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Windows 7 will be released only 3 days from now. If there are a bunch of machines

1) Quad Core, 4GB machines
2) Core2Duo, 2GB machines
3) HyperThread 3.2GHz, 1GB machines

are there pros and cons to installing 32-bit vs 64-bit Windows 7 on them?

For example, the 4GB machines might benefit from being able to use all 4GB instead of about 3.2GB if it is 32-bit.

But 64-bit version is said to have wrappers for many apps, so will they run slower as a result?

Besides, I think if a machine has XP, then you can consider keeping it as XP (especially since 512MB machines cannot install Win7). But if a machine has Vista, it is definitely good to upgrade? (unless you want to save the money if the machine is not going to be used too often or only as a second machine).

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Windows 7 64-bit will munch more memory than 32-bit, but it's rock-solid from the past 2 months of personal use. I've also placed it on my media center (the 32-bit Win7 edition) and it is quite fast considering only 1GB of RAM is available, and a low-end AMD X2 is powering that machine.

It's a great step up from Windows XP, and features an environment which receives more updates, more support, as opposed to XP, which will stop receiving support later down the line, not to mention something I read recently about an older bug in it which wasn't going to get fixed.

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Agreed! I would recommend 64bit if the system is capable. Ram is cheap, 64bit ready system gives you the option of adding more ram if you need it. –  J Sidhu Oct 19 '09 at 20:42

WoW64 (at Wikipedia) is generally pretty good for dealing with 32-bit apps on a 64-bit system and doesn't have a huge overhead but you really need to test your apps and see how they perform and if they will run. From the wikipedia article:

32-bit applications that include kernel-mode device drivers, or that plug into the process space of components such that are implemented purely as 64-bit processes (e.g. Windows services or Windows Explorer) cannot be executed on a 64-bit platform.

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Another thing to keep in mind, I read that Software which not supports 64Bit will not get the Windows 7 Ready thing. So soon or later all things go 64 Bit anyway.

Since I have an 64Bit capable CPU, a few years now. I only used 64 Bit cappable OSes. XP 64, Vista and currently the RC of Windows 7 and I never have had any Problems nor Speed Issues with 32 Bit applications.

In the first 64 Bit era, many drivers of actual Hardware has no drivers supporting 64 Bit, but these days are long gone.

Many people only look at the software they are running and say oh look, in 64 Bit software xy runs 1% slower in 32 Bit emulation, than in real 32 Bit Mode. But in my opinion the boost that your OS gets out of the 64 Bit is much more than 1% compared to a specific Software.

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