Microsoft: Almost half of Win7 users run the 64-bit version

Could new 64-bit PCs soon become the norm rather than the exception? If the latest data from Microsoft is any indication, we’re well on our way there. Here are the numbers Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc posted on the official Windows blog late yesterday:

Yes, you’re reading that right. As of June 2010, 46% of Windows 7 systems run a 64-bit version of the operating system, versus 54% for 32-bit. I’m not sure why there’s a "Total" column in there, since one would hope the numbers add up to 100%, but you get the idea. x64 really seems to be taking off.

LeBlanc names a few reasons for this broad adoption: cheaper RAM, more 64-bit CPUs, more compatible hardware and software, and more businesses jumping ship. Market research firm Gartner reportedly expects that 75% of all business PCs will run an x64 version of Windows by 2014. We’ve certainly seen our fair share of pre-built consumer systems running a 64-bit edition of Windows 7, as well. (Thanks to Ars Technica for the link.)

Comments closed
    • Jon T
    • 12 years ago

    I’ve had to roll out many 32-bit Windows 7 machines due to the lack of Cisco VPN client at the time – and corporate policies which would only allow that client to be used.

    I’ve had to roll out a load more to run legacy 16-bit applications.

    Also, I’d check this list before you purchase any licences: §[<http://support.microsoft.com/kb/282423<]§

    • Sunburn74
    • 12 years ago

    Anything that brings forwards the hopeful introduction of 64 bit flash is a good thing.

    • shank15217
    • 12 years ago

    But it’s more than 32%, isn’t that good?

    • dustyjamessutton
    • 12 years ago

    And the scary part is, not too long until we have 64-bit native viruses become commonplace.

    • dashbarron
    • 12 years ago

    I had a friend who adopted back with the AMD. They were so excited to see 64-bit come to fruition and were of course claiming how much more faster/better their systems were going to be. It’s sad that he wasn’t right, that it is taking this long to drive support. Win 7 really should have been 64-bit only.

    • dashbarron
    • 12 years ago

    I’m so confused…. 64-bit fanbois?

    • jackbomb
    • 12 years ago

    Yeah, it’s pretty surprising that the OS with 93% market share made 64-bit popular.

    • dustyjamessutton
    • 12 years ago

    I’ve been running 64-bit operating systems exclusively since Windows XP x64 Edition beta 2. And yes, always the 64-bit versions of Linux as well. Ever since I’ve had my Athlon 64 3000+, I’ve been running x64 OS’s. It is exciting to see more and more people using 64-bit Windows, however, kind of a bummer as well because I used to be able to give computer novices the impression that I ran some sort of top-secret insider OS whenever I mention running a 64-bit OS and they had no clue what that was. I would just tell them, “Oh, 64-bit is for more advanced users and more powerful computers…” and other nonsense. Ok, so I lied to them, and yes, I put myself on a pedestal. Oh well, guess I have to look for something else to purchase that only I will have and no one else will have in this podunk little Idaho town.

    • Graphic67
    • 12 years ago

    #39 … I upgraded 3 … I expect that the special pricing on student / educator upgrades along with the initial Family Pack upgrades quite a few systems out there were upgraded. I don’t recall similar pricing for upgrades in earlier windows versions so that was a bit of a game changer for the scheme of buying a new computer to get the latest OS. Also, unlike earlier times in the PC universe, a three year old machine can still be quite usable these days.

    • Maxwel
    • 12 years ago

    I am of course taqlking about drivers. You fanbois need to give it up.

    • UberGerbil
    • 12 years ago

    A network that can’t handle 32bit and 64bit clients is pretty broken.

    Now, if you have peripherals like networked printers that don’t have 64bit drivers, or you’re just trying to maintain a homogeneous client fleet, that’s a different question. But that’s not a function of the network.

    • travbrad
    • 12 years ago

    And a network can’t have both 32-bit and 64-bit clients on it? Wow I must have some special routers/switches and didn’t even realize it.

    • jpostel
    • 12 years ago

    Had to look it up: §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_atom<]§ I must admit that I forgot the original Silverthorne Atoms were 32bit only. The new Pineview ones are x64 capable. I have a couple Atom systems in the house (1 netbook, 1 nettop) and both are x64 capable. I have Win7 x64 running on one, but not the other, but it was simply an oversight on my part when I was building it. I am just standardizing on x64, even though there is no real advantage for most of my systems.

