Applications – 64 or 32 bit?

Last week I blogged about Microsoft releasing a beta version of Office 2010 for download. One of the new features is that there are both 32 bit and 64 bit versions available for download. Which should you use?

Well normally we would recommend 64bit versions, these allow access to more memory and are generally faster. Now even normal PC’s are commonly coming with 4Gb or more of memory and so having access to only 3Gb of that, which the 32bit operating systems are limited to, seems daft when there is no licence cost of going with the 64 bit versions.

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Applications like Office are different however. Here at the moment there are significant issues with compatibility if you do go 64bit. I’ve tried over the past week and several add-in’s to Excel for install have stopped working. Even other Microsoft software like mobile device centre stopped being able to work correctly because it couldn’t talk to 64 bit Outlook correctly.

The only reason for going 64bit is you work with very large files, for instance Excel sheets over 2Gb. If you do, please give us a call because you shouldn’t be, 64bit or not, storing that much data in a spreadsheet is plain and simply wrong.

Another example is that if you use the 64bit version of Internet explorer, quite a few web sites do not work correctly. Why, well Adobe have not produced a 64 bit version of Flash yet, so any web site that uses this has bits missing.

You can install and use 32 bit apps on a 64bit OS and they run just fine in compatibility mode. So our advice is that while you definitely should install 64 bit operating systems and server applications (such as Exchange and SQL Server) because they use and often need the extra memory access, stick to 32bit for other applications for now.

Now where uninstall function….

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