November 2005 - Posts
Windows x64 Editions have been out for a while, but I’m still seeing a lot of very basic questions in email and on the public 64–bit newsgroup, so I thought I’d post a couple of links to basic information to get you started.
The first is the Exploring XP x64 Edition column I did for the Expert Zone at the time of the release last spring. This is a basic overview of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.
Next, an overall FAQ on x64 Edition, also hosted on the Expert Zone.
Finally, an updated Overview of x64 Edition webcast I did this month has some good general information, updates on problems we’ve seen since the release, and answers to some questions from the audience.
update: There's a new whitepaper up on the Microsoft site that you may find helpful: Is Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Right for Me?
According to Virtualization Info, VMWare 5.5 is released.
See for details: virtualization.info: Release: VMware Workstation 5.5 released!
Key new features:
- Support for x64 hosts and guests!
- Support for virtual 2–way SMP
- Support for importing Virtual Server and Virtual PC images
- CPU check utility to verify x64 guest compatibility
Lots of other goodies, too, but these were the ones that I really wanted. I’ve been using the beta for a while, and I really like it. Still don’t much like the way networking is set up and configured, and still want the equivalent of the Virtual Machine Remote Console from Virtual Server, but otherwise? A solid release and definitely a step ahead of the competition.
The official release date appears to be November 29th, but you can download it now at: http://www.VMWare.com/download/ws/
Just a reminder, folks. We maintain this blog as a place to provide more in-depth articles and news about all things x64 (and occasionally other things that catch our fancy, like these wonderful Shure E5C Earbuds). We hope you find the articles interesting or helpful or even sometimes provocative. And we love to see comments, and certainly read them all. But do not expect us to use the comments section to do tech support. Frankly, blogs just aren’t very good at that, and none of us really want get frustrated trying to do that. So please, if you have a question about something in one of our blog posts, ask the question on the public Microsoft 64–bit newsgroup. news://msnews.microsoft.com/microsoft.public.windows.64bit.general, to write it all the way out. Use Outlook Express or your newsreader of choice. Or even <shudder> the web front end. You’ll find not only those of us who post to this blog there, but also lots of other helpful users. Someone is sure to answer your question, if you ask nicely, and most likely several of us will.
Author of >25 books
on computers, operating systems and enterprise environments
Over the years, I’ve run more than one operating system on almost all of my every day systems. As a writer about technology and operating systems, I’m constantly working with new (and often beta) operating systems as I learn their ins and outs to write about them. Since I generally have to buy my own hardware, that means making the most of the hardware I do have, and dual booting, or multi-booting, can be an effective solution. Several years ago, when the Windows Expert Zone was getting started, I wrote a column about multi-booting, and much of it is still true today. But obviously, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition didn’t exist back then, so let’s talk about the specifics of how to do it with x64 Edition.
First, and foremost, as I said in that earlier column – the order of installation is critical. The general rule is: Always install operating systems in the order of their original release date. That has always been true, and is definitely true here. That means that Windows XP Professional x64 Edition needs to be the last operating system you install, at least if we’re dealing with released versions of Windows operating systems. If you want to dual boot with 32–bit Windows XP, install it first. Add any drivers you need, do your basic configuration, etc., and create a system restore point. Better yet, do a full backup. It’s always good to have a solid backup of a known good operating system to fall back on.
Next, install Windows XP Professional x64 Edition onto its own partition. As I said in that earlier column, “The first rule of partitions is that every operating system needs one. Actually, every OS needs its own drive letter (technically, a logical drive), but it can share an extended partition with other operating systems as long as they're each in their own logical drive. If your mix of operating systems includes UNIX and/or Linux, they will require their own primary partition, separate from any Windows operating system you have installed.”
Do not attempt to install x64 Edition and 32–bit Windows on the same drive letter. It will not work, it’s not supported, it’s a bad idea, and you’ll have trouble. If you’ve already done this, start over. Re-install your operating systems in the correct order, and do it by formatting the partitions completely.