    • Saribro
    • 12 years ago

    Well the problem here is Atom, or better: Intel’s choice to limit a lot of Atom models to 32bit (even though they are 64bit capable).

    • packfan_dave
    • 12 years ago

    I doubt it. Very, very few people ever upgrade their OS; you usually ‘upgrade’ by getting a new PC with a new OS version.

    • packfan_dave
    • 12 years ago

    If it were up to me, the only way to get 32-bit Win7 at retail (or from a major OEM through consumer channels) would be to buy a netbook. Otherwise, you could only get it through enterprise licensing or MSDN / Technet. And except for Starter, I’d charge more for 32-bit, and make loud presentations at dev conferences that Win8 will be 64-bit only. 32-bit Windows Server is already dead (Win2K8 Server R2 is x64-only). 32-bit Windows Client should go away with the next release.

    • Cannyone
    • 12 years ago

    I have 2 Desktops, one runs 32-bit and the other runs 64-bit. The reason why I chose to have one system 32-bit had to do with the fact that some older software still doesn’t work well with “Windows on Windows”. And I’ll also point out the fact that even the 64-bit version of Ubuntu isn’t purported to be as stable as the 32-bit variant. (Note: I still installed it anyway 🙂 )

    Regardless, 64-bit is the future! And I anticipate that this one 32-bit system, and my old Acer laptop (now running Linux), will be my last. I just wish Microsoft would push for more software to be 64-bit.

    • Chrispy_
    • 12 years ago

    Which is why W7 Pro has an XP virtual machine, to run all those crappy 16-bit applications.

    Ensuring backwards compatibility is a *[

    • Maxwel
    • 12 years ago

    Networks – ever hear of them?

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 12 years ago

    It is interesting to note that it took Microsoft to make the 64-bit OS popular, not MacOS or Linux. I guess they are still the powerhouse to be reckon with…?

    • codedivine
    • 12 years ago

    Atom N270, the original netbook atom, did not support 64-bit and thats one big reason to do 32-bit too.

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 12 years ago

    My users are barely worth two bits so why would I bother giving them 64-bit machines? If 8-bits a day is good enough for the Chinese factory workers, …

    • burntham77
    • 12 years ago

    I agree. They need to just go full 64-bit. At the very least it will simplify upgrade choices. These days, 4 gigs of memory is pretty much the norm for desktops and laptops.

    • burntham77
    • 12 years ago

    What kind of system?

    • wira020
    • 12 years ago

    Add computer?

    • anotherengineer
    • 12 years ago

    There is XP, Vista and Linux for ya 😉

    Don’t some netbooks have AMD cpus with x64 instructions??

    • Waco
    • 12 years ago

    …and then I wouldn’t be able to run Windows 7 on my netbook.

    • Graphic67
    • 12 years ago

    In-place upgraders are likely one of the main reasons why the 64bit adoption is lower than many enthusiasts expect. To do an in-place upgrade of Vista, you had to stay with the 32 or 64bit version that was already installed. Since Vista 64bit adoption was so poor the vast majority of systems had 32 bit Vista regardless of CPU compatibility.

    Also, many upgrade guides that I read gave advice to users to find out what was already installed and to use that version (32 or 64) when moving to Win7. That advice would have led most XP users to 32 bit upgrades.

    I was one of the lucky ones to get the Family Pack upgrade and have three systems that were all running 32 bit previously (a laptop purchased in late 2007 with Vista and two desktops from 2005 and 2007 with XP) humming along nicely with 64 bit Windows 7. I had to be willing to reformat the OS partition to move to 64 bit, but I think it was worth it. (The only 64bit incompatibility was an on-board ethernet chip on the 2005 system.)

    • Maxwel
    • 12 years ago

    “LeBlanc names a few reasons for this broad adoption: cheaper RAM, …”

    8 of 28 newegg.com laptops with Win7 Pro are 32 bit. People are going out of their way to buy 32 bit because they have to.

    • flip-mode
    • 12 years ago

    It’s disappointing that less than 64% are using 64 bit.

    • PixelArmy
    • 12 years ago

    Poor souls? More problems that just the OS with a 32-bit only CPU? You’re being dramatic.

    I have a 4 year old laptop with a 32-bit CPU (Core Duo) running Windows 7 just fine. Ran Windows XP fine too. Maybe it’s just the feel of running a more modern OS in general not the bit-ness. I’m not saying there aren’t advantages to a 64-bit OS, but it’s not magic.

