XP x32 -> x64 question

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Update Pack discussion.
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crashfly
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XP x32 -> x64 question

Post by crashfly » Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:51 am

I am seriously considering going to Windows XP Pro x64 edtion. I currently have Windows XP x32 on an AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core 4200+.

Now my question is this: since this is an AMD processor I am talking about, will it be possible to use 32bit drivers on the 64bit OS?

The reason I ask is that I am unsure if all of my equipment will even have a 64bit driver (most probably do not). Since I know that AMD supports the running of 32bit programs on the 64bit processor, I am just curious if the 64bit OS also supports 32bit drivers. If it does not, then it is a moot point in going to a 64bit OS in that I will have little in the way of hardware drivers.

Thanks for anyone who knows the answer for this question.
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Post by 5eraph » Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:05 am

I'm sorry to say that 32-bit drivers will not work in XP x64. The OS requires 64-bit. Fortunately, with the release of Vista x64, many manufacturers have released 64-bit drivers for some older hardware. And Server 2003 x64 drivers will work.

As always, check for driver availability before making the switch.

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Post by crashfly » Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:18 am

I suppose I should say that I have checked *some* of the 64bit driver support. Mainboard, video, even network printer drivers appear to have a 64bit compatible driver.

What I am really concerned with are the "out-of-the-box" support for most of my USB devices. In particular, things like a portable hdd, a couple of flash drives, usb headset, cell phone, usb multi-card reader, and other such devices. If 95% of all of the drivers are supported built in already, then I should not have to worry about most of the other "program" related issues as the OS can run both 32bit and 64bit programs.

Maybe there is a program that will tell me of 64bit driver compatibility? If not, maybe someone can tell me if the OS supports most of the basic storage drivers relating to USB?
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Post by 5eraph » Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:41 am

The hardest USB devices to find x64 drivers for are some of the cheaper webcams. Generic flash drives are supported "out of the box," as well as my three-year-old Sabrent 40-in-one card reader. I believe most devices that worked without 3rd-party drivers in 32-bit should also work the same in 64-bit.

Drivers are available for my XBox360 wired controller, Logitech Dual Action game controller and G9 Laser mouse. I'd say most big hardware manufacturers have kept up with support.

Things like your headset and cell phone may be hard to find support for if they previously required installing drivers. It depends on the manufacturer.

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Post by crashfly » Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:50 am

In looking a bit further, I am positive the cell phone will be supported in that it used MS Activesync which has a 64 bit version.

According to Logitech's website, the headset should be already supported with drivers on the 64 bit OS. So other than an untested 12in1 USB card reader (several years old, but it does not require drivers to work in XPx32), I believe it is safe to say I could easily upgrade and not have issues.

I think the last question I have on this issue will be with my DVD writer. Not an issue all by itself, however I am unsure of how a 32 bit program will react with Microsoft's 64 bit drivers for it. Hell, it could be there is a 64 bit program for CDBurnerXP, but I have not looked that far ahead. I am guessing that the 64bit version of windows XP would know how to properly respond to 32 bit programs and those that interact with hardware? (I am only guessing here, but it would seem plausable.)

Edit: Note, the end result will be to have a 64 bit operating system. However, if there is a program that would cause issues, I can always run it with a 32bit virtual machine inside of it all.
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Post by 5eraph » Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:58 am

Your burner software should work through an ASPI layer which is included with Windows. It's been a long time since software needed to interact directly with hardware. I can tell you DVD Decrypter and ImgBurn work perfectly fine as is.

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Post by Pasha_ZZZ » Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:39 am

32-bit programs work fine on 64-bit windows through service named WOW64 (Windows On Windows-64), installed with xp-64. If really unsure, install win64 on other partition than win32.

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Post by code65536 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:34 pm

crashfly wrote:since this is an AMD processor
The fact that you are using AMD64 (or EM64T) changes only one thing: the Wow64 translation runs on native hardware instead of software emulation (which is what would happen if you were using Itanium). Generally speaking, that you are using x64 instead of IA-64 doesn't afford you any significant benefits with respect to 32-bit support aside from not having to go through software emulation.

As noted, Wow64 will take care of most issues, with the exception of two things:

1) Drivers: You must use 64-bit drivers. Much of what needs to be said has already been said, but I just want to add one thing: Many devices, from optical drives (all of which use standard ATAPI through which user-mode non-driver layers like SPTI or ASPI can interface) to external hard drives, have long used generic drivers bundled with Windows. For other devices, Microsoft went through a lot of trouble to ensure that there's good driver support, and this is especially true for Vista x64 (not as much for the earlier x64s).

2) Plugins, extensions, etc. for 64-bit processes. 64-bit apps cannot use 32-bit DLLs, so if you have a favorite Windows Explorer extension that you can't live without, then you should check to see if there's a 64-bit version of it. This, unfortunately, was a deal-breaker for me and why I'm still sticking with 32-bit (though I do keep a 64-bit machine around for testing and development). This is also why, by default, you will run the 32-bit version of IE and not the 64-bit version, because there aren't 64-bit versions of many popular plugins (e.g., Flash--though I'd personally call the lack of Flash a big plus!).
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Post by crashfly » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:46 pm

And once again, thank you for your informative post code65536. I kind of figured some kind of emulation was going on. I am really just looking for a bit of performance increase by switching over to the 64bit OS. Now I realize the performance increase will not be miraculous, I am hoping that some of my games will be more efficient running in a x64 environment. Although, I will admit that only one of the games I play right now has been ported over to run natively in 64bits.

