Preparing for 64-bit Computing
Since the introduction of Windows 7 and Office 2010, the business case for upgrading to 64-bit desktop processing has never been stronger. However, many companies are hesitant to embark on a major upgrade project because the benefits are difficult to quantify. No IT manager doubts that improved dependability, capacity, security, and performance are desirable. But how much are they worth? As a Microsoft Partner with years of experience helping organizations carry out company-wide upgrade projects, Progent can help your business evaluate the risks and rewards of migrating to 64-bit desktop computing, design an efficient upgrade plan that minimizes service interruption, and provide economical and effective remote support.
Most small businesses have already invested in 64-bit workstations whether they are aware of it or not. The Intel and AMD processors used in desktop PCs have for years included 64-bit capability. However, most small businesses continue to operate these existing desktop PCs with 32-bit versions of Windows, which also means that they are limited to 32-bit applications.
One explanation for this slowness to migrate to 64-bit desktops is that, prior to the release of Windows 7 and the subsequent introduction of 64-bit versions of Microsoft Office 2010 applications, the business advantage for upgrading existing desktop PCs has seemed minor compared to the effort required. No automatic path exists for migrating from a 32-bit to a 64-bit version of Windows. The upgrade requires a clean installation of each desktop, which calls for reinstalling current applications, saving and restoring data files, and installing new drivers. This represents a significant amount of work and requires careful planning to carry out affordably and quickly.
Benefits of Upgrading to 64-bit Computing
The benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit processing may seem subtle and hard to define precisely, but they are real. The RAM memory partitioning schemes used in 32-bit systems are basically a technical afterthought that undermines stability. Memory-hungry programs are often unable to utilize available RAM because the operating system cannot assign it efficiently. This can be the cause of software shutting down or running fitfully even when a machine seems to have ample available memory. In addition, 64-bit operating systems support far more physical memory than 32-bit ones and crunch twice as much data per CPU cycle. You can also jump from one RAM-hungry program to another more quickly when using a 64-bit system. Basically, 64-bit computing makes environments more stable, more scalable, and more efficient, which makes companies more productive.
Microsoft's 64-bit Software
Microsoft's 'x64' technology works with the 64-bit CPUs that power most desktop computers currently in use. Before the availability of Office 2010, most Microsoft desktop applications including Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005 were offered only in 32-bit editions. Office 2010 includes 64-bit versions of Microsoft's popular applications, and some of these 64-bit programs offer dramatic enhancements. For example, Excel 2010 is available in a 64-bit edition that permits you to build spreadsheets with huge databases that are not limited to the 2-Gbyte maximum file size imposed by 32-bit releases of Excel. Moving to Windows 7 or Windows 8 does not require a total, or even a partial, transition to 64-bit Office applications. You can run older 32-bit Office applications on the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, or you can use a combination of 32-bit and 64-bit applications.
The 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8 cost the same as the 32-bit versions but provide higher levels of dependability, scalability, security, and performance. Since both the 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8 require a clean installation, there will never be a better time to move to 64-bit desktop computing then when you migrate to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Under these circumstances, moving to 64-bits will require little incremental work. In fact, it is difficult to make the case for holding off on converting to 64-bit processing during a Windows 7 or Windows 8 migration, since you are simply putting off the inevitable and committing your company to a second clean installation when you eventually convert to 64-bit computing.
How Progent Can Help You Upgrade Your Desktops to 64-bit Computing
In addition to helping you evaluate the practical benefits, costs, and technical risks attached to upgrading to 64-bit computing, Progent's Microsoft certified consultants can help you plan, document, implement, manage, and troubleshoot a system-wide migration to 64-bit server and client operating systems and applications. Progent can help you test your 64-bit infrastructure to make sure it handles all of the important 32-bit applications that you intend to keep plus the latest 64-bit applications you wish to run. If moving to Windows 11 or Windows 10 is part of your x64 migration strategy, Progent's Windows 11 planning and migration consultants and Windows 10 integration experts can assist your company to decide which desktop hardware and applications can or should be preserved, and create an upgrade process based on proven best practices and designed to be the least disruptive to your network operations.
Additional ways Progent can help your business migrate to x64 computing include: