Do we need 32 bit OSs anymore?

Discussion in 'Computer Software and Operating Systems' started by Flame, Jul 18, 2019.

?
  1. 32 bit

    4 vote(s)
    5.9%
  2. 64 bit

    64 vote(s)
    94.1%
  1. boomerang42

    boomerang42 Member

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    Virtual machines are a workaround, but they aren't perfect and can't always run everything. There's some things I'd like to run that won't work on newer Windows that I have never been able to get running in a virtual machine.

    They'll probably never be a full replacement to directly running a 32 bit OS.
     
    Last edited by boomerang42, Jul 18, 2019
  2. Ryccardo

    Ryccardo and his tropane alkaloids

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    You're sure you're talking about me? ;)

    And honestly... yes (but more due to the "every little counts" factor than the intrinsic increase in size, and even more so due to a CALCULATOR APP using 30 plus megabytes of memory or mainstream web browsers having pretty much become full operating systems)

    Yeah (pretty surprised Microsoft didn't claim some veto rights over 16 GB nand models) but they sold quite a bit... like the underpowered netbooks 10 years ago :)
     
  3. CallmeBerto

    CallmeBerto Vigilante

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    No, for anything old that doesn't support 64 bit we have VM and ideally these apps should be on their own separate network since they tend to be very old and no longer getting patches.
     
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Other than things (usually malware) with VM detection or needing ISA cards or something similarly out there (I think my worst was an old Rover diagnostics machine with a custom BIOS that spun up an FPGA that spoke to a custom CD drive (this thing had CDs in cases you loaded into the drive), said BIOS did not support IDE CD drives either. Fortunately most people that needed it by the time I was involved mainly only wanted it to confirm that their Rover was "I'll provide the match" levels of beyond economical repair) I don't think I have had a program that refuses to run in a VM on a vaguely modern setup with proper CPU virtualisation support*. Worst that happens is when trying to migrate an OS over and it is locked to AGP (XP and older, don't know about Vista, changed some fairly fundamental things there at install time) when the VM pretends to be PCIe or vice versa.

    *modern stuff is even doing PCI/PCIe passthrough these days, and USB passthrough has been a thing for years. I know I mentioned odd serial devices earlier but most of that can be sorted if you stump up the £50 or so for a full big boy USB to serial adapter that does all the 15V stuff.
     
  5. pohaxsf

    pohaxsf GBAtemp Regular

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    heh, I use 32bit on my old pc
     
  6. boomerang42

    boomerang42 Member

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    Specifically I've been wanting to use MTV Music Generator (I know it's outdated but I know how to use it, and I find it useful) on a modern system but it won't run on anything past XP. And I've never gotten it running on a VM. Last time I tried was a couple of years ago because VM refusing to run it was so frustrating.
     
  7. Sophie-bear

    Sophie-bear The Coolest Bear Around

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    The problem isn't dropping support for 32-bit OS, it's dropping support for 32-bit software.

    To answer the question, no. We don't. Not as far as PC operating systems are concerned. Support for the software, though, is nice. Without it, we lose a huge amount of legacy software until some way to run it natively without the standard means of supporting it is implemented.

    A VM is a workaround, not a solution.
     
    Last edited by Sophie-bear, Jul 19, 2019
  8. Missingphy

    Missingphy Pokémon Master, Console Bricker, and more...

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    i can not answer both but i actually have a third OS installed, which is a 32-bit windows xp professional, because the mario teaches typing 2 program cannot run under the 64-bit version. my main OS is win 10 home 64-bit and secondary as win 7 home premium 64-bit. so the answer is yes, 32 bit os are still useful for some people

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    and if you wanna go REALLY back you can go for a 16-bit os
     
    Last edited by Missingphy, Jul 19, 2019
  9. sarkwalvein

    sarkwalvein There's hope for a Xenosaga port.

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    Please, don't drop support for 16bit protected mode! I still want to run Windows cooperative multitasking apps on my 80286!
     
  10. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

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    I can't really think of any hardware that's 32 bit only that will actually run Windows 10 decently, so at this point we wouldn't lose much by dropping support for 32 bit hardware. Support for 32 bit applications would still have to be there, though.
    Linux of course is another matter. That has a history of supporting ancient hardware and generally running pretty well on it (besides the more bloated applications, of course), and I don't see it dropping support for 32 bit any time soon. Individual distros may start dropping support for 32 bit to make it easier to maintain the distro, which is fine, those that need to can just switch to another distro.

    I think that has to do with 16-bit emulation being dropped entirely in Windows 7, not whether the OS is 32 or 64 bit. You could maybe use DOSBox or something to run the installer. 16-bit emulation in Windows was never good anyway, DOSBox has always been a better option.
    And frankly if the game is 32 bit it makes no sense for the installer to be 16 bit. Just a remnant of the past when Windows 9x was still the cool new thing and no one had imagined that future Windows versions might not be built on top of DOS, I guess. And laziness in creating or finding a setup program designed for current OSes.

    Said hardware likely still runs an ancient Windows version and certainly wouldn't run the latest and greatest Windows version well enough (or at all) anyway so it doesn't really matter.
     
    Last edited by The Real Jdbye, Jul 19, 2019
  11. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Can't get there.

    At best I see that as a matter of degree -- if we were worried about inefficient code then... I don't know how far we would have to go back there but a lot of modern computing would not be happening. Install footprint of an older OS on a VM for a modern storage device is next to nothing if even the vaguest attempt at optimisation happens, and even without it then it is still nothing drastic for most.
     
