Microsoft Previews 64 bit Windows XP Professional

Microsoft have released a preview of the 64 bit version of Windows XP Professional for beta testers. Now called Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, the final version of the OS will now be released in 2005, having been delayed from winter 2004, no doubt because of delays with XP SP2. Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition will also be released in 2005.

Those of you wishing to test the OS have a 450 mb download ahead of you – which doesn’t seem that bad, really though copies are available free on CD with a modest shipping charge. From a feature standpoint, 64 bit Windows is virtually identical to the standard version, the program and kernel code is compiled to take advantage of the increased processor world length. Pricing for the final OS will be similar to 32 bit versions.

64 bit XP will run on a range of 64 bit processors and support up to 16 gigabytes of physical RAM and eight terabytes of virtual memory. RAM support will increase as hardware manufacturers catch up. 32 bit users on some processors will be able to upgrade to the new OS for free.

An overview of Windows XP Professional x64

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?