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Why Does Microsoft Still Offer a 32-bit OS? (backblaze.com) 367

Brian Wilson, a founder of cloud storage service BackBlaze, writes in a blog post: Moving over to a 64-bit OS allows your laptop to run BOTH the old compatible 32-bit processes and also the new 64-bit processes. In other words, there is zero downside (and there are gigantic upsides). Because there is zero downside, the first time it could, Apple shipped with 64-bit OS support. Apple did not give customers the option of "turning off all 64-bit programs." Apple first shipped 64-bit support in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in 2009. This was so successful that Apple shipped all future Operating Systems configured to support both 64-bit and 32-bit processes. All of them. But let's contrast the Apple approach with that of Microsoft. Microsoft offers a 64-bit OS in Windows 10 that runs all 64-bit and all 32-bit programs. This is a valid choice of an Operating System. The problem is Microsoft ALSO gives customers the option to install 32-bit Windows 10 which will not run 64-bit programs. That's crazy. Another advantage of the 64-bit version of Windows is security. There are a variety of security features such as ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) that work best in 64-bits. The 32-bit version is inherently less secure. By choosing 32-bit Windows 10 a customer is literally choosing a lower performance, LOWER SECURITY, Operating System that is artificially hobbled to not run all software. My problem is this: Backblaze, like any good technology vendor, wants to be easy to use and friendly. In this case, that means we need to quietly, invisibly, continue to support BOTH the 32-bit and the 64-bit versions of every Microsoft OS they release. And we'll probably need to do this for at least 5 years AFTER Microsoft officially retires the 32-bit only version of their operating system.
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Why Does Microsoft Still Offer a 32-bit OS?

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  • You can't collect surveillance data on people with older computers if you aren't offering them an OS that will run on it that can collect surveillance data for you, that's why.
    • Perhaps the question should be "Why does Microsoft still offer a spyware (and malware and adware and crippleware) OS?"

      • Because they're thieves. They're like pirates who were offered Letters of Marque; they're still scum, but they're legitimatized scum, but that doesn't mean they won't rob you blind.
  • by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:45PM (#54587507)
    I don't know why they offer a 32 bit still, but it sure is annoying
    my gaming machine threw a rod or something, I had to re-install, but bla bla bla the only license I could find in my big bin o' parts was for 32 bit windows 7, but they offered free win10 upgrade so what the hell I tried.

    Anyway long story short, even though I had 64 bit selected it ended up installing 32 bit windows 10.

    I ended up using my stupid 32 bit windows 10 to download 64 bit windows 10 installation media after extracting my CD-key from the registry I had to wipe the computer for like the 5th time in a row, and re-install 64 bit from scratch via a thumb drive.
    • by toadlife ( 301863 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:55PM (#54587609) Journal

      It probably would have activated automatically without extracting the CD key. Once you install and successfully activate Windows 10 on a computer, Microsoft records the hardware configuration in their giant database in the cloud and if you every do a fresh reinstall, it will recognize your computer and activate it without the need for the key. I went through the trouble of extracting the CD key on a little mini laptop that didn't have enough storage space to upgrade to the newest version of Window 10 (the laptop originally shipped with Win 8) and upon reinstalling, it automagically activated itself without me having to enter in the key.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:45PM (#54587509)

    Some computers still run on 32 bit processors. In many businesses you have the need to update software for security reasons but are unable to update hardware.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 09, 2017 @04:25PM (#54587875)

      THIS! Add to that the fact that some business only run 32bit legacy software and running a 64bit OS would do nothing but add overhead.

      Microsoft supports legacy computers and software much better than Apple does.

      Heck, I got a request today for a Windows XP ISO to rebuild a PC that runs machine control software.. (And no, it not connected to a network.)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 09, 2017 @06:00PM (#54588557)

        Also, only the 32-bit version of Windows still supports 16-bit applications written for DOS. Believe me, you think no one needs to run those, but they do.

