Vista users get the 64-bit blues

Vista users get the 64-bit blues

Summary: 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.

TOPICS: Software, Processors

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 don't 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 don't 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 doesn't 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.

Where's the 64-bit version?
Despite those complications, Microsoft is keen to spruik the 64-bit edition. "If your system features a 64-bit processor, you can take advantage of its advanced design by ordering 64-bit software media," its upgrade site proclaims.

"You'll get the same interface, features, and functions, but you'll get them in an operating system that takes advantage of access to vastly more memory.

One irritated user who contacted ZDNet Australia was shocked to discover that the 64-bit version had not been included. "Why didn't [Microsoft] just put it in the box or even on the same DVD as the 32-bit version?" the user, who did not want to be named, asked. "It isn't even clearly written on the outside of the box that it is only the 32-bit version inside -- it is written in very small print on the bottom."

Such a strategy wouldn't be tolerated in other market segments, according to the user. "Imagine going into a shop and buying a music CD only to get it home and open it up and find a bit of paper inside telling you to go online to pay to have the actual CD mailed out to you at an additional cost."

Microsoft did not respond to repeated questions from ZDNet Australia about why it had pursued this strategy, or its expected level of demand for 64-bit packages. Its upgrade site confirms take-up may be limited. "The 64-bit version of Windows Vista is not for everyone. Please confirm that your system, applications, and devices are compatible with a 64-bit edition of Windows Vista before installing."

Topics: Software, Processors

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  • Typical of 'big company' ignorance

    I am pro-Windows, especially in the desktop environment but even I acknowledge that this is a fatal failure by Microsoft to recognise that 64 bit computing is being taken seriously by their punters. Microsoft should wake up to this situation and spend that extra 50c on adding the 64 bot disc to boxed copies of ALL versions of Windows. People who purchase the entry level versions are just as entitled to fair treatment as people such as myself who can afford to splurge on Vista Ultimate.

    Get a conscience Uncle Bill.
  • Sign off things to come ?

    Similar situation with Office 2007 OEM - Medialess Kit give Licence number only no CD, then order install disk then order backup CD for client.

    Bill this is just a money grab - Open soruce is looking better everyday.

  • Contempt To Consumer

    This kind of behaviour shows nothing but contempt and distrust to consumers. It like the DRM problem. The only people affected are those who bothered to pay out the money honestly in the first place.

    I am sure ACCC would be interested in this. I remember compaining about a similar situation were a popular accounting software required me to pay to have a key reactivation after a previous install. When I complained, the ACCC told me they were already investigating the company for not having clearly noted on the outside of the packaging that further costs could be involved.
  • Who would want 64bit Vista anyway

    Whenever there is a story on Linux, either the article or a number of comments to that article mentions that availability of drivers is a problem in Linux.

    Compared to driver availability for 64bit Vista, Linux driver availability, 64 bit or otherwise, looks like heaven. Strangely enough nobody seam to complain.

    There is not even much hope that it will get much better, even 64bit XP is worse than Linux and 64bit XP have been around for a while.
  • 64 bit

    Most users that have no knowledge of computers would install the 64 bit(Its bigger than 32) and they will have all driver problems related to 64 bit Vista.
    This would not be good publicity. Now only users that realy want it and maybe understands it will go throug the truble. (Its a pitty hardware makers really need the pressure, since most of them are lazy on the driver front)
  • Totally agree

    If people don't make a stand companies like microsoft will be able to pull any stunt they want to. They've lost my business, I've almost completed transfering my 2 laptop, my pda, and my 3 desktop pc to ubuntu. If enough people put voice to our complaints microsoft has a choice. Does it continue as it is and lose customers or does it poull its head out and get back to providing a service to the consumer? Thank you and goodnight, I'll be here all week.
  • Graphic artists and Photographers

    Graphic artists and photographers are hailing the 64 bit innovations as a gift. Photoshop, for example, can use memory above 4GB as a scratch disk on 64 bit XP; people who use these systems are not computer experts and the whole idea of Windows is to shield the user from the guts of the system.

    Your typical photographer, for example, is intimidated enough with digital capture, and the last thing they want is to have to deal with a strange OS that requires hunting drivers and manual configuration.

    Microsoft goofed (again) by not distriubiting 64 bit Vista with their Action Pack subscription. There's more interest than they realize.
  • 64 bit Visa - Microsoft looses the plot

    The mover can only be profit motivated; I suspect that both versions could fit on the one DVD. It also means you have to wait to install the OS of install the 32 bit version and the the 64 bit ... what are the chances that this will require a clean install? Typical misreading of the consumer market by Mircrof$oft.
  • 64 bit OSes

    Running Mepis, everything on my new MSI AMD system simply works, right off the LiveCDrom!

