Microsoft: Vista is last version of Windows for 32-bit

It's the end of the line for 32-bit operating systems, Microsoft has proclaimed at its annual Windows Hardware Engineering conference

After the software giant has gotten over its hangover from partying like it's 1999 with the release of Windows Server 2008, it will have one last 32-bit hurrah with a "release 2" update to Windows Server 2008, and that'll be it.

There will be no more versions of Windows -- on desktop or server -- that will work on 32-bit CPUs like Pentium 4 or Core Duo (first-gen MacBook owners, take note, Windows Vista will be the last version of Windows installable on your machine.)

The company's general manager for Windows Server platform, Bill Laing, confirmed that "Windows Server 2008 is the last 32-bit operating system (for desktops and servers) that we'll produce".

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18 Comments

Makes sense, 64 bit cpu's have been out for some time now, and add in the next version of vista is 3-5 years away from right now.

That and this is a good "push" to the software industry / and enough time to start thinking / do dual 32/64 bit versions of there future applications.

in a sense thats a good move,you can only go so far with 32bit,the real future is 64bit then 96 bit then 128 bit.but in a sense it is not a good thing.

soldier1st said,
in a sense thats a good move,you can only go so far with 32bit,the real future is 64bit then 96 bit then 128 bit.but in a sense it is not a good thing.

Are you sure about 96bit? I figured that the next hurdle would be 128.

128 bit??? That is an insane amount of memory support! I am sure there will be a time when 64-bit memory addressing is not enough, but that has to be a very long time from now. An 8-bit processor could support less than one K of memory, 16-bit: 64K, 32-bit: 4GB and 64-bit: 16.7 million TB (16EB). As you can see; each time there is a jump the gap between them grows by an exponential amount. When will we need more than 16 exabytes in a computer? I don't know, but at the rate memory has been increasing over the last 10 years it would take us about 40 years to reach the 64-bit limit. I am sure there will be technology breakthroughs that increase memory amounts far faster than expected, but that is still a lot of ground to cover.

So how much memory could a 128-bit system support? Well I can't explain that easily because there is no SI Prefix to express a number that large. It would be about 3.4 x 10^38 bytes.

I think they said this would be last 32bit OS even when it was still called longhorn lol but its good, MS is in a difficult position of balancing support for old hadrware and enhancements for newer hardware thats where most of their security holes come from, if everyone is forced to get a 64 bit processor then most software will use the full potential of 64 bit programming which is good for all of us.

it will have one last 32-bit hurrah with a "release 2" update to Windows Server 2008, and that'll be it.

Actually, they said R2 would be 64-bit only.

I was expecting to see a lot of negative comments from people about this (kinda like when Dell stopped putting floppy drives into their computers) but I'm pleasantly surprised at the reactions here.

I can't wait until 64bit is mainstream, when I build my next computer I'll be installing a 64bit Vista for sure, although I'll probably keep a 32bit XP for compatibility reasons (unless virtualisation is actually any good).

No, what you might be thinking of was that they said they would be pushing the 64-bit version as the main stream OS. That may not be the case with Vista now, but in another 18 months (well, but then Vista's replacement will be out) average new computers will be pushing up against the 32-bit limit.

Stephen Becker

While I am pleased that Microsoft will be essentially forcing the world to move to 64 bit in 4-5 years time, I find it a bit hypocritical of them when they cannot even make their own products work on 64 bit operating systems. Their fingerprint reader for instance still only has 32-bit drivers available.

Pathetic.

I' bet money that the next Windows OS will be on the market before the end of 2008. People are so quick to forget. Yes, the was a 5 year gap between XP and Vista, but what about before XP? Back then people actually complained that MS was releasing new versions too quickly. Windows 95 (late 1995), Windows 98, Windows 98SE (1999), Windows ME (2000), Windows XP (2001). And that is only looking at the home platform. On the other side there was NT 3.5 (1994), NT 4.0 (1996), Windows 2000 (1999) and Windows XP (2001).

Thing is... most people with the older iMacs use XP, and like everybody else can't really tolerate Vista. So the next version won't be much of an issue either

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