In the end, kind of a poor excuse to upgrade just for performance, but I occasionally like to try out those *new* computer toys. Worse case scenario, I can go back to the 32bit OS.

Note: Firefox is 32bit, that should not cause a problem with most internet plugins I use.
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Post by Pasha_ZZZ » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:27 am

crashfly wrote:Now I realize the performance increase will not be miraculous, I am hoping that some of my games will be more efficient running in a x64 environment..
There are very small amount of games with native x64 executables included. F.e. - Crysis & Crysis Warhead.
x64 apps will work slower at all, you must hope on increased memory. But if u have 4Gb RAM, increasing from ~3,2 to 4 is not so significant.

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Post by 5eraph » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:59 am

Other games that have x64 binaries are Half-Life 2 and Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.
Pasha_ZZZ wrote:x64 apps will work slower at all
Not sure what you're saying here, but x64 apps are not slower than their x86 counterparts. In fact, integer heavy number crunching is significantly faster; especially when dealing with very large numbers. This is perhaps due to the extra registers available in the 64-bit processor core that can only be used in pure x64 mode. If you want empirical proof, check the "Measured integer speed" of my Athlon 64 X2 processor with XP x64 and 64-bit BOINC as compared to the same processor with XP x86 and 32-bit BOINC. That's a 21.5% boost in computational speed just by using a 64-bit app instead of the 32-bit version of the same app in their respective operating systems.

x86 applications run just as fast as they would in an x86 OS because they can be executed directly by an x64/EM64T processor without emulation. This is not true of the Itanium architecture which requires x86 software to run through an emulation layer, as code65536 has mentioned.
Pasha_ZZZ wrote:But if u have 4Gb RAM, increasing from ~3,2 to 4 is not so significant.
That's memory I can be using for virtual machines while running other tasks on a multicore system, like playing games. ;)

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Post by crashfly » Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:49 pm

I am going to look into upgrading my OS to the 64 bit version here in the near future. The last few questions I have deals with addons.

Can *any* of the 32bit addons be integrated into the 64bit source, or do I just stick with loading all of the programs (32bit) after installing the OS?

Does the 32bit switchless installers work properly at the T-13 stage on the 64bit XP, or should these also wait until after installing the OS?

Are there any problems or "traps" that I should be cautious with (other than drivers) when upgrading to a 64bit OS?

Edit: Will your signed themes installer (5eraph) work on the 64bit version of XP?

Edit 2: Nevermind.
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Post by 5eraph » Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:40 pm

Most addons posted here are not built to be integrated into XP x64. There is a list of known compatible addons and tools.

32-bit switchless installers should work fine as long as they're not runtime installers. Kurt_Aust has posted an all-in-one method to install updates, runtimes and other miscellaneous installers. I'd recommend giving it a serious look.

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Post by crashfly » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:22 pm

Thank you for that information 5eraph. I actually have already looked over the thread over on msfn.org, however I did not realize there was one on this forum on compatible addons.

I will look further into my endeavor to upgrade to x64 bit.
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Post by code65536 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:41 pm

5eraph wrote:32-bit switchless installers should work fine as long as they're not runtime installers.
Why not? If the installing process is 32-bit, 32-bit runtimes will get redirected to either SW64 or PFx86, which is the correct location for them. Unless the installer does something funky, there shouldn't be a problem with using a 32-bit runtime installer...



The thing to watch out for and that most people are not aware of is that when installing DLLs (this includes runtimes, shell extensions, etc.), in most cases, you will need to install TWO sets of them for x64: You will install a 32-bit version to SW64 or PFx86 for use by Wow64 processes, and you'll install a 64-bit version to S32 and PF for use by Win64 processes. This applies to .NET (MSVC installs both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of .NET runtimes on a 64-bit system), DirectX runtimes, VC runtimes (VC7.x is 32-bit only, as Microsoft didn't add support for building 64-bit until VC8, but when installing VC8/VC9 runtimes, you need to run both the 32-bit and 64-bit packages), system updates (all hotfixes/updates install two sets of files: a 32-bit version and a 64-bit version), shell extensions (the CmdOpen installer, for example, installs both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions if it detects that it's a 64-bit system), etc., etc.
Last edited by code65536 on Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by 5eraph » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:54 pm

code65536 wrote:
5eraph wrote:32-bit switchless installers should work fine as long as they're not runtime installers.
[...]you will need to install TWO sets of them for x64[...]
Correct. I suppose I should have been more clear. RogueSpear's current runtime releases only include the 32-bit runtimes. To have both sets you'll need to wait until he can support x64, or find other installers that include the x64 runtimes. For example, Microsoft's .NET 3.5 installer includes both x86 and x64 runtimes in one package. RogueSpear strips out the x64 binaries, resulting in an incomplete package for XP x64.

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Post by code65536 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:00 pm

@5eraph

Ah, okay, thanks for clarifying what you meant. :)
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Post by crashfly » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:30 am

Well ... I finally did it. I am now operating on a 64bit OS. Stupid thing about it is, even with SP2 already on the CD, it takes about 305mb to completely update the operating system. (This does not account for IE7 either).

As least I should be able to prepare an updated x64 CD now. I guess I also need to figure out how to add some x32 addons to the x64 CD. May not be possible, but it is worth a shot.

Note: It appears all of the drivers needed for the OS had a x64 version. Good news for me anyway.
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Post by TranceEnergy » Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:56 am

Welcome to the future =) There are some very nice things doable with xp x64, such as caching and using memory efficiently.

This is not possible with vista (well unless you have like 128GB memory installed). There a niche company called superspeed. Provides some nice tools. You can basically run the entire os from memory. Worth a look i guess =)

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