The 64-bit editions of Windows 7 overcome the application incompatibility issues that affected the 64-bit edition of earlier versions of Windows. The 64-bit drivers are now readily available for most commonly used devices in the 64-bit edition of Windows 7.
|Advantages of Windows Seven 64 bit edition|
The features in the 64-bit editions of Windows 7 are identical to their 32-bit counterparts. However, there are several advantages of using a 64-bit edition of Windows 7.
The fact that 64-bit processors can process more data for each clock cycle enables your applications to run faster or support more users. In workstation computers, faster processing means that applications run more quickly, particularly those that are processor intensive. To benefit from this improved processor capacity, you must install a 64-bit edition of the operating system.
The performance of a computer that runs a large number of programs, or runs programs that require large amounts of memory, is affected adversely if there is insufficient physical memory available to the operating system. A 64-bit operating system can address memory above 4GB. This is unlike all 32-bit operating systems, including all 32-bit editions of Windows 7, which are limited to 4 GB of addressable memory.
|Note: The 32-bit editions of Windows 7 cannot access all of the 4 GB of memory to run user programs. They are limited to approximately 3 GB of memory regardless of how much memory you install on the computer. The 32-bit editions of Windows 7 use the additional memory (up to 4 GB) to run system-related services and programs.|
The following table lists the memory configurations supported by 64-bit editions of Windows 7.
Windows 7 Edition Home
Home Basic / Home Basic N 8 GB
Home Premium 16 GB
Professional / Professional N 128 GB or more
Enterprise / Ultimate 128 GB or more
|Note: In theory, the maximum amount of memory a 64-bit computer can address is 16 Exabytes (16.8 million terabytes). However, most manufacturers impose artificial limits considerably lower than this value.|
If you anticipate the need to run several memory-intensive programs, deploying a 64-bit edition of Windows 7 will improve your computer’s performance. If any computer that you have has more than 4 GB of memory installed, you must install a 64-bit edition of Windows 7 to access the memory beyond 4 GB.
Improved device support
Although 64-bit processors have been available for some time, in the past it was difficult to obtain third-party drivers for commonly used devices, such as printers, scanners, and other common office equipment. Since Windows Vista first released, the availability of drivers for these devices has improved greatly. Because Windows 7 is built on the same kernel as Windows Vista, most of the drivers that work with Windows Vista also work with Windows 7.
The processor architecture of x64-based processors from Intel and AMD support the following features that improve security:
1. Kernel Patch Protection: this prevents software from modifying the operating system kernel.
2. Mandatory kernel-mode driver signing: signed drivers indicate that a driver has been sourced from a safe and trusted vendor. In 64-bit editions of Windows 7, all kernel-mode drivers must be signed digitally.
3. Data Execution Prevention: this is implemented at the hardware level rather than by software in the operating system and helps prevent buffer overflows that malicious software uses to cause system failures.
Limitations of the 64-bit editions
The 64-bit editions of Windows 7 do not support the 16-bit Windows on Windows (WOW) environment. WOW enables the operating system to run early Windows and DOS applications. If your organization requires legacy 16-bit applications, one solution is to run the application within a virtual environment by using one of the many Microsoft virtualization technologies available.