Over the past two years, I’ve spoken to millions of people (okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating on the number) about application and driver support for 64 bit Operating Systems. Back in the days of Windows XP, I know there were very few devices that worked well on 64 bit. With Windows Vista, the number of applications and devices shot up dramatically. When I look at the processors that have been sold over the last two years, I don’t really see any that don’t have 64 bit capabilities. In fact, almost every new computer being sold is at least a dual core x64 bit capable machine.
Given this information, one would think that the software vendors and hardware vendors out there would be writing 64 bit versions of their applications and creating 64 bit drivers for their hardware devices. Unfortunately, I’m not finding this to be the case. Why is this an issue for me? I finally decided to go with 64 bit on my production machines (both work and home) and it is so frustrating when applications or hardware devices no longer work. Most 32 bit applications will install fine and work in a 64 bit OS but some refuse to install. One of the great hardware devices I got attached to was my Neat mobile scanner. It worked just fine under 32 bit Vista and even 32 bit Windows 7. However, there are no drivers for 64 bit Vista and according to the companies website, it doesn’t look like they plan on creating one either. Sony fell into this category as well until April of this year. Their Picture Motion Browser software would not work on a 64 bit OS (in fact it would blue screen my machine) and it didn’t sound like they had any plans to support it. Thank goodness, Sony came around and posted an update on April to support the tool on 64 bit Vista (and works fine on 64 bit Windows 7).
I can totally understand everyone’s frustration around this issue – especially since I’m personally affected by it as well. I sure hope companies take a hard look at the trends and reality of what’s happening in the computer industry and start supporting 64 bit Operating Systems sooner versus later!