Patchy antivirus coverage for 64-bit Vista

Patchy antivirus coverage for 64-bit Vista

Summary: Virus Bulletin security certification body tested a number of antivirus software solutions for 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and discovered that security firms are struggling to provide satisfactory protection for the operating system and users.


Virus Bulletin security certification body tested a number of antivirus software solutions for 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and discovered that security firms are struggling to provide satisfactory protection for the operating system and users.

Here's how an article on describes the situation:

Of the 20 antivirus product tested, 35 per cent failed to meet the test's criteria. Six of the failing grades were caused by so called false positives, legitimate files that are incorrectly flagged as malware.

Here's yet another reason why 64-bit (at least a Microsoft 64-bit solution) is just not worth considering for desktop systems.  The operating system itself as a stand-alone product might be ready (and I use the word might pretty loosely here) but the hardware and software ecosystem that's needed turn a PC from a paperweight into a tool are far from ready.  64-bit is a rocky road of hardware issues, software issues, driver issues and now security worries, all for little upside in the end.  Unless your needs are pretty specific, it's unlikely that you need to switch to Vista 64-bit.

[poll id=163]

Microsoft might want us all to gradually abandon 32-bit for 64-bit, but before this happens the road has to be made easier and far less uncertain that it is currently.  Will 64-bit Windows be ready for prime-time come Windows 7?  You know, given the slow adoption of Vista 64-bit on the desktop and the lack on enthusiasm on the part of vendors to support it, I'm starting to doubt that the next version of Windows will be 64-bit only.  If consumers and businesses find the migration to Vista tricky when there are the two flavors to choose from, Windows 7 is going to be a total nightmare if it's 64-bit only.

Questions:  Does Microsoft need to switch to 64-bit?  Do customers need it?


Topics: Windows, Hardware, Microsoft, Processors

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  • I disagree that if Windows 7 is only 64 bit that ....

    ... it will be a total nightmare. Part of the reason Vista x64 has problems is because it was released in 64 and 32 bit doubling the qual;ification effort of everyone involved. Hardware and software vendors focused on the 32 bit version knowing that it would be the large runner. By focusing your resorces on 64 bit only the results are bound to improve.
    • Ringing Endorsement

      Not a total nightmare? Results are bound to improve?

      This is probably true, things will improve, but it's hardly an endorsement. Issues
      like this point to the fact that such a broad platform is not capable of stage
      managing this kind of transition well.

      Anyone purchasing a 64 bit desktop is probably not capable of utilizing the
      bandwidth unless they are doing some very calculation-heavy things, like video
      editing, 3D rendering, or science calculations. For the most part, 64 bit on the
      desktop, is a bragging right, nothing more. Unfortunately, the person who buys
      bragging rights, is the same person who responds to stage management.
      Harry Bardal
    • 64 bit Windows will improve

      There is no doubt the the 64 bit Windows will improve. It has so far to go that almost anything will be an improvement !
  • 64 Bit printer drivers lacking

    In addition to poor antivirus support for 64 Bit Vista, there appear to be very few HP Laserjet drivers available for it either. My latest HP laptop came preloaded with Vista 64, and I'm probably going to downgrade it to Vista 32 because it doesn't support my HP Laserjet 1020 printer, which runs wonderfully under 32 bit. what a mess.
  • "The OS might be ready, but the HW and SW isn't"

    Silly me, all my life I thought the OS was supposed to be the interface between the HW and SW, but apparently the world has changed... The OS has now become the centre of the universe and the other system parts have to adapt.

    Another apparent trend is that hardware support is going to be outsourced to 3rd parties, same as security has been outsourced earlier.

    Exactly _what_ tasks are left for the MS OSes then....?
  • Hocus pocus

    Saying an OS is strictly 64bit at this time is more of a marketing gimmick than something useful. Even then coding drivers as 64 bit doesn't make sense either when some such as the legacy devices don't address more than 8 anyway, so what is the point? You would actually loose efficiency.

    On the other hand, using a 64 bit OS to go beyond the current 4gb memory barrier will be a must moving forward, but it should be able to run 32 bit programs as well as 64. What is the point of writing something in 64 bit code if it will never utilize huge chunks of memory? Instead the OS should manage it. And it should be invisible to the user and not matter materially what bit width it is as long as it performs to spec.
  • MS has already said Windows 7 will be both 32- and 64-bit.

