Windows 7 x64 or x86

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by AdamL, Feb 14, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. AdamL

    AdamL Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Posts:
    116
    Location:
    France/Fife
    Hi :D

    I am looking for some advice. I am currently running Windows 7 x64, with 3GB of RAM. I have noticed that a lot of great security apps are not yet available (or are available for a fee) for x64.

    Is it worth me installing x86 to get around this or will I loose out?

    What is the difference, both in day to day use and security wise of Windows 7 x64 v Windows 7 x86?

    Thanks,

    Adam
     
  2. Boyfriend

    Boyfriend Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Posts:
    1,070
    Location:
    Pakistan
    I have used Windows 7 Ultimate x64 since release day (Oct 2009) to Oct 2010 and later switched to Ultimate x86. I do not see any benefit (other than 4 GB or above RAM usage). I also missed numerous security applications. Moreover, how many programs are x64 natively? On my system, only two applications were installed under Program Files. All the rest applications were installed under Program Files (x86). What are security benefits of x64? Patch Guard can be easily circumvented by TDL4. Driver signing can be enforced via group policies under x86. Now, on x86 I am happy and feels somewhat better experience as all applications runs in natively instead of WoW64. Moreover, I can try any Windows applications with greater flexibility.
     
  3. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Posts:
    5,121
    Location:
    USA
    One of the main reasons for using x64 is to eliminate the 4 gig ram ceiling. Regarding security it's debatable whether or not x64 is better. As Boyfriend noted ways have been found for malware to circumvent PatchGuard protection. I'm running Windows 7x64 so I can fully use 6 gigs of ram. If I had 3 gigs I think I would use x86 for the reasons you've noted. I don't see that you will lose anything unless you're thinking of adding ram in the near future. In any case keep in mind that the primary security app runs equally well (or equally badly) on all computers, and that would be you ;)
     
  4. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Posts:
    5,543
    Being a 64 bit user for some time now, and watching it "develop", if you will, I have really come to the opinion that, outside of the RAM issue, there just isn't enough "change" between the two to make an absolute call and say it matters. 64 bit faster? Possibly, depending on what you do. If you're not into doing a lot of photo/movie editing, it's just not going to matter much.


    As far as security goes, you might as well stick to 32 because what hackers can't do to 64 bit systems now (and they can do plenty as it is), they'll figure out later. 64 has only had a "pass" of sorts since not that many had been using 64 bit systems. It wasn't the "lowest hanging fruit", which hackers hold dear. Now though, many store bought systems are 64 bit, so that is changing.

    Also, as was said, there are far too many "specialized" security apps (think some HIPs, firewalls, and such) that don't have 64 bit compatibility yet, so keep that in mind if you're a "security nut" like many here.
     
  5. AdamL

    AdamL Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Posts:
    116
    Location:
    France/Fife
    Thanks everyone, taking in to account all the post above I have switched to Windows 7 32 :D

    What apps which are 32 bit only would you recommend I try, just because I can now?

    A
     
  6. Dundertaker

    Dundertaker Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Posts:
    385
    Location:
    Land of the Mer Lion
    Very informative post here. Been mulling the switch to x64 here.....thanks guys:)
     
  7. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Posts:
    5,543
    That completely depends on 1. How high risk of a user you are. Meaning, do you P2P, do a lot of random downloading to try new software, such things. 2. Your general knowledge of basic security, meaning do you know what a virus is, what malware does? Do you know not to click on random "win a free *insert product here*!" ads, things like that.

    You'll get told to run "LUA", HIPs, all manner of security options. But it all boils down to what you as a user does on the internet. In my case, I use Sandboxie (a sandboxing/virtualization app), and Avast 5 ( a free antivirus), as my main defenses, and I do just fine. Your biggest risk will always come from surfing, in the form of drive by downloads and social engineering. Those are easily squashed with simple browser tweaks and the realization that, you will not, as a matter of fact, win a free iPod if you "just click here".
     
  8. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Posts:
    6,956
    Location:
    Somethingshire
    Such as what great security apps are not available for 64bit?
     
  9. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Posts:
    5,543
    Defensewall is a start. Zemana WAS 32bit only, though I'm not sure if that has changed. The download page makes no specification.
     
  10. AdamL

    AdamL Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Posts:
    116
    Location:
    France/Fife
    Defencewall indeed :D

    Zemana is starting to support x64, they have a version available, however, in real usage it struggles - not passing many of the tests they have on their own website!

    I have started a new thread about Sandboxie and Defencewall.

    The change over to x86 has gone very smoothly and so far so good - thanks for all the post on here!

    A
     
  11. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    Posts:
    8,516
    I have more than 10x that amount :D

    Anyhow, I agree that there isn't much benefit if you only have 3 GB of RAM.
     
  12. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Posts:
    5,121
    Location:
    USA
    The more difficult question is how many apps that do support x64 provide the same degree of security as they do on x86? The vendors don't go out of their way to talk about how products are limited by the inability to hook the kernel as is done in x86.
     
