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 dont 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 dont 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 doesnt 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.
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