A few days ago someone who had installed 64 bit Vista asked us "why Microsoft developed an operating system that MOST of the software manufacturers have told me will take at least 2 years for them to support"
Now if you develop a new OS it takes vendors a while to support; heck, Office won't be 64bit until the next version, which you'd expect in about 2 years. How do we force every vendor to support 64 bit before there is a decent customer base running on it? Nearly all 32 bit Applications run perfectly on 64 bit, those which don't are few and far between. I don't expect much problem there.
Drivers for 64 bit are another matter. But I've been pretty lucky and got a great experience with my new Dell Latitude D820 - it has a TPM 1.2 security module, Wired and Wireless network, nVidia graphics mated with a 1920x1200 screen (just gorgeous), BlueTooth, a Smart Card reader, SATA hard disk and on-board Audio. I put installed Microsoft IT's pre-built image of 64 bit Vista and needed to do precisely NOTHING to make them work. And a just a tip of the hat to the Microsoft IT folks here, this build has what I need - one minute's work (half a dozen steps) and an hour of waiting and I have all I need on a brand new machine; all they need to do is stick an asset tag on the machine and give it to me. It hasn't always been this way. My USB storage Devices and digital SLR camera works just plug and play. I plugged my USB headset in and it downloaded the driver. The only thing I had to get a driver for was my LifeCam NX6000 .
So far so good. I was gloomy about the prospects for my HP3970 scanner - the drivers were still the 1.0 version after 3 1/2 years. I checked on HP's site recently and found they have released their 1.1 drivers, under enhancements they list 2 points "Adds Windows Vista support , Adds 64-bit support ". I've promised the lovely people at Hamrick Software I'd review their VueScan software, but they needed a library from HP: Looks like I can do that now. I haven't tried my cheap and cheerful USB TV stick - since I'm running the corporate build of Vista Enterprise - no Media Center - there's not much point, but I don't expect it to work.
Which leaves just one... When I upgraded to a Digital SLR camera, my Compact became a diving camera (in a housing) . The memory card door is temperamental and after it popped open on a dive (turning the camera off) I taped it shut and download via USB . The problem is that it needs to install a driver and -there's no support for 64 bit Vista. I knew that the 32 bit "driver" was actually just an INF file, it turns out the camera uses "private" USB device ID, but works with the standard USB storage driver. The INF file works with 32 bit Vista, so surely, I thought, I could write and INF for 64bit. After a few minutes with USBStore.inf and and the camera's inf file, I learnt that some devices are tagged _CB and some _CBI ... mine is tagged _CB. After that it was just a question of paring the file down to one _CB device, and replacing the names and USB ID with the ones for my camera. Put the usbStor.sys driver in the folder with the .INF and hey presto I have the camera working. If you need the inf file drop me a line.