Windows – significant limitation on useable software on a 64-bit Windows machine

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I have a 32-bit laptop that I've had for like two years. I'm getting a new one now, and I'm now noticing that lots of laptops come with Windows 7 64-bit. I've always heard that it's harder to find certain software for 64-bit OS's than 32-bit. Is there any truth to that? Am I significantly limited as far as useable software on a 64-bit machine as opposed to a 32-bit machine?

Best Answer

Virtually all 32-bit software will run on a 64-bit computer: There are compatibility features built in, like the "\program files(x86) directory, and the WOW registry keys. There is still not a lot of native 64-bit applications, but even there, Office 2010 now comes in a 64-bit version (both on one DVD actually). The only thing you really have to worry about is device drivers, like for your printer, but nowadays, even those are not rare, so you probably only need to worry if your printer, scanner or other devices are pretty old. Just check the manufacturer's web site for drivers before you buy.