    It won't be 64-bit only.
  • Leopard

    The open architecture juggernaut is once again the scapegoat for what might be
    seen as a Microsoft failing. Blame is getting deflected. It's the better solution when
    there are so many around to shoulder it. The accountability gap widens further.

    Problem is, Microsoft is the architect of open architecture. They received their
    mandate from the noble user.

    While Leopard takes a logical and seamless transition to 64 bit, Windows users are
    left with their fake marketplace, where Windows can only really compete with
    itself. So pick 32 bit versions of Ultimate, or Business or Basic Vista, or stick with
    95 or 2000, or XP SP1 or 2. Heck, stick with ME if you like. 64 bit as either a
    bragging right or as a useful tool will not be effectively available soon.

    As of now, Tiger addresses more than 4 Gb of memory with 64 bit capability. As
    of October, Leopard will be fully 64 bit and will accept both 32 bit apps and
    drivers and will work with them seamlessly.

    So not to worry, 16 core Xenon desktops and servers will be available to do any of
    the heavy lifting that may come up. Full 64 bit support will be available for
    bragging rights or legit uses within 3 short months. It will bear an Apple logo
    though. Is that a problem for anyone?
    Harry Bardal
    • Far from logical

      Sorry, but having lived through the 16 to 32-bit transition in the mini-computer OS world one can argue that Apples approach is going to cause a lot of problems.

      Changing the driver from 32-bit to 64-bit involves a lot of effort besides a recompile. The devices need to be shaken out for 64-bit addressing in DMA, and the interfaces need to address the problems of calls that pass pointers in a data structure where now the poitner size has changed.

      Trying to use 16-bit drivers in a 32-bit OS, lead to a nightmare of code hacks. First, all the old drivers only got requests with data in the old space, so even though the device could have handled it a 64-bit application passing in a buffer discoved that the buffer was copied to low address space before s write (and similar actions on a read).

      It was even worse for I/O controls with structures with pointers, here some OS'es created the "short pointer" / "long pointer" nightmare and made application have to modify malloc's to indicate the desired pointer size. This lead to hacks that stayed around for a long time.

      Microsoft is crwating pain with the requirement of all drivers 64-bit, but in the previous transition, most competant OS people concluded it was the only intelligent thing to do, and the marketing dweebs had really messed up with the compatibility requirement.
  • Exactly _what_ tasks are left for the MS OSes then....?

    It seems to me their biggest effort nowadays is marketing the OS..........
  • Who cares if the AV coverage is "patchy"?

    Why does anyone want one of the MANY (worthless) AV offerings there are for even 32bit Windows in the first place? They are popular for a simple reason: "reporters" who work for these Net Mags write pieces which glorify useless software, because their publishers get paid for such "fluff" pieces.

    A few 64-bit AV products which work WELL are already on the Market, such as Eset's NOD32 AV. Such products NEED more coverage by the Press, since they actually do what they are advertised to do for both 32-bit and 62-bit systems, and are relatively inexpensive to boot.

    So who cares that there is "patchy AV coverage for 64-bit Vista"? I certainly don't.

    Donald McDaniel
  • Love Vista x64

    I have no problems with it what-so-ever. My 32bit software runs fine on it, My hardware runs fine, My boot times are faster then on WinXP, drivers are still a bit shakey, I dont blame MS for that I blame the Vendors, most of them offer 64bit support for their New hardware. I have 2 webcams, one is about 8 months old one is about a year old, my 8 month old camera has x64 bit support my 1 year old one I have to buy the new Logitech Messenger camera my old one Logitech is not making drivers for. In time everything will move over to x64 just like in time everything moved from 16bit to 32bit. When Win95 first came out hardly anything was compatible with it. When Game makers can see what x64 can do, when Video Editing companies see how much time it will save rendering a video and 64bit they will all change over.
    If you say that the average home user does not need it I agree. I agree for now. Then again do they need the system they are on now?? I mean Windows 3.11 (16bit) will allow you to browse the web and check email and play videos and play games, why upgrade at all? Why not stay still and do not upgrade at all? So what if we will have a stagnant industry? We don't need that speed or power, Or do we? I see the average user taking photos and wanting to edit them, why wait 10 minutes to render a photo when it can take 2 minutes?? I see the average user editing a home video and adding some effects and transitions to it. Yes in time people will move to x64, maybe not now but within a couple of years. Just like everyone moved from 16 to 32 bit. You do have the choice. If you dont have any reason to upgrade then dont, its that simple, If however you hear that Sony is releasing their 64bit version of Vegas by the end the year and you want to have the OS already loaded hopefully bug free by the time it comes out then upgrade.
    Yes there are some things I dont like, mostly I dont like how long its taking ATI and Nvidia to realease good drivers for it.
    I use Symantec Corp. Antivirus and it works great on x64.
    • 16 bit browsing..?

