Subscriber Ed McDowell wrote to ask how 64-bit Windows 7
worked with software from earlier versions of Windows:
It's about time to buy a new laptop and a question has been eating away at me – buy one with 32 bit or 64 bit Windows 7 Pro. I have many software programs especially for editing and storing images. Is 64 bit Windows compatible with older software? I couldn't find an article on this in your library. Your recommendations please.
I wrote back to Ed to tell him that he'd have to read some of my email newsletters about my conversion to Win7 64-bit — but I don't think I've posted all of those articles to my web site yet. [Update – they’re posted now]
I've found Win7 to be remarkably compatible with programs we (at home) ran on WinXP. The only exceptions to this have been programs that interface directly or through their own drivers with hardware (e.g., scanner programs) and security programs. Windows 7 has new security internals that prevent firewalls, antivirus, etc from running properly if they haven't been upgraded for Win7 — and that applies both to 32-bit and 64-bit programs. However, there are security internal issues between 32-bit and 64-bit that interfere with utilities occasionally.
We had to upgrade to Paperport 12 from Paperport 9 in order to get a version that worked with Windows 7 — that was not just a 64-bit vs 32-bit issue.
I still use my 2006 version of Eudora for email, even under Windows 7 64-bit. The one difference was a Win7 issue, not a 64-bit issue. I had to run it once as Administrator (using the Run as Administrator option) in order for Eudora to be able to update the Windows Registry. Again, this was the result of Windows security changes.
[Update: I now use Thunderbird for email. I like Thunderbird.]
I'm extremely pleased with the ease of transition from Windows XP Home and Professional 32-bit (multiple computers) to Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. I bought retail copies of Windows 7 and built new computers, so I got both 32-bit and 64-bit DVD's. I have no interest in going back to 32-bit, even if it was an easy change (in reality, it would be a format-and-install, so it would not be easy).
By the way, if you're going to buy a brand like Acer, Asus, Toshiba, HP or such, please consider using one of my site links to make your purchase. You can shop via my Amazon store or via the links near the bottom of each page. For my notebook, I bought the Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3820T-5246 13.3-Inch HD Laptop (Black Brushed Aluminum).