December 7, 2004 10:51 AM PST

Microsoft nears release of 64-bit Windows

Microsoft said Tuesday that it has released a near-final test version of updates to its Windows and Windows Server operating systems.

The company said it has reached the "release candidate" stage for Service Pack 1 of Windows Server 2003. Microsoft is also at a similar point with several 64-bit Windows versions that use the same code base, including Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.

Microsoft reiterated that all three products are slated for final release in the first half of next year, with a second release candidate in between.

A second update for Windows Server 2003, known as R2, is also planned for next year. Microsoft is shooting for a private beta of that release later this month, with a goal of having about 1,000 testers. The company said it hopes to release a public beta of R2 in the first half of next year, with the final release some time in the second half of the year.

For some time, Microsoft has been promising to deliver 64-bit versions of Windows to support AMD's Opteron and Athlon 64 processors, but final releases of the server and desktop operating systems were delayed until next year. The same version of Windows will also accommodate chips from Intel that support 64-bit extensions to the longstanding x86 architecture.

Microsoft said it hopes the new versions of Windows will help make 64-bit computing a mainstream activity by next year.

"There's a need for a mainstream 64-bit solution that is fast to deploy and easy to grow into," senior product manager John Borozan said in a statement. "Volume deployment of x64 will spur new opportunities for innovation that were previously limited by 32-bit barriers."

The biggest advantage of 64-bit computing today is the ability to directly access more than 4GB of physical memory.

Those who own a 32-bit version of Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 will be able to exchange it for a license for the 64-bit edition, Microsoft has said.

Microsoft already has separate versions of Windows that support Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor, which has a completely distinct instruction set from the Opteron and the Athlon 64.

The release candidate for Windows Server 2003 SP1 is now available from Microsoft's site. The code for the 64-bit Windows versions is available now for those who take part in Microsoft's technical beta, or test, program. Within 30 days, Microsoft said, it will make the release candidate of those versions part of its Customer Preview Program.

The Windows Server update adds a number of the security enhancements Microsoft added to Windows XP with Service Pack 2. New features for Windows Server include an enhanced firewall, support for "no execute" hardware from AMD and Intel, and a new Security Configuration Wizard that blocks ports and services not being used by a particular server.


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Major Data Storage Will be needed
Microsoft's new 64 bit operating system will need a minimum of 1 gigabyte and as much as 500 gigabytes of storage.
Normally you would want to have a minimum of 200 times this on your rotating storage platform.
This would imply a need for 50 terabytes of storage for the new 64 bit server software.
There are NO terabyte rotating storage drives on the world market.
Posted by grey_eminence (153 comments )
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What are you talking about?
The requirements for 64-bit edition are as follows:

733MHz CPU
1.5GB Hard Drive Space.

How on blue world are you calculating 50TB of storage requirements? Just because 64-bit Edition *can* utilize 16TB of virtual memory and 512TB of paging file does not mean that you must run this way. Lets not spread completely ridiculous FUD. Do you really think Microsoft would relese a product next year that required a 50TB hard drive? Honestly?
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
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WOW, a now windows opening system
gee i wonder how maony holes will be in this "new" OS. lets see. it is going to be a 64 bit OS and that is 2 X the current 32 bit system so, exponentaly it will have 512 times the whole that windows XP has.
Posted by (4 comments )
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Stale Joke.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
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0h still under beta test?
I have been using 64bit PC for almost a year now... it is call
MacOSX on PowerPC G5...
Posted by (5 comments )
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64-bit Apple?
True, Apple's CPU has been capable of executing 64-bit instructions for a while... although OS X is not a true/complete 64-bit operating system, and most of the applications are still not 64-bit. In addition, the AMD Opteron CPU on 32-bit Windows consistently beats Apple's benchmarks in nearly everything from QuickTime rendering to photoshop image processing, to games. (Games, by the way, are still a major advantage for Windows.) So... while it is true that you've had 64-bit technology for a while, the unfortunate fact is that the associated benefits still have not been fully realized.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
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Now I can play Nintendo 64-emulated games at real speed!
Posted by WarpKat (23 comments )
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I was tired of waiting and started using Linux
I bought myself AMD Athlon 64 3000+ about a year ago and I got tired of waiting for Microsoft to release 64-bit Windows XP for it. So that was the first time I tried Linux (64-bit Gentoo for AMD64 to be more specific) and I liked it a lot. I liked it so much that Gentoo Linux for AMD64 is my main OS for my work now. It looks like Microsoft is laggging more and more behing Linux every day. And programming on Linux is also much more enjoable as all is open and well documented so you can use all that the system has to offer and nothing is hidden. It looks like the feature is truly in Linux.
Posted by JLP (38 comments )
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Win XP 64 perview
Hey, I downloaded the preview and burned it to a CD like I was instructed but it is still in ISO format and I am unable to open it.
Anybody know how to display the data?
Email me at
Posted by vern8 (1 comment )
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