Category Archives: Windows x64

64-Bit News Round Up – x64 Driver Signing Update

From Windows Vista Security

Hi, it’s Scott Field, Windows Security Architect, again. Microsoft recently became aware of a third party kernel mode driver named “Atsiv” which provides a deliberate means of loading code that conflicts with the Kernel Mode Code Signing (KMCS) policy included in Windows Vista x64 editions. In Windows Vista x64 editions, the default KMCS policy is to only allow code to load into the kernel if it has been digitally signed with a valid code signing certificate.

The Atsiv driver also provides a means to load unsigned kernel mode code in a manner that is not visible through operating system provided API interfaces (such as the EnumDeviceDrivers() API), and this may allow the code to hide from view of commonly deployed tools. Installing the Atsiv driver requires administrative privileges, so there is no security vulnerability related to the default case in Windows Vista where users run with limited permissions through the User Account Control feature.

Microsoft is committed to protecting its customers from potential as well as actual security threa[t]s; accordingly, we are responding to this issue as follows:

  1. Windows Defender released a signature update on August 2, 2007 that allows detection, blocking, and removal of the current Atsiv driver. Classification of the Atsiv software was done in accordance with the objective criteria used by the Windows Defender team to assess the characteristics of potentially unwanted software.
  2. Certificate revocation has occurred as of August 2, 2007. Microsoft has worked with partners in the code signing certification authority ecosystem to assess the Atsiv issue. VeriSign has revoked the code signing key used to sign the Atsiv kernel driver, which means the code signing key will no longer be considered valid.
  3. The security team at Microsoft is investigating adding the revoked key to the kernel mode code signing revocation list, as an additional defense in depth measure. The kernel mode revocation mechanism requires a system reboot in order for the new revocation list to take effect, which is consistent with other Microsoft updates which require and subsequently trigger a reboot.

Read the rest here

64-Bit PCs: Drivers Wanted

"Now that they’re 64 (bits, that is), personal computers are still searching for developers to need them and feed them.

In 2003, Advanced Micro Devices released 64-bit chips for PCs in the form of the Athlon 64, and Intel followed suit in 2005. But the software needed to take advantage of those chips is harder to find than a Beatles song on iTunes."

Read the rest here

My say: Its not so much as lack of drivers, but the lack in quality of the drivers for 64-bit Windows that developers are giving customers. I have been running 64-Bit Windows since 2005 and all my hardware has worked just fine with OS. Stability continues to be the main issue and I am not sure shy its still such a sticky issue. Some factors come to mind such as demand and or complexity to write device drivers for the platform.

ActiveWin.com: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Processor – Review

"Byron has just posted his review of AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Processor. Here is an excerpt:

AMD has been the king of 64-bit computing for some time now and no matter what Intel has attempted to throw in front of them, AMD have hurdled over it. With the release of the new AMD AM2 Motherboards and processors AMD are now not only pushing the envelope on the 64-bit and Dual Core front, they are reducing the amount of energy and power that the processors take up, thus producing quieter and cooler PC’s. The big question is, has the wait for the new AM2 processors and motherboards been worth it? Do we see any benefit from using DDR2 memory compared to the old DDR2 on the previous Socket 939 processors, read on and we’ll find out. This review will also concentrate on the future impact the processor will have when used with Windows Vista, we’ll be putting it through its paces on both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the new operating system to see what bearing they have on this chip."

 

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Vista x64 in a bad mood

 

Click image to enlarge

I logged into Windows Vista Ultimate x64 and was surprised how long it took to reach and load the desktop. That was the least of the problems I experienced, after it finally loaded up, I was greeted by a bunch of errors and noticed that Windows AERO was turned off. I’m not complaining, but it seems Vista x64 is very buggy and just does not feel optimized for the 64 bit processors out there. It takes a longer time to boot up I’ve noticed and still suffers from the compatibility issues that plagued XP Pro x64. I hope Microsoft’s Problems and Solutions applets is taking note of these problems and sending it back to Redmond to the right team. Hopefully SP1 will resolve most of the performance issues that remain so far in the RTM and glitches that are becoming more annoying.

 

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The Downsides of 64-bit Windows Vista – Driver and application support

From Softpedia

"Microsoft delivers Windows Vista in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. While a system configuration with a x64 processor certainly recommends one of the 64-bit editions of Windows Vista, these versions of the operating system do come with downsides that customers need to be aware of. Being essentially identical to 32-bit Windows Vista, the 64-bit editions will deliver support for 32-bit applications without any problems. This aspect is one of the pillars of the transition to 64-bit. Users are encouraged to adopt

the next wave in computing technology while still being able to enjoy the same programs they used to on their 32-bit system. However, 64-bit Vista does not offer support for 16-bit applications or components. Old solutions designed for platforms that preceded 32-bit will not function on x64 Vista."