The time for FAT formatted file systems is over. Use NTFS for all your partitions here. It’s faster, it’s definitely safer, and there’s just no real reason to use FAT any more. If you’re going to run both 32–bit and 64–bit XP, I’d suggest a 30Gb NTFS C: partition for 32–bit XP, another 30Gb NTFS D: partition or logical drive for 64–bit XP, and use the rest of your hard drive space as appropriate for your way of working, either one big drive letter or several smaller drive letters, your choice. Personally, I have drive E: strictly for “My Documents”. (Tip: you can share your My Documents folder between 32–bit and 64–bit Windows. If you move them both onto the same location, you’ll find everything easier from whichever OS you boot to.) The next drive letter I have is for my miscellaneous data and downloaded files. Everything from drivers to new versions of the OS’s I’m working with goes on this, and again, it’s NTFS. And, finally, the other trick I do is to set my main DVD drive at the same drive letter on all my OS’s – R: in my case, but choose your own.
If you've installed the operating systems in the wrong order, you can try to correct the problem by copying "ntdetect.com" and "ntldr" from the \i386 directory of your x64 CD to the root of your boot drive (C:) and then rebooting. If that isn't sufficient, then try:
If your boot.ini file has been lost, or corrupted:
- Insert your x64 CD and boot from it, choosing the Repair option
- Run fixboot (fixes the boot sector)
- Run bootcfg /rebuild (rebuilds your boot.ini)
- Copy over the ntldr and ntdetect.com files
A final note: If you’re testing or evaluating Vista, keep in mind the order of operating systems. Since it’s the latest one, it goes on last. And given that it’s a beta product at this point, be prepared to format and re-install that partition many times before the product ships. Don’t put it on any partition with other programs or data that you need to keep. Always install a new build on a fresh, formatted, partition.
Edited: 22 Dec, 2005 to add "Wrong Order" section (cpr)
Microsoft today made it clear that for the server market, x64 is very much the future. At the IT Forum in Barcelona, Spain today, MS announced that Exchange 12 will only run on 64–bit. Longhorn Small Business Server will also only be 64–bit, and by the time of Longhorn Server R2, even regular Server will be 64–bit only. For more details, see the press release here. Microsoft Debuts Host of New Products and Solutions
OK, I’ve been struggling ever since I started using Windows XP Professional x64 Edition on my SBS 2k3 network full time. First, there’s no ISA client, so I have to have a special rule for my x64 boxes to let them do what they need to do. But I’ve gotten over that. But then there was Outlook. What a PITA connecting to it. Finally gave up on wireless, even on my laptop because the connection was so intermittent and problematic. Even wired I was having problems. No way at all to connect to public folders, and even connecting to the main mailbox was spotty at best. Then I got pointed to: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;EN-US;897716 RPC data may be blocked, and Outlook may not start in Windows Server 2003 with SP1.
Now, let’s be clear. None of the conditions that the KB article lists are the case. I’m not running Outlook on my server, and SBS doesn’t support Application Server Mode at all starting with SBS2k3. But I was willing to try anything by now. So, I installed the ISA 2004 Standard Edition version of the patch, and it took a couple of minutes to install, but then I started everything back up and connected with my Ferrari, and there we were — everything working like it’s supposed to! Nice. Hope someone at MS updates that KB to indicate that this will fix x64 connection issues as well.
Update: Just a reminder, folks, that whenever you muck around with anything on SBS, you may need to re-run the CEICW and do a reboot. In this case, the hotfix doesn’t say it requires a reboot, but it will break your email connection to the world if you don’t re-run the CEICW and then reboot. And yet another reason why I really like having my backup MX records at ZoneEdit.com — once I realized I had a problem, I just tickled their server and all my backed up email came zipping down. Including all the SPAM, unfortunately.
Another update: MS has updated KB 897716 to show that is relevant for x64 clients in SBS. Thanks, Darrell!