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18. Windows 7 was not exclusively 64-bit because of compatibility issues. Sep 4, 2012, 19:29 hb3d
Flatline wrote on Sep 4, 2012, 16:25:
I'm not sure *why* Windows 7 didn't come default as a 64-bit system in fact.
because of compatibility problems/limitations

64-bit versions of Windows won't run 32-bit drivers, and there were a lot of 32-bit drivers out there back when Windows 7 was released and there still are although less so now that 64-bit versions of Windows have grown in popularity. Also note that these 32-bit drivers aren't just for hardware devices. Some software applications also have 32-bit drivers which provide underlying functionality.

Another compatibility issue was most Intel Atom processors run only in 32-bit mode, so a 64-bit version of Windows won't work on them. Back in 2009 when Windows 7 was released Atom-based netbooks were still quite popular, and Microsoft wanted OEM's to install Windows 7 on them not XP.

Another thing that 64-bit versions of Windows lack is 16-bit code compatibility. And while that doesn't sound like it would be a issue today, if you like to play retro games, a surprising number of 32-bit games from the Windows 9X days were released with 16-bit installers. So, while the games themselves might otherwise play on 64-bit Windows, they can't be installed on 64-bit Windows.

I personally prefer to use 64-bit Windows myself, but I have to keep a VMware Workstation VM running XP around to handle compatibility issues with older peripherals and games.

This comment was edited on Sep 5, 2012, 09:24.
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