      • by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @09:54PM (#54589701)
        +1 from me as well. I can't believe some of the previous replies all agreeing with this nonsense that because they want 64 bits the entire world needs to magically switch all of their existing infrastructure to 64 bits as well. There are vast, staggering amounts of gear still running on or controlled by or dependant on 32-bit code. Moving all that to 64 bits is a magnitude of effort that makes it essentially impossible. The reason why Microsoft still supports 32-bit code is that they can't afford not to, despite what the hipsters would want them to do. They care, or used to care, about existing customers. That's why Windows is the most popular (non-mobile) OS in the world, up until they went full retard with Windows 8 you could run whatever version of Windows was then current and plug in your existing, 10-20 year old devices and equipment, and they'd still be supported. Legacy support, taken to extremes (look at the entire database of legacy shims built into Windows), were what made Windows so popular.
    • But that 32-bit computers would you be installing Windows 10 on? I can see them providing 32-bit patches for older still-supported OSes, but for new stuff today? That does seem goofy.
      • Microsoft wants everyone to use Windows 10. Including the users of older computers (32bit CPU and/or less than 4GB RAM), so they made a 32bit version, it would be bad if 32bit version users were left out of the nagging, unintended upgrades, forced updates, forced reboots, telemetry and other fun Windows experience.

  • Because... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    For some people, 4096MB *are* enough. And why buy a new computer when your old is working fast enough for you.

  • So you're saying that Microsoft should make Windows OS X be 64-bit only because Apple did so?

    And because doing so would make sense?

    Are those really good reasons to make such a change? Did anyone ask marketing for their input?
    • I don't think the argument is written very clearly, but I think the central argument is more like, "64bit Windows can still run 32bit apps. 64bit Windows is objectively better. I don't like having to support 32bit Windows. Why is Microsoft still offering 32bit Windows?" I think the main reason he brings up Apple is to say, "Apple has done this for years. Why can't Microsoft?"

      And he has a point. The main reason that I can think of is that Microsoft must still be committed to supporting old hardware.

      • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@@@evcircuits...com> on Friday June 09, 2017 @04:30PM (#54587917) Homepage

        64 bit ms office doesn't work as well as 32 bit. This has been known since at least 2 office versions ago. Also Office plugins don't work because they plugin directly to Office memory space, not something like sockets or other common protocol.

        • I work in the process control industry, and many reporting modules for SCADA Historian software are only available for 32-bit Office (Wonderware is the first one that springs to mind).

          So unfortunately, 32-bit Office will probably stick around for a while longer (at least until software vendors rewrite their modules to be compatible with 64-bit Office).

      • I do not have any 32bit Windows 10 computers, but at least Windows 7 x64 cannot run 16bit software (unless I use XP mode), but 32bit version can. Also, some drivers or 32bit software does not work with 64bit OS. For example, DScaler4 with Leadtek Winfast PVR2000 analog TV input card (I use it when somebody asks me to record a VHS tape to DVD) is very unstable in Windows 7 x64, but works great in Windows 7 x86. So, my HTPC has 32bit Windows for this reason - it also has only 4GB RAM (a bit less usable) and i

  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:47PM (#54587535) Homepage Journal

    and Apple doesn't.

    Now you can run old custom 32 bit programs in a newer 64 bit OS and mostly it will run fine, but why replace "100% guaranteed to run" with "most likely will run"? Especially with old funky device drivers that were fine-tuned for the old setup?

    • by toadlife ( 301863 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:50PM (#54587555) Journal

      It's also about being able to run legacy 16 bit programs. The 32 bit versions of Windows NT have a 16 bit subsystem, while the 64 bit versions have a 32 bit subsystem, but no 16 bit subsystem.

      • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @04:35PM (#54587953)
        For those unfamiliar with the reasons here...

        When AMD developed x64, instead of creating yet another mode that the processor can be in, they "hijacked" the 16-bit mode. So an x64 CPU can simultaneously juggle (*) 16-bit and 32-bit, or 64-bit and 32-bit, but it cannot juggle 64-bit and 16-bit simultaneously.

        Also, its not going to ever change. The design specifically precludes mixing 64-bit and 16-bit because both sets of instructions use the same prefix byte to coerce the following instruction to/from the regular 32-bit version or the "other" version (16-bit or 64-bit.)

        And finally, the nail in the coffin, is once in 64-bit mode it cannot get back to 16-bit mode without a power down/reset. This part could be fixed, but that still doesnt do you any good mixing 16-bit and 64-bit.

