Microsoft Completes 64-Bit Windows

Ending a year and a half of testing, Microsoft has released to manufacturing 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The new releases, branded x64 Edition, pave the way for a new era in desktop computing built atop advanced processors architectures.

General availability of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition is slated for next month during Microsoft's WinHEC 2005 conference.

The x64 editions of Windows also run 32-bit applications, enabling for a smooth transition to 64-bit computing. Intel is expected to release its consumer 64-bit processors in April. AMD has offered its 64-bit Opteron and AMD64 chips since last year.

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"Windows XP Professional x64 Edition will particularly benefit business customers engaging in solving complex scientific problems, high performance design and engineering applications, high-end 3D game development, video editing, media encoding, or creating 3D animations," a Microsoft spokesperson told BetaNews.

Microsoft is targeting medium to large enterprises with Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions, which cover Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter versions of the operating system.

"Benefits include better performance for a variety of critical business and technical computing applications, and improvements to Windows Server 2003 core technologies including Terminal Services, Active Directory, Internet Information Services (IIS), and storage management," the spokesperson said.

To prepare for the launch, Microsoft says it has trained more than 8,000 developers on 64-bit Windows, and launched the Route64 Training Tour to aid ISVs in migration. More than 300 partners have joined Redmond in its 64-bit efforts, the company says.

Microsoft also plans to soon begin accepting applications for Windows XP x64 Edition in its "Designed for Windows" logo program.

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition find its roots in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, which also debuted early Thursday.

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