Windows XP and Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit

I’ve been asked what is the difference between Windows XP and VIsta 32-bit and 64-bit. It’s a great question. So here’s what I was able to dig up…

According to Microsoft itself… (more information is available here)

“The main differences between the 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista relate to memory accessibility, memory management, and enhanced security features. The security features that are available in the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista include the following:

•Kernel Patch Protection
•Support for hardware-backed Data Execution Protection (DEP)
•Mandatory driver signing
•Removal of support for 32-bit drivers
•Removal of the 16-bit subsystem

One of the greatest advantages of using a 64-bit version of Windows Vista is the ability to access physical memory (RAM) that is above the 4-gigabyte (GB) range. This physical memory is not addressable by 32-bit versions of Windows Vista.

Depending on the version of Windows Vista that is installed, a 64-bit version of Windows Vista supports from 1 GB of RAM to more than 128 GB of RAM. The ability to address more physical memory lets Windows Vista minimize the time that is required to swap processes in and out of physical memory. Therefore, Windows Vista can manage processes more efficiently. This memory management feature helps improve the overall performance of Windows Vista.”

According to Webopedia

-Users would note a performance increase because a 64-bit CPU can handle more memory and larger files

-most benefits of a 64-bit CPU will go unnoticed without the key components of a 64-bit operating system and 64-bit software and drivers which are able to take advantage of 64-bit processor features

-Benefits of 64-bit processors would be seen with more demanding applications such as video encoding, scientific research, searching massive databases; tasks where being able to load massive amounts of data into the system’s memory is required.

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