        (*) "Thunking" between CPU modes.
  • by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:48PM (#54587543)

    64-bit versions of Windows do not support 16-bit components, 16-bit processes, or 16-bit applications [microsoft.com]

    That's why. There is still a TON of legacy apps out there in use that won't function properly. I don't have that problem. But it exists. And that's only one of the reasons. I'm sure there are other reasons.

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:53PM (#54587591) Homepage

      Also, don't device drivers for 64-bit Windows need to be signed? I.e. they need to be current device drivers in active development, which won't be the case for a lot of legacy hardware.

      • by ZiakII ( 829432 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @04:00PM (#54587647)
        You can still install the drivers. You just need to set the permission level using this:

        bcdedit /set nointegritychecks ON
        • So you need a system wide change to elevate the permissions temporarily? Does it work when you turn it back on? Why does Windows not have sudo?

          • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

            So you need a system wide change to elevate the permissions temporarily? Does it work when you turn it back on? Why does Windows not have sudo?

            It does, sorta: UAC. Either way it does not apply in this case. This change isn't a privilege elevation, it turns off a security feature that requires drivers to be signed. It's designed on purpose to be non-trivial to do to discourage using it.

          • Yes you do need a system wide change. And when you make that change, Windows will put a "Test mode" watermark on your desktop. No, the unsigned driver will not work when you turn it back on.

            Sudo isn't an apt comparison as it's not an access rights issue. I think MS considers it a security feature, that they really don't want defeated. It's somewhat understandable as vendors commonly provided unsigned 32 bit drivers, and users would just ignore the big red warning pop ups,

          • Windows has granular permissions. Not a primative 1970's all-or-nothing security model.

    • by harrkev ( 623093 )

      So, can anybody tell me why a 64-bit OS can't support 16-bit software? Is this some sort of laziness or artificial limitation imposed by Microsoft, or perhaps something caused by the 64-bit mode in the CPU itself?

      • The CPU still starts up in 8088 8 bit mode. The problem is that MS largely doesn't care about its legacy API. They don't reimplement them or improve them (when was the last time they improved or even touched the COM interfaces or old Win16 macros?), they just build more on top and when it breaks they say: just use the old version.

        • The CPU still starts up in 8088 8 bit mode. The problem is that MS largely doesn't care about its legacy API.

          What a bunch of crap.

          The hardware can't do it. End of discussion, liar.

          • Windows could emulate 16bit - the software is usually very old, so the performance impact of emulation should not be noticeable.

      • When Intel CPUs are operating in long mode (x64 code execution), they cannot be switched to 16 bit real-mode compatibility mode.

        To use 16 bit real-mode compatibility mode, the CPU must be running in legacy mode (x64 support disabled).

        The windows 16 bit API would occasionally require real mode coding, even though the bulk of operations were done in 16 bit protected mode. As a result, this cannot be executed natively on a x64 CPU which has been booted into long mode, and would require code emulation whi
        • by harrkev ( 623093 )

          Since you seem to have some clue about this.....

          It seems to me that every x86-64 CPU also has virtualization. Do you think that it might be possible to use virtualization "under the hood" to get 16-bits to run without having to install a 2nd OS? In other words: use virtualization without the user knowing or caring that virtualization is even being used.

          • > In other words: use virtualization without the user knowing or caring that virtualization is even being used.

            Yes, but read the use cases people are citing carefully. The typical reason people legitimately cling to 16 bit software is often due to some legacy software that has an unusual dependency on direct communication with hardware. The VM abstraction will likely break things the same way emulation does.

      • Hardware.

        The CPU shares the same flags and switches between both 16-bit and 64-bit mode. For instance there is an instruction prefix that indicates if the next instruction should use the current mode's word size or the word size of "the other mode."

        The difference between...

        add eax, ebx (32-bit)

        and both add rax, rbx (64-bit) and add ax, bx (16-bit)
        ..is a single byte that prefixes the instruction. Other than that the instructions are identically encoded. The prefix byte says "no not this mode dummy,
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        So, can anybody tell me why a 64-bit OS can't support 16-bit software? Is this some sort of laziness or artificial limitation imposed by Microsoft, or perhaps something caused by the 64-bit mode in the CPU itself?