  13. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Posts:
    4,215
    This has been a debated issue for quite a while. I've run Vista32 and 64 Ultimate for long periods (3-4 months each) on a fairly fast 2GB of RAM notebook. The 64 bit version was slightly faster than the 32 especially with more than 1.5 GB of RAM committed.

    The point is that when I open all of my memory hungry programs I don't ever get over 1.2-1.3 GB of RAM committed, hence in my experience switching to 64 bit with my current machine wouldn't bring any significant advantage (my machine came originally with Vista32). In the end I settled with Vista32 also because some of the automatic keys on my notebook would have drivers only with a 32 bit OS.

    On a new machine I wouldn't hesitate to pick a 64 bit version if I were given the choice.
     
  14. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Posts:
    5,543
    Great point. As we all learned with Sandboxie, 64 bit compatibility does not mean the same protection as 32 bit. Some vendors, despite knowing things might not work as well under 64 as 32, appease customers by trying to bring their products to the 64 bit environment. Some stand steadfast in their opinion that no 64 bit product is better than an inferior, less secure 64 bit product. There are extremely valid points to be made for both sides.
     
  15. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Posts:
    6,956
    Location:
    Somethingshire
    It must be easier to code with the ability to hook the kernel. Maybe if somebody could demonstrate how malware is taking advantage of 64bit system and how allowing ability to hook kernel for security apps would prevent that.
     
  16. Boyfriend

    Boyfriend Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Posts:
    1,070
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Malware is not hooking kernel but bypassing protection mechanisms. See here:

    TDL3 rootkit x64 goes in the wild
    x64 TDL3 rootkit - follow up
     
  17. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Posts:
    6,956
    Location:
    Somethingshire
    ergo it can be detected and stopped and no need to hook the kernel? an security app needs to be more advanced than malwere it combats
     
  18. AdamL

    AdamL Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Posts:
    116
    Location:
    France/Fife
    Is it possible to enforce driver signing on Windows 7 Home Premium?
    No Local Group Policy Editor o_O
     
  19. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Posts:
    3,189
    Location:
    USA
    So from what I gathered here dont switch to x64 because only one TDL4 is able to infect. How many on x86? That right there is plenty enough reason for me to switch. It doesnt have any more system over head, it has plenty of applications that run perfectly fine, its more secure, and it allows more RAM if you were ever to upgrade later. Its all about future proofing. x86 is on its way out. Some are just stuck in the past.
     
  20. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Posts:
    5,543
    Stuck in the past, why? RAM and certain computing jobs are the ONLY reason why 64 is "better". Security is temporary, as has been shown throughout the years of computing. The bad guys always catch up, and they are with 64. Hell, they're staying ahead of the security companies we praise and throw roses at here on the forums. "Future-proofing"? To hear most talk, we shouldn't be giving a rats behind about 32 OR 64, as our systems are only going to be used to access our data and apps "in the cloud" anyway.
     
  21. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Posts:
    3,189
    Location:
    USA
    Point proven. 1 infection that can bypass internal security features. That 1 infection is detected and removable. x64 =1 x86 =millions. Thats millions of reasons to switch to x64 alone. As for future proofing we are seeing laptops coming from the factories with 4Gbs ram, dedicated GPU's, etc. The future is x64. x86 is being slowly phased out. I highly doubt every thing is going to be in the cloud EVER. Way more security flaws in the cloud than there are with an x64 system.
     
  22. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Posts:
    5,543
    I don't mean to come off rude here, but how exactly did my post prove your point? I didn't say anything about "one infection", or any infection. I simply said that 64 is no different from 32, it can and will be compromised. That "one infection" proved it, so I'm not real sure I'd be so confident. Before that "one infection", people said it COULDN'T be compromised. They thought wrong, didn't they? The worst thing you can do is underestimate.

    On the cloud issue, I agree 1000% with you. It's a neat idea until you get down to the nitty gritty of who is keeping and protecting that data and those apps, and how good THEIR security is at keeping hackers and other undesirables out of THEIR systems. We can control our own, use the tools we desire to keep ourselves safe. Hand the wheel to someone else and all bets are off.

    P.S. The deal with laptops with 4Gb and such..welcome to marketing.
     
  23. Boyfriend

    Boyfriend Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Posts:
    1,070
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Could not most of those x86 millions threats run on x64 (remember WoW64)?

    It can run plenty of applications under WoW64 (not native but almost like native). In future, if you upgrade RAM/other hardware often, you might also have to cope with Windows Activation Technologies.
     
  24. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Posts:
    3,719
    Hmmm.

    Sul.
     
  25. ellison64

    ellison64 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Posts:
    2,499
    Go with 64.It seems to be the way things are going (for the time being) anyway.Most laptops and pcs sold at pcworldand other outlets are now 64 bit.Most apps work with 64bit anyway .If i wanted all my favourite security apps to work ,id still be using windows 2000.
    ellison
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.