Back in November of last year I switched one of the systems that I use regularly over from Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit to 64-bit. I had expected that the switch would be a painful one, but as it turned out, things went quite smoothly - so much so that now only Microsoft stands between me and 64-bit bliss.
When I decided to make the switch, I did it on a whim. If things worked out, I got full use of my 4GB or RAM (a move which would pave the way to 8GB of RAM), bit if things got a bit too hairy and I couldn't get the system running right, I'd abandon the experiment and go back to 32-bit and announce to the world that 64-bit is still not ready. Problem is, things went well. Too well. Everything just worked and I was lulled into thinking that 64-bit headaches were a thing of the past. Sure, the drivers I needed for a particular piece of hardware might not be on the CD supplied, but I'd be able to find them on the web when I needed them.
Then I got a Microsoft Fingerprint Reader for Christmas. This was a replacement for one that I'd had for a few years that had died back in June of July of last year. This is a fantastically useful bit of kit that means that I don't need to remember (or go look for) my passwords. It's also a lifesaver for anyone with a complex online lifestyle because it can also be used to store website usernames and passwords. Sure, I also keep them safe elsewhere, but the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader meant that all I needed to access programs and websites was my fingers, and I'm usually not without them. After my old one died I was lost for a few days but went back to using PasswordSafe.
Anyway, back to the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader sitting in its box on my desk. A quick read of the box - "Microsoft Fingerprint Reader ... blah, blah, blah ... easy password replacement ... blah, blah, blah ... makes Windows Vista more convenient ..." - made no mention of this device not being 64-bit compatible. The only promise that the box made was that it was "also compatible with Windows Vista."
Now you probably already know where I'm headed with this, so to cut a long story short, the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader isn't compatible with Vista 64-bit. So here I am, having made the switch to 64-bit on a pretty complex system, and the only real obstacle in my way is Microsoft's lack of support for what they claim is the future of operating systems (heck, the next version of Windows might only come in 64-bit flavors). Everything else works. Every other company has embraced 64-bit and made their stuff future-proof. Once again, Microsoft takes aim and shoots themselves squarely in the foot.