        AMD designed x64 mode to not support 16 bit or "real" mode.

        The CPU still starts up in 8088 8 bit mode. The problem is that MS largely doesn't care about its legacy API. They don't reimplement them or improve them (when was the last time they improved or even touched the COM interfaces or old Win16

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      That's why. There is still a TON of legacy apps out there in use that won't function properly.

      At some point, you have to start asking whether the 16-bit app support exists because of the legacy apps or whether the lack of 32-bit versions of those apps is because the 16-bit app support exists.

      To put some hard numbers on this, Windows 95 brought 32-bit support to the platform in 1995. So all the 16-bit software out there is 22 years old. Continuing to maintain an entire operating system platform to support

      • These arent "apps" he is talking about.

        The "solution" of course is to buy new industrial equipment to replace the old that you are controlling with that 16-bit computer. So it''ll only cost a few hundred grand at best to move off of that 16-bit CNC setup. Not a big deal at all, right? Then they can run windows 10 too... thats an awesome operating system for industrial equipment. Honest.
      • These aren't "apps".

        These are things like the bespoke industrial-control software running a 50-ton press built in 1943, or an EDM cutter that still thinks it's speaking to an ASR-33 terminal at the other end of its RS-232 cable. These are hardware peripherals that would cost upwards of half a million dollars to replace, where reverse-engineering is nearly as expensive and considerably riskier.

        The cost of developing a 16-bit-compatible version of Windows is peanuts next to the cost of upgrading.

    • I think you found the answer. Where I work there are still applications will run on 32-bit and not 64-bit, although technically that's speaking of Windows 7 as OS. Not sure the software in question would run windows 10, 32 or 64-bit.

      I did buy some windows tablets and a small Raspberry Pi-sized device that run Windows in the last couple years (something about sub-$100 windows devices, I don't know, novelty I guess). The Raspberry Pi-sized device identifies the Atom as a "64-bit CPU" but for whatever reason

  • SCADA and other legacy industrial applications that still require the use of RS232

  • Microsoft doesn't offer 32- and 64-bit Windows in the same installer like Apple?

    Or Microsoft haven't abandoned 32-bit processors as Apple have done in 2014?

    Or Microsoft isn't Apple?

  • Duh! (Score:5, Informative)

    by YuppieScum ( 1096 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:52PM (#54587575) Journal

    It's not rocket science - many people still use PCs that have 32-bit processors.

    • I wondered if I was missing something more subtle. Looks like another case of "CEO fears he'll cease to exist if he doesn't make a noise" syndrome.

  • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:52PM (#54587581)

    Some software packages (stupidly) check to see if a WIndows OS is 32 bit or 64 bit before running or installing and if it's not 32 bit, they don't start. How do I know this? I know a person who runs their business on an outdated software package with exactly that limitation, which is why upgrading their office network was a hell of a challenge to ensure we got 32 bit versions of Win 7 Pro when we bought the equipment.

    Why don't they get a new version? Because the company that makes the software is out of business

    Why don't they use something else? Because they LIKE this package and for what it does, it works well.

  • by larwe ( 858929 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @03:55PM (#54587611) Homepage
    It's incorrect to say there's no downside to a 64-bit OS. The binaries are larger, inherently, because the operands are twice the width. This is significant for RAM-constrained systems, which is one of the reasons (for example) that netbooks with small RAM always shipped with 32-bit OSes even though Microsoft was already elbow-deep in 64 bit code in that era. Even MS-Office editions had recommended RAM minima for the 32 vs 64 bit editions that were different (and they also stated something to the effect of "you won't notice any functional difference between the two editions except that Excel can handle more rows and columns in the 64-bit edition" or something like that).

    That's the general answer. There is also a very specific answer in the case of Windows: 64-bit editions of Windows cannot run Win16 apps. There are still (FML) significant chunks of Win16 code out there, which everyone can agree is a pain in the ass but it's still a reality for some verticals. There may be some other compatibility considerations, too - right now I'm too drunk to check, but DOS emulation is different between the 32 and 64 bit editions.

    • by Mr307 ( 49185 )

      I keep wondering if people in general are thinking (wrongly) that 64bit is faster than 32bit as well.

