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4/22/2005
11:12 AM
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Microsoft To Launch 64-bit Windows Monday

Microsoft will officially roll out 64-bit versions of its Windows operating systems on Monday. The OSes will support 64-bit processors from both Intel and AMD.

Microsoft will officially roll out 64-bit versions of its Windows operating systems at its WinHEC conference in Seattle on Monday.

"On Monday, Microsoft will launch their x64 operating systems, both client and server," said Intel spokesperson Erica Fields, in an email intended to emphasize the support the software will have for Intel's processors. "The Windows operating systems have supported Intel's Hyper-Threading technology, execute-disable bit and, now, Intel's 64-bit and dual-core processors."

The OSes will support 64-bit processors from both Intel and AMD.

The announcements had been expected; last month, Microsoft issued a statement noting that code for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition and for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition had released to manufacturing and would be available in late April.

In addition, Microsoft had long been making available for free download, beta versions of the two OSes. Downloads of a release-candidate version of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition were halted late last month, presumably in anticipation of the official launch. However, a trial version of Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition is still available on Microsoft's Web site.

In a technical document discussing its 64-bit plans, Microsoft outlined some of the advantages of the new OSes, as compared with existing 32-bit versions. In terms of virtual-memory support, 64-bit Windows will handle 16 terabytes, as compared to 4 GB for 32-bit Windows. System cache size jumps from 1 GB to 1 TB, and paging-file size increases from 16 TB to 512 TB.

Microsoft's documentation also emphasizes the inclusion in the new 64-bit OSes of support for so-called "No Execute," or NX, technology. "NX technology is a joint venture of a hardware mechanism and a software mechanism," the Microsoft documentation noted. "It is by far the best defense with respect to buffer overruns. AMD calls this technology 'Enhanced Virus Protection,' while Intel refers to this functionality as the 'Execute Disable Bit.'"

Microsoft officials could not be reached for comment at posting time.

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