Brien Posey's Windows Blog

Apr 27 2009   3:53AM GMT

Is there still a shortage of 64-bit drivers?

Brien Posey Brien Posey Profile: Brien Posey

When it comes to technology, I’m almost always an early adopter. When you adopt a technology before it becomes mainstream, you expect to have to deal with some quirks, and you expect to pay premium price for that technology. As the technology matures though, you expect the quirks to go away, and for the price of the technology to drop.

With that in mind, I had a situation this week that I just have to vent about. In November of 2006 I was out of the country for an extended period of time. I had some articles that were going to be due while I was gone, and I knew that I was going to have to be able to write them while I was abroad. I also knew that I was going to have to run server software on my laptop so that I could experiment with the techniques that I was going to be writing about. I ended up buying the biggest, baddest, most powerful laptop that I could find.

My laptop of choice was an HP. I forget the exact model number, but it was in the Pavilon DV8000 line. HP considered this particular laptop to be a Windows Media center laptop. It had a 17” screen, a gig of RAM, and a 64-bit CPU, all of which were considered high end features at the time.

Even though the laptop had 64-bit hardware, I needed to run Virtual PC, and that required a 32-bit version of Windows (remember, this was two and a half years ago). Needless to say, I never bothered to install a 64-bit version of Windows.

Well, a lot of time has passed, and I have bought a couple more laptops since then. Even so, the laptop that I just described was far from being obsolete, so I gave it to my wife to use. I knew that she wouldn’t know what to do with most of the stuff that I had installed, so I blanked the hard drive and installed the 64-bit version of Windows XP.

Windows installed just fine, but I had a couple of rude surprises once I was done. First, I found out that even though the laptop has the Designed for Windows XP sticker on it, HP does not offer many 64-bit drivers for Windows XP. Windows provided some of the drivers, but so far I have yet to be able to locate a functional sound card driver.

I also discovered that Microsoft never made a 64-bit version of SP3 for Windows XP. I’m sure that this is common knowledge, but I stopped using Windows XP a year ago, so this little detail had slipped by me. The only reason I was installing Windows XP on the laptop was because my wife asked me to.

To make a long story short, I just can’t believe that even after two and a half years that there is a shortage of 64-bit Windows XP drivers for some hardware. 64-bit operating systems are the norm today, and a large percentage of people still use Windows XP. Asking for 64-bit drivers for Windows XP doesn’t seem like such an unreasonable request.

I have spent quite a few hours looking for drivers and attempting various work arounds that I have been reading about on the Internet, with no luck. It looks like I am going to have to format the hard drive and install a 32-bit OS.

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