      Off the top of my head SIMD style instructions/programming makes many programs on newer CPUs run faster when the bus isn't full of 64bit instructions and data.

      • I keep wondering if people in general are thinking (wrongly) that 64bit is faster than 32bit as well.

        They're not wrong, it's simply that the answer is nuanced.

        Intel and AMD CPUs will run properly compiled and optimized code faster in 64 bit mode than in 32 bit mode simply because there are a ton more general purpose registers available in 64 bit mode that aren't present when running in 32 bit mode. And while "more registers" isn't specifically a property of using a 64-bit processor (you could design an 8-bit processor with hundreds of registers if you wanted), in real world practical terms it does mean th

    • by Ramze ( 640788 )

      All of that is true, but given that 64 bit x86 compatible processors have been out for over a decade (about 14 years) and that most 32-bit installs of Win10 can't properly use 4 GB of RAM when the smallest RAM stick sizes that are economical are at least 4GB, there's not much use in Microsoft supporting them. Very few systems that could have upgraded from Win7 32-bit to Win10 32-bit aren't capable of also running Win10 64-bit. Anything pre-Win7 would have required a full wipe and install to Win10... which

      • by Holi ( 250190 )
        I don't think MS support for 32 bit has anything to do with your home pc. Look at other answers in the thread for why 32bit support is so important for industry. (hint its about really expensive devices)
      • All of that is true

        THE VERY FIRST THING WASNT TRUE - I DIDNT READ FURTHER

        64-bit apps still use a native 32-bit word size for everything but pointers, and most of the pointers in a compiled program are still 32-bit because they are "RIP Relative" ... Thats taking the 64-bit instruction pointer (RIP), adding a 32-bit value to it (relativity), to get another 64-bit pointer. Thats how all direct branch instructions work, be they absolute or conditional.

        The pointers that get stuck into structures... arent in the compiled prog

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The 64 bit footprint is bigger.
    I have a cheap-o Asus tablet hybrid thing. It's only about 3 years old. Still works. The CPU is 64-bit in theory, but the EFI bios only allows 32-bit Windows. It's tied to the license key or something.
    Installing software on the flash of this device is _tight_ and with 4GB or RAM there isn't a lot of real advantage to 64-bit Windows anyway.
    I think this article might have been written by someone who only gets use cases for modern high-performance machines.

  • Does one have to wipe the system and reinstall everything? or can you over-install the 64 bit OS and leave everything else intact?

  • Apple's 64-bit OS transition started in 2004, not 2009.
  • Believe it or not, there are businesses/people out there that still rely on 16 bit apps! They WILL run under Win32, but not Win64

    Windows only thunks back one level

  • Because in reality business, government and other large customers have an enormous sunk cost in legacy applications that don't run on 64 bit windows. While 16 bit applications won't run at all, a very large number of 32 bit applications also won't run properly on 64 bit windows.

    These applications run everything from factory machines to payroll and you can't simply replace them with a visit to Amazon. Replacing them can easily cause a chain reaction of expenses (hardware, software, machines, programming time

  • Some software doesn't run on 64 bit, a bit of a problem with the Windows legacy is that all forms of API, both public and private have to be continue to be supported, just like Itanium and SPARC, PPC or Alpha for certain Linux and Unix distro.

    Another issue is licensing, especially Database and data processing from big companies like IBM, Oracle but a lot of niche closed source software has the same problem, 64 bit versions simply cost more because back in the day, that's how you got access to more than 4GB

  • If you think that's bad, look carefully at the installer for MS Office 2016/365. If you do nothing, it still installs the 32-bit version by default.

    You can see Microsoft's own 32 vs 64 guide for Office here:
    https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Choose-between-the-64-bit-or-32-bit-version-of-Office-2dee7807-8f95-4d0c-b5fe-6c6f49b8d261

    The 2013 version of that guide still recommends 32-bit for most people, and I believe until recently the 2016 version did the same.
    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      Unless you need the extra memory for Excel there is no benefit to 64bit Office.
  • Pick one. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @04:22PM (#54587847)

    First we bitch at Apple because they stopped supporting 32-bit machines after 10.8. Now we bitch at Microsoft because they *still* support 32-bit machines.

    Please make up your mind, people.

