Vista users get the 64-bit blues

Microsoft is keen to stir up enthusiasm for Windows Vista, but when it comes to the 64-bit edition of the recently released operating system, the software giant is sending decidedly mixed messages. Vista is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, with the latter targeted at owners of recent computers with 64-bit processors. However, customers who purchase the retail version of Vista Home Basic, Home Premium or Business don't have the option of buying the 64-bit version directly.

Instead, they have to purchase the 32-bit version and then order a replacement CD from Microsoft, for which they are required to pay a postage charge. The charge is described as "minimal" by Microsoft, but comes in at just under AU$15 for Australian users.

The online ordering scenario is not straightforward either. To ensure that people don't try order upgrades based on pirate copies, or install the 32-bit OS on one system and the 64-bit OS on another, users have to provide the software product key. Credit card payment is the only option offered. The issue doesn't apply to the top-of-the-line Windows Vista Ultimate release, which does include 32- and 64-bit releases in the same package. Enterprise customers on subscription arrangements can also download the 64-bit versions directly.

View: Full Article @ ZDNet Australia

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If you activate a copy of the Business 64bit does that make your 32bit Vista unable to activate? Or can you switch back to 32bit later?

- EDIT -
And whys my comment in the wrong place, time codes/message order is all messed up.

Why would anyone use the 65bit version when the 64bit version still uses the 32bit version of the windows apps instead of the included 64bit versions...

If you are referring to the fact the Internet Explorer runs in 32-bit by default on the x64 version of Windows, there is a good reason for it. Internet Explorer is expected to be compatible with plug-ins and activex controls, 99% of which are compiled for 32-bit systems. You cannot run both 32-bit and 64-bit code in the same process, so to get around the problem, MS made IE 32-bit the default browser in x64. You have the option to switch to the 64-bit version if you'd like, but most users would rather keep their ability to view flash sites and upload pictures than get the miniscule benefit of running IE in 64-bit mode.

What a pain x)
I'm just glad I was clever enough to get the Oem version where I got x64 right away, which not only saved some money over Upgrade still, but also saved the additional money and all the hoops you have to jump through to get the x64 edition.

Pretty stupid of MS to punish the buyers of legal retail/upgrade versions this way. This will only deter more buyers from Vista, and the sales are already much morse (60% less) than the XP sales.

If Microsoft was smart they would have used Vista as the launch pad of 64 bit altogether instead of having to support both 32 bit and 64 bit platforms agian like Window XP.

Manufacturer's could write a single driver for Vista 64 and that would be it. In 3 or 4 years from today Vista 64 will make perfect sense and Vista 32 will seem like a waste of time.

EDIT: I suppose Windows Vienna will be a 64 bit only release.

That would have been suicide, there are way more 32-bit systems out there than 64. In 3 or 4 years we will be looking at a new version of Windows so how will it have been a waste of time?

tbh, youre absolutely wrong lol, hardgiant (err.. is this an allusion to some male ...... ? just kidding)
@TRC: 100%ly aggreed. well said

Glassed Silver:mac

They also share a lot of resources, so using Microsofts 'cdimage' tool, you can easily combine them onto a single layer DVD (as Winbeta have done )

mikey said,
They also share a lot of resources, so using Microsofts 'cdimage' tool, you can easily combine them onto a single layer DVD (as Winbeta have done )

when talking about x86 vs x64, pretty much every file is going to be different. winbeta removed things to make them fit (i think it was unnecessary foreign language recources, and possibly some drivers)

I got the free (power together) 32-bit Business version and have yet to order the 64-bit version although I am running RC2 64-bit without any problems. If I had bought Vista (any version) and then had to pay more for the 64-bit version I would be very upset at Microsoft. From what I have read they are pushing 64-bit hardware but then dumping on the people who take that path. Unsat.

99% of people with existing hardware won't get a noticeable advantage from going 64-bit. And only a small fraction of those even know what the difference is.

64-bit will be pushed on new systems (especially once they get up over 2GB). That's the way that makes most sense.

While I find it a little annoying that they charge to "go x64"... The price isn't to upgrade your CDKey at all. It's to receive a copy of the media. With my free power together key, I installed the x64 version and simply used that key to successfully activate.

So, long story short... Get a friend with a x64 Vista disc to make you a copy. =) Which, AFAIK, wouldn't be illegal as long as you're giving it to a licensed person with Vista.

Side note... Running two systems with Vista x64 since 11/16, I haven't had a single(or multiple =) case of incompatibility due to my arch... Go figure! =)

There should only be one version of Vista - Ultimate - with 32 & 64 bit versions on one disc. Everything else is MBA/marketing-driven crippleware.

Lets not forget the ability to remove the crap we never use (IE, Windows Mail, Media Centre, Movie Maker). But I agree there should only be one version in 32 and 64bit flavours

djprotoss said,

errr, then why does ultimate 32 & 64 come on the same dvd?

It does not. From what I've seen it is 2 DVD's in the package with one DVD containing the 32-bit version and another containing the 64-bit version

It would probably fit on a dual-layer (DL) DVD... That would have been nice, allowing you choose which version to boot/install.

Winbeta released a dvd image that contains the 32 and 64 bit versions of every edition of Vista, Starter through Ultimate.