Migrate Your Operating Systems to 64-Bit

February 9, 2012

Windows XP, Vista and 7 come in two major flavors. You can install a 32-bit or 64-bit version. It is important that you understand the difference and why it is important for you to start seriously considering moving to 64-bit if you haven’t done so already.

First, I’ll refer back to a post from two years ago where I discussed Memory and CorelDRAW. When running a 32-bit operating system, the computer will recognize no more than 4 GB of total memory and only around 3.5 GB of that is usable. A 32-bit application (CorelDRAW 6-X5 are 32-bit applications) can use no more than 2 GB. I’m sure most of you have other applications running. Maybe it is a tool for anti-virus and security. Or it could be a browser or mail reader. You definitely have the operating system running. All of those applications take memory and that may not allow you to even use the full 2 GB for CorelDRAW.

When you run a 64-bit operating system, you can have much more than 4 GB of memory. In fact, I don’t think a computer exists that will hold the amount of memory that Windows could use. Having all that extra memory allows CorelDRAW to have a better chance of using the full 2 GB possible.

Some software is available as a true 64-bit application. Those applications can address even more than 2 GB of memory. Certainly a 64-bit version of CorelDRAW is something desired by users. Now we can only wait to see if Corel will develop a 64-bit version.

One of the biggest things to consider when converting your operating system to 64-bit is whether you have drivers for all of your hardware. As many of you use output devices that are higher priced than a desktop inkjet, it is possible that 64-bit drivers don’t exist for that device. As an example, we use a disc duplicator that doesn’t have a 64-bit driver. We have dedicated an older computer to disc duplication since no new driver is coming.

For those who do have hardware without 64-bit drivers, you may want to consider connecting it to a computer dedicated to output on that device. On the computers you use to create artwork, install a 64-bit operating system and output to that device via a network. If you are using Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, you can also install a 32-bit Windows XP virtual machine at no extra cost.

I have also heard from a few users recently who find that CorelDRAW 9 doesn’t play well with Windows 7. That’s correct, it was released ten years before Windows 7. If you are going to update your computer, you also need to update your graphics software! I discussed this last month in Upgrades Are Required More Often Than Every Ten Years. One user even complained that they wished their new computer could run XP. Do you realize Windows XP was also released more than ten years ago and Microsoft will stop supporting it in April 2014? Vista support ends in April 2017 and Windows 7 in January 2020.

For now, start doing research on 64-bit drivers for your equipment. If they don’t exist, suggest to the manufacturer that you need 64-bit drivers. When you get a new computer (or upgrade an existing computer) give strong consideration to Windows 7 64-bit. Many users have already made this jump and it is something that everyone will have to make at some point. I find it very refreshing to always have extra memory available when needed. You can continue to put it off until later, but that only limits your productivity.

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