  • Like Toshiba, offering 64-bit systems but hardlocking them to 2GB RAM in bios.

  • by Gen-GNU ( 36980 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @04:38PM (#54587969)

    Why does Microsoft still sell 32 bit versions of Windows? Because there is a demand for it. Some customers have a need for a 32 bit version of the OS, for either legacy hardware or software (or both). I don't work at Microsoft, but I would guess that the demand for a 32 bit version of the software is greater than the cost of producing and maintaining it. Therefore, they sell it.

    As the market for a 32 bit version of their OS dwindles, it will probably be retired when they don't make money by selling it. Until then, I would guess that they will keep producing it, since they want to, you know, make money by selling a product that people want to buy.

  • simple legacy apps and legacy hardware. shit ton of both still around. Using apple as an example is braindead, apple don't have a vast enterprise footprint with billions of lines of code in legacy apps.
  • The other comments here have already answered why MS still offers a 32-bit OS - not a hard question.
    What strikes me as weird is why many Linux distros today aren't offering a 32-bit OS. The next Debian release won't have a 32-bit version, for example. They should know that a good chunk of their users are computer hobbyists who run it on older, repurposed hardware. And not as old as you might think, Intel was shipping 32-bit Atoms through 2010 at least. I have one I'm using to this day as a low-power fileserver/seedbox/irc-bouncer.

    Really odd to see them drop x86 support when they support other weird architectures I haven't seen since the 90s, or ever. Does anyone know why?
  • No idea why, but the 64-bit Hololens runs 32-bit Windows. (Though the ability to run 16-bit applications is probably more important.)
  • the glorious opportunity to be embraced by our benevolent Micro$oft on both new and old machines to relentlessly guide us toward the cloud. The CLOUD! The cloud choose who will go and who will stay....(Toy Story). Also, I bet if you did a bit of digging and experimenting, you'd find that 32-bit Window$ 10 has fewer vulnerabilities and runs colder. No, you won't be playing new video games or graphic designing, but they probably serve a lot like what Raspberry Pi users do with their stuff. Simple things witho
  • That they offer it is no reason others must support it.
    It's a little ugly to be bothered at other people's lack of purity on matters like this. Nobody's making him do anything with it. Leave well enough alone.

  • Perhaps it makes sense for Windows to be 64-bit only, but Linux still runs very well on older hardware.

    Example: I support Linux laptops for several people, and not one of them has a 64 bit processor. Laptops that would otherwise end up as e-waste but are still very capable of doing everything the users want once you replace the hard disk with an SSD and max out the RAM.

  • 'there is zero downside' - Absolutely, completely Wrong
    'lower performance' - Wrong (depending on what you're doing)

    I'm running 64-bit on my desktops because they've got tons of memory, but...

    Besides 32-bit CPUs requiring 32-bit OS (which other people have covered extensively), if you've got a 64-bit CPU but only 512MB or 1GB of memory, like a Beaglebone Black or RasPi3, then running 32-bit OS and apps can save you quite a lot of memory and disk space because more things can be allocated in 4 byte chunks rat

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @06:21PM (#54588741)

    One: memory. 64 bit applications use more memory.
    Two: storage. 32 bit compatibility means 32 bit libs alongside 64 bit

    Finally, apart from compatibility, there isn't much upside for 64 bit if you have less than 4GB of ram.

    I don't know if Windows does anything with it, and in practice I don't think it's used, but https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] is an example of using 32 bit x86 but requiring x86_64 because of memory.

  • There are several answers. One that I have yet not seen posted is that the low-end Windows machine market is still big - and that low-end often has less than 4GB of RAM. Yes, still in 2017.

    2GB of RAM is the bare minimum for 64-bit Windows, and all that I have heard about running that way, is that it is not fun.
    It is not just about how native 64-bit apps use more memory but also about larger overhead in the OS itself.
    Some slightly better performance for numeric workloads is no benefit if it implies that apps

  • by kenh ( 9056 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @10:45PM (#54589899) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft gives OEMs free [theverge.com], as in beer, or low-cost [pcworld.com] 32-bit Windows OS licenses for equipment that falls within certain hardware limits (screen size, RAM,etc.), that is why you can find $89 Win10 Tablets [microcenter.com], for example.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!

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