      [b]<snip> I mean Windows 3.11 (16bit) will allow you to browse the web and check email and play videos and play games, why upgrade at all? <snip>[/b]

      If I recall correctly, Win 3.11 required an add-on (Win32) to be installed before Netscape would work.
  • Gee? An MS OS Screwup...

    How can this possibly be?

    After the howling success of Vista 32 with users converting in droves (back to XP) how can it be that Vista 64 is a problem?

    Can you say it: MS has a GAF [give a f&ck] attitude towards users.

    If you are a slack, lazy, stupid (Ballmer) monopolist incapable of real innovation, this is the kind of thing you do - Alpha testing on your customers because, what the hell, they can't switch to anything else.

    MS = a rotting heap of dung.
    Jeremy W
  • Only partly true

    I am using Vista x64 for couple of months now. I really had almost no problem with it except for Vmware server (free), that doesn't work on it but was the reason, I switched to x64 version because of RAM issues :-)
    But it was my bad (poorly thought) decision but I expect Vmware to soon release working version.
    Beside that, it is stable and good and almost all SW works perfectly, AV is Avast and it is good enough for the job.

    if you go to x64, you must know why and what to expect. It really isn't MS fault, that just about everything in the world isn't yet compatible with Vista64. If only I could use VM for those, that don't work ;-)
  • Windows 64 - A Required Upgrade (in time)

    The biggest problem with 32bit is the 4GB (or 3GB, depending on your point of view) memory limitation. With Vista, some people are already recommending at least 2GB of RAM. In addition, many systems work best with memory in pairs due to using double channel architectures.

    Do you really want to get a new computer that is capped at the minimum practical recommendations? Gamers always want to push the limits, and video editors (which includes many home users) should do so. This means that gamers and home users should use 64bit Windows, so they can use 4GB+ of RAM.

    Unfortunately, this means that some older things won't work. Most 32bit apps will work, but 32bit hardware won't.

    Again though, this only excludes older hardware. And any hardware that doesn't include 64bit drivers is as a category older, as 64bit Windows-based OSs have been out for several years now, in either XP or Vista flavors. If hardware vendors chose not to update their drivers, that's their fault. Just like a company that never made their stuff to work correctly run on Windows 95.

    Yes, Microsoft would be better to include backward driver compatibility, so 32bit drivers would work on Vista 64. But as they would be quick to point out, this introduces inherent instability issues. And Microsoft products already have enough trouble with instability.

    What I did: I added a new Vista 64 system to my current XP one, and I only put on it things that work on it. Most things already do work, but the few that don't I will keep on the older one. Eventually I will be able to phase out the older one and use only the Vista system.

    Oh, and AVG has a free 64bit antivirus...
    • 64-bit Windows

      I am using 64-bit(x64) Windows XP and have been using it for a while. I prefer to work in my 64-bit environment as it is faster and has less problems.

      I do however hate the fact that some of the hardware that I have and want to use only works in 32-bit Windows and find myself booting into 32-bit just to use my hardware. One piece of hardware that I use a lot as of late is a little voice recorder to record meetings and such and I later dump the audio onto the computer in .MP3 format. Another piece of hardware that I use that does not have 64-bit(x64) support is a Logitech force feedback joystick. I am frustrated that Logitech has no intentions of providing support for this joystick as they say it is not a true HID device . . . I have tried to use the eCare Internet Security suite but learned that it also does not support Windows X64 edition.

      I am thankful for one thing at least. I have found an anti virus program that works and seems to be fairly good --- Avast, as with AVG Avast is free to use. There are pay versions but the personal version is free.
  • 64-bit Vista definately worth considering for desktop

    You are an idiot to think 64-bit Vista is not ready for the desktop. There are PLENTY of anti-virus solutions available. This is basically a "Chicken/Egg" argument. SO, are you ahead of the game, or being an ass?
  • Vista 64 bit

    I'm using it on a dual Core AMD CPU, VMware WS with
    32 bit XP, 32 Bit Vista and Kubuntu.
    I am using NOD32 for 64 bit, all seems to run OK
  • Sheer Raw Power

    I am running vista on a new Toshiba Sat.series with 2 gigs of mem.' It runs great, don't everybody want an OS that just BURNSSSS.