    No "driver" issues, everything mounts, built into the kernel! Plug in any camera, USB or Firewire device, and they pop up on screen! True Plug 'N Play!

    Have true 64 bit Applications and the Mepis OS all installed, and running, in 9 minutes, on AMD AM2 3000+ system, with 512Mb DDR RAM!

    Even Microsoft's system and applications run just fine in the Beryl cube on screen! (see it on Youtube, search word "Linux").

    The only thing that doesn't work in Linux is the Microsoft FUD!

    Even,, and the Redmond network on 'campus', run on/behind and are routed on Aruba Linux appliances, all on GNU/Linux, or *BSD, and do NOT run the MS Virus Magnet!

    Even Microsoft endorses the 'Nix OSes for security, stability, safety, competency! Read the copyright list in your MS system, and see the many FOSS developers listed! Join them, and use what Microsoft uses, GNU/Linux!
  • Retards

    Big &&#$% deal.

    This just another example of people getting unreasably fired up over nothing - just because it's MS.

    MS will be shipping zillions of the these fricking things in 32 bit, almost no-one will install 64 bit because it's just too early, so what's the point? All that extra cost for nothing.

    MS will not be making money out of this. And $15 bucks.... WHO CARES?????

    pisses me off
  • What a snively article....

    I use Vista 64 for a home music studio and believe me, for content creation, it's a big step forward. It installed on my Conroe dual core system without a hitch. I now have access to all 4GB of my RAM. With RAM prices so low, it makes even more sense right now, especially for content creation. Even HP has released Vista 64 drivers for my LaserJet printer!
  • Totally worthless

    I purchased 64-bit Vista, upgrading from 32-bit XP. Any smaller software package (like the ones that aren't updated regularly) will probably not run on Vista x64. Drivers are not yet available for many devices, including my older Zen Touch mp3 player; so now I have no way to use a $200 device. Similarly, many small pieces of freeware that I need for my classes are totally non-functioning on Vista.

    What are the advantages? None that I can see. Differences? My computer came with IE, and IE 64-bit. No difference in the way they run. Don't waste your time, people.
  • Yes, but...

    "It's a big step forward." What do you mean? Vista x64 is "better" for most applications, it's just more complicated -- and unnecessary complication makes things worse. XP can handle 4GB of RAM, and believe me, there is NO reason you would need more at this time.

    "Even HP has released drivers for my LaserJet printer!" That fact that you find that to be a draw is frightening. It is totally essential to have up-to-date drivers released. I have an HP LaserJet too -- there were no drivers for months, then this summer there were beta drivers released, and now, almost a year into Vista's lifecycle, I finally have drivers! Meanwhile, my NIC, optical audio port, Firewire controller, and mp3 player are all missing drivers. Unacceptable for the so called "next-gen" of the most widely disbursed software on the planet!
  • Scammers

    It's like the xbox as well... sell the system but then have to buy a remote to watch movies. A fuction which is already built into the system but dormant untill a remote is bought.
    What a fag.
  • ??

    No remote needed to watch movies on XBox. Just use the controller.
  • spruik?

    really? spruik? what is that, russian?
  • re: Graphic artists and Photographers

    if u wanna stick with 32 bit windows but need memory above 4 GB, i recommend using windows server 2003 R2 SP2. it outperforms XP both 32 and 64 bits in anyways! u can use XP drivers for it. u will see a huge performance from ur computer. i bet u wont be disappointed.
  • re: 64 bit

    if u hv 64 bit computer, u surely wanna install 64 bit OS too to get something out of it. it has nothing to do with amateur user. but has something to do with common sense but its nature.u go ask urself about this issue. i'm sure the manufacturers who made the box also provide the 64 bit driver along with 32 bit driver in the cd.
  • Vista 64 scram

    I installed Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 on my Vista 64 rig. The box says System Reqiuirements= Windows Vista or XP with latest service packs installed..

    And it screws up on Vista 64 will not even let you boot since an security update from Microsoft. Its OK on Vista 32!

    The time has come for software manufacters to be forced to put on the box 'Suitable for Vista 32 & 64', or just 'suitable for32' 'or suitable for 64'. Phone calls to Corel UK they want your credit card number before they connect you to support. Its the £30 to ask the question and if they have to get back to you with and answer by phone another £30 etc of a premium phone call line.

    Its not just Corel, Netcom5 and many more are ripping us off.