Read the entire article here

Resources:

HOW-TO: Switch to Windows Vista 64-bit painlessly by Kris Kenney

 

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Vista as the last 32-bit Client OS from MS not Confirmed

From Windows Vista Team Blog

Quote:

"A few folks took Bill’s comments on Windows Server and applied them to Windows Client deriving that Windows Vista would be the last 32-bit operating system. That is an incorrect extension.  While Windows Vista includes both 32-bit and 64-bit and there is a growing community of drivers for 64-bit Windows Vista we have not decided when Windows Client will follow Windows Server and become 64-bit only.

Read the rest here

There you have it, straight from the horses mouth.

 

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Correct Disk Cleanup shortcut for Windows Vista 64-bit

From Canucky.net

Quote:

"If you are using a 64-bit (x64) version of Windows Vista, then this is something you should know. By default, the shortcut in the Start menu points to the 32-bit (x86) executable for Disk Cleanup. While Disk Cleanup will work fine from this shortcut for most things, there is one function that does not work correctly – the cleaning of System Restore points and Shadow Copies / Previous Versions."

Read the entire tip here

Thanks Kris!

 

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Who wants or needs 64 bits?

 
Quote:
"It looks like the world isn’t clamoring for 64-bit desktops just yet.

Nearly two and a half years have passed since 64-bit processors started going into PCs. But the software to take full advantage of these chips remains scarce, and customers aren’t buying much of what’s out there. The 64-bit chips provide greater performance than their older 32-bit counterparts, but that’s because of speed upgrades and other architectural enhancements.

Except for a few workstation users, almost no one is getting much from the 64-bitness of these computers.

"64-bit is sellable as bigger, faster, but in terms of what it does for you, there is very little at the moment," said Roger Kay, president of analyst firm Endpoint Technologies.

The dearth can be seen in a lot of ways. Microsoft released a 64-bit version of Windows for desktops last May, but has sold few copies, according to analysts. A site created by Advanced Micro Devices, the biggest proponent of 64-bit desktops, lists only six games tweaked for 64-bit computing and one partial upgrade."

Read the rest here

My Views

I have been running Windows XP Professional x64 since April of 2005, and I have to say I am very pleased with the operating system and responsiveness of my system. The benefits are not realized from 64-bit computing itself since I am running a system consist of basic desktop applications such Office, Photoshop and Nero which I use everyday, none of these applications are 64-bit native, but they run just fine.

The system was not purchased as a future proof move, thinking that it would run Windows Vista at full speed when its released, it was purchased primarily for enthusiasm and I needed a new home system and I am pleased with it. Its doing what I need and I enjoy using it everyday when I come home from work. Obtaining Windows XP Professional x64 was not difficult at all. I had my OEM copy purchased from http://www.directron.com

You can purchase the trial from the following online vendors also.
http://www.planetamd64.com/catalog
http://www.ncix.com
http://www.newegg.com
http://www.zipzoomfly.com 

Hopefully though, the next major release of Windows, Vista will bring 64-bit computing mainstream. I believe it will, since Vista will include technologies that were not available Windows XP Professional x64 such as Media Center and Tablet PC which are beginning to take off. So, I expect to see more innovation from the hardware industry with desktops and mobile PCs that can do it all. All I can say really, there is exciting stuff coming in the 2007 to 2008 period. XP Professional x64 was just a start and does have its benefits for targetted environments.

Windows XP Professional x64 is definitely not an operating system for the average Windows user who is doing basic stuff such as browsing the net or sending e-mails and writing one page documents in Word. But it is likely that by the end of this year, any PC purchased will be 64 bit enabled, which does not necessarily mean you are ready for a 64 bit OS. But it does give the user a sense of comfort knowing the capability is there ready to be taken advantage of by a largely supported 64-bit OS.

The true beneficiaries are the technical ones in the technical environments who require the massive amounts of power this platform provides. Within the next 2 to 3 years 64 bit computing supported hardware and software should be more available than it is today and users will better take advantage of it with the appropriate applications written for the consumer market, so far that is not available.

My Resources: 
PlanetAMD64
Extended64
x(perts)64
Paul Thurrott’s Windows x64 Preview
microsoft.public.windows.64bit.general
Technology Exchange Program
Windows XP Professional x64 FAQs

My Articles: 
Windows XP Professional x64, good or bad start?
Are those 64-bit questions about to be answered…by Microsoft?

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Open Zone Alarm 64-bit BETA Program

Thanks to Patrick in the Windows 64-bit General Newsgroups for this.

 

"Hello Beta Testers,

Zone Labs is proud to announce our newest beta, designed specifically for 64 bit Operating Systems. Please note that this version should NOT be installed on a 32 bit Operating System!!!

This is an early look at our 64 bit version. This version is not fully stable, and you should not run it in a production environment.

I’m giving you the link now, but it won’t be live for a few hours yet:

    http://www.zonelabs.com/beta

This is an open preview version, so feel free to share the link with anyone else who would like to test it.

Marcus & Claus
For the Zone Labs Beta Team"

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