I understand that 32 bit software will run on a 64 bit OS eg Windows Vista / 7 by dynamic translation from 32 bit instructions to 64 bit instructions. Can anybody explain how this works and what determines whether a piece of 32 bit software will work in this way?
I haven't tried it yet, but I will be upgrading to Windows 7 soon and will have to decide whether to install the 32 or 64 bit version. I'm also trying to advise my brother-in-law on a new computer purchase and the system he's interested in only ships with a 64 bit OS, something which I'm sure will become increasingly the case. I have been unable to find clear information on how 32 bit software runs on a 64 bit system and what problems exist with this emulation.
The only way to find out if a specific 32 bit piece of software will work on 64 bit W7 is to ask the vendor (or try yourself!).
I use Vista 64 bit as my regular desktop and have only come accross 1 programme in the last 18 months or so that wouldn't run. The piece of software concerned was fairly old and written by an individual, not a software house.
Microsoft offer a bit swap service, so if your brother gets the system in question with a 64 bit OS and doesn't get on with it, Microsoft will swap it to the 32 bit version of the same operating system for a nominal fee (basically a handling and postage fee).
Thanks for the information. Think we will go for 64bit and see what happens. OTT_Buzzard: Couldn't get onto the MS website. It kept coming up with an error message that Cookies have to be enable even though they are and I've cleared all the cache.
That's the one. Under the "Replacement OEM or system builder software media" heading, click the second link:
"If the product was distributed by an OEM or by a system builder, the product ID will contain the letters "OEM." Visit the following Microsoft Web site, select the appropriate product family, and then follow the steps to locate the product ID: