As I discussed in an earlier post, dual booting Windows XP Pro x64 with an earlier version of Windows is one way to get around compatibility and driver issues. But more and more I find it annoying and counter productive. I have to completely quit what I'm doing, close all my files, and shut down my PC, then boot into 32-bit Windows XP, run my application or connect to my camera, and then boot back to Windows XP Pro x64 to get on with my work. To me, that's just a total waste of time. So, I've come up with an alternative method that works just fine for me - I have Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 and VMWare's VMWare Workstation 5.5 installed on my Acer Ferrari 4005 laptop, and I run a copy of 32-bit Windows XP Pro in one, and an ancient copy of Windows 98 SE in the other. Why two different virtualization packages? Well, mostly I guess because I like to try different things and this builds my comfort with both packages. And they have different strengths. In Virtual Server, I'm using Windows 98 to run Vern Buerg's List, unquestionably the all time best file listing program ever written. Sadly, it's still a pure DOS application and that means it won't run in x64 Edition. But I give that virtual machine a whopping 64 MB of RAM, and I can have it running whenever I need it.
In the VMWare virtual machine, which I only fire up when I actually need it, I can connect my camera and the old multifunction printer/scanner we have. Neither one will ever have x64 drivers, but they both connect via USB - no problem, VMWare supports USB devices, and even supports copy and paste to and from the virtual machine. That virtual machine gets 256 MB of RAM, which is one reason I don't keep it running all the time.
The net result? A whole lot less problems than dual booting, and I have full functionality of my legacy applications and hardware. Try it - I think you'll like it.
Update 3 May, 2006: See my Expert Zone column on this: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/64bit/russel_virtualmachine.mspx
Finally, an imaging program that supports x64. And from my preferred vendor for this, Acronis. They've just released version 9.1, in various flavours from simple Workstation that real people can afford to their Enterprise Server edition for those who have to support lots of servers and have big budgets.
I haven't had a chance to use the new version yet, but if it matches the capabilities of previous (32-bit only) versions, it should be an excellent tool for protecting and recovering your Windows x64 computer.
This isn't at all x64 specific, but it does affect all of us in the community, so I thought I'd just take this opportunity to tell everyone what to do when you think you've found a baddy that isn't being identified correctly by Microsoft's tools - report it directly to Microsoft. Please. There are two addresses as Microsoft that you should use:
firstname.lastname@example.org (for:virus/worm/trojan/etc samples)
email@example.com (for: spyware samples)
Samples should be zipped or rarred, with a password of "infected", and you should use "False positive" or "False negative" on the subject line to indicate the type of submission.
This is the current state of Anti-Virus on x64 so far as I'm aware. If you know of others, by all means tell me.
Avast! - http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html
Nod32 - http://www.nod32.com/home/home.htm
AVG Professional - http://www.grisoft.com/doc/Single/lng/us/tpl/tpl01
eTrust 7.1 (CA) - http://www3.ca.com/solutions/Product.aspx?ID=156 -> Version 8 is now available and works with x64
Symantec Corporate - http://www.symantec.com/Products/enterprise?c=prodinfo&refId=805
McAfee Enterprise (sorry, don't have the link right now.)
TrendMicro Client Server Messaging http://www.trendmicro.com/download/product.asp?productid=39
Kapersky Anti-Virus version 6 (KAV6) http://www.kaspersky.com/kav6
Updated: 18 May, 2006 - added Kapersky
A-V, AntiVirus, Anti-Virus