    • Meadows
    • 12 years ago

    That would kill every popular x64 OS.

    • 5150
    • 12 years ago

    Kill x86 with fire!

    • slaimus
    • 12 years ago

    That number is surprisingly low. A laptop I recently purchased for a family member that only had 3GB of RAM still came with the 64-bit version of Windows 7.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago

    what?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago

    l[

    • Maxwel
    • 12 years ago

    Those of us who have to add a computer to an existing system probably need to stay 32 bit.

    • bcronce
    • 12 years ago

    yeah, but the $20 you save per computer isn’t worth the hassle to upgrade the memory down the road when they finally decide to install a 64bit OS on it.

    If you assume most corps keep their computers around for 5+ years, I’m sure they’ll be 64bit in that time frame.

    And Win8 will be 64bit only.

    • deffox
    • 12 years ago

    Huh, I had thought 64 bit adoption was closer to 70%. If Microsoft wanted to drive adoption they should charge $1 more for the 32 bit version. A single dollar savings would guarantee all OEM sales are 64 bit.

    • cmrcmk
    • 12 years ago

    That was my first reaction, too. I occasionally look at Dell and HP’s websites to see their current systems and they rarely come with 32-bit windows so I thought we’d have something closer to 3/4 64-bit. I guess it’s those netbooks that others have pointed out.

    • indeego
    • 12 years ago

    Tis why:
    §[<http://support.microsoft.com/kb/896458<]§ /[<64-bit versions of Windows do not support 16-bit components, 16-bit processes, or *[<16-bit applications<]*<]/ Corps need a lot to be 16-bit, still. Sigh all you want, but if those apps make the bank, they are sticking with itg{<.<}g

    • anotherengineer
    • 12 years ago

    Indeed, win7 should have been exclusively 64 bit to force 3rd partys to make better 64 bit drivers and software.

    Oh well what can you do.

    • Firestarter
    • 12 years ago

    That’s the reason I think Microsoft should have omitted the 32bit version: to force any complacent vendors to develop 64bit drivers if they wish to remain current.

    Systems that need to use outdated hardware are better off with a matching old OS anyway, as the compatibility issues that arise without proper vendor support are frustrating at best.

    • dpaus
    • 12 years ago

    Clearly, neither of you are aware that there’s a LOT of third-party vendors out there that haven’t ported their drivers to 64-bit yet. I’m not defending them, just saying that there’s still a legitimate demand for 32-bit systems.

    • Firestarter
    • 12 years ago

    This. The 32bit Vista version was still somewhat understandable, but bothering with a 32bit 7 was really unnecessary in my opinion.

    • Deanjo
    • 12 years ago

    One of the reasons there is still so many 32-bit systems out there is for the simple fact that any netbook that comes with Win 7 is still 32-bit.

    • mczak
    • 12 years ago

    Don’t forget though these numbers also include netbooks – Win7 Starter (which is what most netbooks nowadays ship with) is only available in a 32bit version (not to mention the last gen netbook-atom, n270/n280 didn’t feature 64bit extension). Without netbooks, maybe the 64bit number would already be over 50%.

    • GFC
    • 12 years ago

    Wow, only half?

    • Chrispy_
    • 12 years ago

    Oddly no.
    I still see stupid OEM’s (Dell/HP/Acer) shipping 4GB machines with W7-32.

    • Chrispy_
    • 12 years ago

    I still think Microsoft are chickens for even bothering with a 32-bit version of Windows7

    Server2008 R2 is x64/Itanium only
    Even desktop machines are now hampered by the 2GB application limit of Win-32

    • pedro
    • 12 years ago

    Such a bold step forward into the Brave New World is very unexpected.

    I find it very hard to believe these figures.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 12 years ago

    For some reason I expected that number to be a bit higher – I was thinking pretty much every consumer system shipped with 64-bit, and that with XP Mode, businesses would have no reason to cling to 32-bit.

    • wingless
    • 12 years ago

    54% of Windows 7 users are still using 32-bit? Poor souls.

    We evaluated Win 7 x64 on 5 year old PCs and Laptops with P4s and Centrinos at my company and it made them feel like new machines. Win 7 has superior memory management and 64-bit support is a universe better than it was in XP x64. There is no need to even think about Win 7 32-bit unless you have a CPU that doesn’t support 64-bit. If you’re at that point, you got more probs than just an OS.

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