• Contributors and Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Benefits of Microsoft Windows x64 Editions

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    Contents 3

    Contributors and Acknowledgements 1

    Introduction 2

    Memory 3

    Performance 6

    Security 8

    Compatibility 9

    Summary 11

    Related Links 12

    Contributors and Acknowledgements

    Clyde Rodriguez, Microsoft

    Brad Waters, Microsoft

    John Borozan, Microsoft

    Jay Kenny, Microsoft

    Brian Marr, Microsoft

    Samer Arafeh, Microsoft

    Forrest Foltz, Microsoft

    Ron Kuper, Cakewalk

    Margaret Lewis, AMD

    Jim Fister, Intel

    Paul Barr, Intel

    Elsa Rosenberg, StudioB

    Joan Roberts, StudioB

    David Talbot, StudioB


    The limitations of 32-bit operating systems in an increasingly complex computing world have become significantly constraining. Microsoft’s first 64-bit server operating system—Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based systems—was designed to remove these constraints for the most demanding database and line-of-business (LOB) applications. The limitations of 32-bit architecture are felt across diverse workloads, increasing the need to bring 64-bit computing to the mainstream.

    The broad availability of “x64” processors—the latest processors from AMD and Intel that include 64-bit extensions to the x86 instruction set—has driven the move to mainstream 64-bit computing. With the release of Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, customers now have industry-standard platforms that combine the power of 64-bit processing with the largest base of applications in the industry.

    In this paper, we will look at the foundation for pervasive 64-bit computing, including the performance and security advantages that will let customers do more, faster and safer, than previously possible, while maintaining excellent compatibility with existing 32-bit applications to ease the transition. The following are the key benefits of Windows x64 Editions that we will highlight:

    • Memory—Support for vastly greater physical memory and virtual memory space enables new scenarios not possible before.

    • Performance—Improvements in memory management, expanded registers, and I/O subsystems provide substantial performance improvements.

    • Security—New features in x64 processors enable better protection from malicious code.

    • Compatibility—The unprecedented compatibility of x64 processors with existing 32-bit applications will enable a controlled transition to 64-bit computing.

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    Benefits of Microsoft Windows x64 Editions

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