help you decide, also:

32-bit and 64-bit Windows: frequently asked questions
Most Valuable Expert 2015
Commented:
The speed difference is probably irrelevant, except if you use more RAM, then 64bit will be much faster, as it can use more than 4GB.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
As noted already, the most significant benefit of a 64-bit system is the ability to use more than 4GB of RAM.     Speed is NOT a factor if you're running 32-bit apps -- in fact, they may run slightly slower in a 64-bit environment, as there's a slight overhead generated by Wow64 (the DLL that allows 32-bit apps to run in the 64 bit environment).    This overhead is somewhat offset by the faster system functions that run in 64-bit mode ... in most cases the net difference is negligible.

MOST applications should run fine => but if possible you should try all of your key apps before committing to the 64-bit machines.    I've found MANY applications that folks said "won't run in Windows 7" that would, in fact, run fine in Win7 x32 => the compatibility issue wasn't an XP/Vista - 7 issue;  it was an x32 to x64 issue.

Bottom line:   If you want systems with > 4GB of RAM, you have no real choice.    But if you're not planning to buy more than 4GB of RAM, there's no real advantage to the x64 system -- so be sure you don't have compatibility issues before making the switch.


I have had alot of problems with antivirus software working on a 64-bit Windows 7 OS. Other than that, it works great for servers if you have lots of ram. If its just for a standard desktop and you have only 4gb of ram I dont think it will give you more benefit, maybe some more grief if anything. Good luck.

Author

Commented:
Excellent information provided by EE!

Based on all you guys experiences, what problems have you guys experienced when installing all your 32 bits apps on the a 64 bit notebook or PC?

(please note we understand that our software is different, we just want an outlook as to possible problems that has occur first hand to professionals as yourselves)

Thanx Lots!
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
Honestly, dealing with several hundred Windows 7 64-bit machines we still witness almost no problems at all.  If you are dealing with commercial-grade software, normally it will clearly state within the System Requirements if it's compatible with Windows 7 x64.  The only things I have ever run into issues with are software titles that are much more uncommon like certain types of shareware, freeware, or programs produced by a small entity for a specific purpose of function.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Corporate apps (Office, Adobe, etc.) will run fine -- it's specialized line-of-business applications that were specifically designed for individual business;  personal apps that you're not likely to use (many greeting card programs fit in this category);  etc. that often won't run in an x64 environment.

If you're just running typical commercial applications you'll almost certainly be fine.    If not, do what I suggested earlier -- get one x64 laptop and load it up to test your software.     If everything's fine, go for it.    If not, just reload that laptop with an x32 version of Windows.

If, however, you need more than 4GB of RAM, then use an x64 version of Windows 7, but get at least Win 7 Pro (Ultimate or Enterprise are also okay) and then use the XP Virtual Mode machine (a 32 bit environment within Windows) to run your 32-bit apps.

Author

Commented:
Yes! that was our next question regarding this OS migration.  You mean if a 32-bit application doesn't work in the actual 64 bit Windows, just install Windows VPC and that specific 32 bit apps will work?
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
There is a bit more to it than that, but yes, that's essentially right.  Here is an in-depth guide that explains how to install and configure XP mode on a Windows 7 machine:

Windows 7 - Windows XP Mode Install and Setup
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
MOST 32-bit apps will work fine in XP mode.    The exception is applications that require direct hardware access => very unlikely unless you have unique special applications ... and almost certainly not an issue for a laptop.

The XP Mode virtual machine is very simple to install, but it requires the Pro, Enterprise, or Ultimate version of Windows 7.    You indicated you're looking at Pro, so that's not an issue.

Author

Commented:
Thank you all

Author

Commented:
Thanx