Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today announced the general availability of Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003×64 Editions and Windows® XP Professional x64 Edition during his keynote address at the 14th annual Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC). The new editions mark a major advancement in computing by providing a single platform that can easily run new 64-bit applications and existing 32-bit applications at peak performance. With these new server and desktop operating systems, Microsoft and a broad array of partners are bringing cost-effective 64-bit computing from the fringes into the mainstream.

“This is a time of profound change in our industry. The move from 32-bit to 64-bit computing offers a dramatic improvement in performance and reliability, enabling people to use their PCs in exciting new ways at work and at home,” Gates said. “The introduction of Windows x64 editions, combined with a wide range of 64-bit applications and hardware, will help launch 64-bit computing into the mainstream.”

Customers Realize Breakthrough Performance, Reliability and Scalability

Today, many customers are looking for better ways to address increasing computing demands. In the enterprise, many common server workloads are straining the limits of 32-bit architecture.

“The release of Windows Server 2003×64 Editions will be the gun that starts the race to 64-bit computing,” said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. “Once there is a generally available 64-bit version of Windows, we’ll start to see all the utilities and infrastructure applications moving to 64 bits. By the end of 2006, I anticipate that Windows Server 2003×64 Editions will be the default operating system for most new Windows Server shipments.”

Early adopters of Windows Server 2003×64 Editions have seen stronger, faster results for database and data-intensive server applications. The x64 version of Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services, for example, can accommodate up to 170 percent more users per server than its 32-bit predecessor.*

“As an all-electronic options exchange, the International Securities Exchange handles a massive amount of data on a daily basis. The Windows Server 2003×64 Editions increased our capacity, helping ensure the best trading experience for our customers,” said Daniel Friel, chief information officer at International Securities Exchange.

Customers using Windows XP Professional x64 Edition are experiencing similar performance enhancements on the desktop in areas such as digital content creation, engineering, scientific computing and game development. For these customers, this translates into x64 Windows offering up to 32 times more physical memory and more than 1,000 times more virtual memory to work with, allowing them to work with massive datasets without needing to break the datasets into multiple portions.

“Sixty-four-bit computing is the next big step for the desktop,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group. “It promises a substantial improvement for graphically intensive applications and the inherent improvements in reliability and security that we’ve come to expect with moves like this. It also will do amazing things for games, which will, when written to it, provide a vastly more realistic virtual reality then we have ever seen before.”

Wide Range of Options for Migration

Developing Windows Server 2003×64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition required close collaboration between Microsoft and industry leaders, including chip makers and hardware manufacturers. The new operating systems will run on 64-bit Intel® Xeon™ and Intel Pentium® 4 processors, as well as AMD Opteron processors and AMD Athlon™ 64 processors. Windows Server 2003 for Intel Itanium® processor-based systems remains the most robust Windows platform for customers who need the highest levels of performance, reliability and scalability for databases, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and line-of-business applications.

“Intel and Microsoft are working together to enable 64-bit computing for the mainstream, creating an innovative ecosystem that addresses the needs of businesses and consumers,” said Abhi Talwalkar, vice president and general manager of the Digital Enterprise Group at Intel Corporation. “Intel has extended its 64-bit computing capabilities, performance, power savings and security across its desktop PC, server and workstation products. Combined with the 64-bit editions of Windows, these platforms provide IT organizations with proven computing solutions to help future-proof their investment, enhance business agility and deliver outstanding price/performance.”

“Dell and Microsoft have a long-standing relationship to develop integrated solutions that are easy to deploy and scale to meet customers’ evolving business productivity needs,” said Pete Morowski, vice president of Software at Dell. “Dell Precision workstation and PowerEdge server customers migrating to Windows x64 operating systems can be assured a reliable migration path for realizing exponential gains in performance inherent in the x64 platform.”

Broad Industry Support for Shift to 64-Bit Computing

Partners from every segment of the industry are demonstrating support for the Windows x64 platform on both the desktop and the server, with more than 400 supporting applications becoming available in the coming months.

“Today represents a key milestone in the move to pervasive 64-bit computing,” said Hector Ruiz, chairman of the board, president and CEO of AMD. “AMD is proud to be working closely with Microsoft to enable 64-bit computing, and we congratulate it on this momentous occasion. In the past two years, our AMD64 technology has rapidly become the industry-standard integrated 32- and 64-bit computing platform. In combination with the dual-core processing technology AMD introduced last week, pervasive 64-bit computing will transform the way all of us work and play at home, at the office and around the world.”

“HP’s 64-bit portfolio, which will span across our line of HP personal workstations, Integrity and ProLiant servers and select commercial desktop PCs, is well-positioned to support our customers in their transition to 64-bit computing,” said Mike Winkler, executive vice president for the Customer Solutions Group and chief marketing officer at HP. “Our innovative collaboration with Microsoft to provide customers with the x64 Windows platform will ensure that HP can offer the widest range of 64-bit platforms to increase productivity and better meet business needs, whether customers are poised to take advantage of the technology today or readying their infrastructure for the future.”

Software partners that have or are in the process of developing applications to support the Windows x64 platform include Adobe, Avid Softimage, BMC Software Inc., Cakewalk, Citrix Systems Inc., CommVault Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., DHI Water and Environment, Ericom Software, IBM Corp., McAfee Inc., NewTek Inc., Oracle Corp., Parametric Technology Corp., Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology Inc., Symantec Corp., UGS, and VERITAS Software Corp. Computer manufacturers that will offer hardware running Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003×64 Editions include Acer Inc., Alienware Corp., Dell, Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp., Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Hitachi Ltd., HP, IBM, NEC Corp. and Unisys Corp. Hardware and peripheral vendors that will offer hardware support for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 X64 Editions include Broadcom, Brother, Canon, Epson, Lexmark Marvell, Neterion, Nvidia, and Ricoh, Samsung, Wacom, Xerox and Zoran.

SQL Server Introduces Support Optimization for x64

Customers and partners will also be able to utilize the added performance and scalability of SQL Server™ 2000 Service Pack 4, which includes added support for AMD Opteron and Intel 64-bit Xeon. The additional functionality will allow users to run 32-bit applications on the 64-bit architecture, enabling them to get more from their existing investments today and easily grow tomorrow, without the software migration burdens typically associated with upgrading to new hardware architecture. Service Pack 4 will leverage the optimized resource management and performance synergy between the database and the processor architectures to provide SQL Server 2000 customers with increased scalability. SQL Server 2005, targeted for the second half of this year, will also support AMD Opteron and Intel 64-bit Xeon to provide users with simultaneous high-performance 32-bit and 64-bit computing.


Windows Server 2003×64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition are priced identically to their 32-bit counterparts and will be generally available beginning today. More information can be found at

In addition, customers who acquired a qualifying 32-bit version of Windows with x64 hardware are eligible to exchange it for the x64 version. Microsoft’s Volume Licensing customers may do this via their media kits; customers who acquired Windows from an original equipment manufacturer or system builder can receive their new software via the Technology Advancement Program. For more details, customers can visit