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Internet Explorer 64 bit and Silverlight

Last response: in Windows 7
a b $ Windows 7
August 6, 2010 3:18:41 PM

Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
64 bit programs run better on a 64 bit operating system than do 32 bit programs.
I'm running Ultimate 64 bit and my default Internet explorer is the 32 bit version, whats with that.?
I run the 64 bit IE attempt to stream a video from Netflix only to find out Silverlight only works with IE 32 bit.
So the only thing good about the 64 bit OS is that I can run more that 3Gig of ram. ?
Microsoft has had 64 bit Operating systems since XP and their internal apps are still 32 bit on 64 bit OS's.
Someone please explain.

Best solution

a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 6, 2010 4:56:48 PM

There is only one reason why an individual program would need to be 64-bit instead of 32-bit, and that's so that it can access more than 2 or 3GB of memory. This can be important for programs that hold a lot of in-memory data such as databases, photo or video editors, but for most other programs 64-bit is not needed.

And as long as a program doesn't need that extra memory, then it will run just fine as a 32-bit process on 64-bit Windows. There's no reason not to use a 32-bit program except when it uses too much memory.

My take is that 64-bit IE has been included in Windows 7 so that the makers of plug-ins such as Flash and Silverlight have a platform they can work towards in upgrading their own products to 64-bit. That prepares for a future in which all programs are 64-bit and 32-bit support can be dropped from a future version of Windows a few generations from now, much as 16-bit support was dropped from Windows 7.

But right now, for the general population, there's really no reason to use 64-bit IE.

The OS itself is another story, because it needs to support lots of different programs running at the same time. While few individual programs need more than 2GB of memory, all of them together often do. So 64-bit Operating systems are rapidly becoming the de facto standard.

As far as application programs go, the problem is that until everyone is using a 64-bit OS the software makers are sticking with 32-bit programs so that they can still sell programs to everyone. Producing two versions (32- and 64-bit) is extra work and support, and producing 64-bit-only means you're prevented from selling to a whole swath of users of 32-bit operating systems. There are only a few vendors whose software requires a LOT of memory who are making 64-bit versions available - Photoshop is a good example of this.

I expect that the next desktop version of Windows will be 64-bit only, and a few years after that when the share users with 32-bit operating systems drops to less than 10 or 20% we'll see a wholesale shift to 64-bit applications. Until then, 32-bits works just fine for the vast majority of programs and there's no need to feel shortchanged when you run them.
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a b $ Windows 7
August 6, 2010 5:29:14 PM

Thanks for the replies,
So three reasons to go with 64 bit "a 64-bit operating system can be more responsive when running several programs at the same time and switching between them frequently." and the ability to access more memory, and finally
to be able to map large files on the hard drive.
There are more possibilities as well just not implemented at this time.
My next build will be 32 bit and I'll get less but better ram.

Tough choice for Best anwser.
a b $ Windows 7
August 6, 2010 5:29:54 PM

Best answer selected by mhelm1.
August 6, 2010 5:33:01 PM

Just a quick opinion for your next build. I dont know what you plan to do in the future, but if you go with 64 bit, you can run both, thus not limiting you to what softwares you can run, AND giving you the best of both worlds.