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Moving To Windows X64...

Teddy Rogers

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Teddy Rogers
This is an introduction to Windows Vista and the x64 architecture. Writing an article like this is always uneasy, because there's plenty to talk about, but on the other hand it's an article, not a book. I tried to focus on some important aspects, but it goes without saying it that I had to cut out a lot (e.g. the User-Mode Driver Framework, and I'm very sorry for that). This is just a general overview on certain topics, if you want to learn more, then you should really consider turning to specific guides. Also, I won't talk about some obvious matters of the x64 architecture, like the fact that applications can now access a larger memory range etc. This article should be considered a quick upgrade for x86/XP developers.

At the time I write this article I've been using Windows Vista for a month and its official release is scheduled for January 30th (so, in another month). I moved to x64 with XP some months ago and at the time I did I was surprised that I found all the drivers for my devices. But, as we know, Windows Vista requires drivers to be certified, and in order to get the certification companies have to supply a x64 version of the driver. No certification will be released for x86-only drivers. However, at the moment I write, a lot of applications like virtual drive encrypters don't provide drivers for Vista (since x64 versions haven't got a certificate). If you didn't know about the certification, don't worry, I'll talk about it later and you'll see that it's still possible to run drivers without it. I just wanted to say that hardware compatibility is no longer an issue like it was one year ago, and by switching to Windows Vista x64 you're not taking too much chances.

I tried to organize this article in two sections, one about the changes brought us by x64 and then by Vista. I tried as hard as possible to separate these two things, because the x64 technology already existed under Windows XP, so it was important to me that the reader was given a clear distinction between those things that affect only Vista and those ones which affect both topics.



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