  12. kuwanger

    kuwanger GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Is that so? I was under the impression 32-bit Windows 7 still included 16-bit compatibility.

    One reason is if you have an installer designed to either (1) inform you you're using the wrong installer or (2) to choose to install the 16-bit or 32-bit version of a game. Regardless, the installers exist and it's necessary to maintain some level of emulation to get those 32-bit games to work. That's the price of maintaining backwards compatibility.
     
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  13. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

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    Well, you don't actually need the installer to get the game working. Often you just need to find a program capable of extracting the files (UniExtract has done me well here but I don't know if it would work for something that old, anyway the files might simply be in .cab format which is easy enough to extract), though the game might expect certain registry keys that will need to be manually added. Likely someone will have already done the work for you and figured out how to get the game extracted and running without using the 16-bit installer.
    I'm not 100% sure on that Windows 7 thing, I seem to recall it from a YouTube video but the details are hazy.
     
    Last edited by The Real Jdbye, Jul 19, 2019
  14. Sophie-bear

    Sophie-bear The Coolest Bear Around

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    So your only 32-bit OS is nearly 20 years old... That has very little bearing on whether 32-bit operating systems should continue to be made, which I think is the real topic at hand.
     
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  15. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

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    From a security standpoint it is important that Linux continues to support 32-bit so that people with legacy hardware aren't stuck without any secure OS they can run on it. Because whether they like it or not in some cases people are stuck with using legacy hardware not of their own choice.
    But Windows 10 realistically barely runs on any system that's old enough to not have 64-bit support and so I don't see anyone really missing 32-bit support there.
    As you say, if you're running an older Windows version on a 32-bit system (hopefully keeping it offline since Windows is a bad enough security hazard as it is even with regular updates), you won't be affected by this anyway.

    But if your question is if we should drop support for 32 bit across all OSes @Flame, that would be a definite no for the reason mentioned above.
     
  16. boomerang42

    boomerang42 Member

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    DOSBox. I never would have thought of using that. I wonder if it's worth the trouble of figuring out how to set up DOSBox just to run one game though. I haven't had good experiences trying to get DOSBox running and doing what I want it to in the past. It's been some years now though, so I wonder if it's somewhat easier to use now.

    What I was trying to install was an indie game, but even major games would sometimes do that. I mean, just for one example Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines (original disc release, of course) used a 16 bit installer. So when 64 bit Windows happened, it wouldn't install. There had to be a tool released by someone to install it on 64 bit Windows. I remember other games having the same issue despite the game being 32 bit.
     
  17. Sakitoshi

    Sakitoshi GBAtemp Official Lolimaster

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    that's because microsoft decided to not include the 16bit subsystem on 64bit versions of windows. 16bit code could run perfectly fine if they included it.

    a 64bit cpu can execute 16bit code perfectly fine without the need of an emulator, the 16bit subsystem wasn't included on 64bit windows (and on 32bit win10 is disabled per default, but it can be enabled manually) and it works like a virtual machine, not an emulator. the reason is hit and miss is because 16bit stuff is complicated (there are 2 modes for 16bit, real mode and protected mode, there is also the stuff about conventional memory and extended memory and all that) and microsoft did what they could without wasting to much resources on that area.
    and if an application is 16bit doesn't mean is instantly a dos program, so you can't run those installers directly on dosbox, you'll still need to install windows 3.1 or 95 and at which point it would be better to just use a virtual machine.

    installers don't just extract a couple of files and that's it, they also write some values to the registry and install additional components (even drivers if necessary). so that solution is prone to fail.
     
  18. bandithedoge

    bandithedoge GBAtemp Regular

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    I think you're confusing the OS with the DE. I agree that GNOME 3 sucks and is bloated as hell, but you have a lot of versions of Ubuntu which are the same thing, just with a different DE. I just wish they didn't drop Unity.
     
  19. alexander1970

    alexander1970 GBA Fan

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    Hello. :)

    For me it is no "Doomsday" if NEW Operating Systems no longer developed/released for 32-Bit.

    But I understand and support the Users who maybe "needs" and keep their 32-Bit Operating System.
    (Their Hardware/Software is not working in 64-bit environment and not every has the money and the nerves to buy new one).

    Thank you.:)
     
  20. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    The problem is in businesses. At home, you'll cry a bit when your next-gen console isn't backward compatible, but you'll live with it. It's a new architecture, and by the time you're used to it, you'll laugh at all the "junk" you leave behind. Okay: some very retro-ish and cool stuff. That probably wasn't cheap, and even if it was it probably has nostalgic value.

    Business, on the other hand, simply cannot afford to upgrade like that. They might have both hardware and software that suddenly refuses to work, and that can cause a whole chain of events happening. I mean...at my company we had to solve a nasty (but luckily pretty harmless) bitcoin miner worm this week. It got in through a windows XP computer. This is especially frustrating because our ICT department knew about the PC and its vulnerabilities, but it couldn't be replaced because it ran some sort of exotic kind of software that was absolutely crucial to the department, but where nonetheless nobody had a clue who built it or how to get it working on a recent computer. Result: "thanks to" this piece of malware, we stepped in and pretty much unplugged the device. Now suddenly, what had been lingering for months is fixed within a couple days. :glare:

    Ahem...I know: the above story isn't exactly related to 32-bit but more about the way businesses work in general. It is also why windows continues to be successful, even though there's hardly any decent improvement on it in years. The same is true for 32-bit: at this point it's only there because of its legacy.

    32-bits operating systems...of course linux distributions can chose to ditch them: as long as there are OTHER distro's that still offer it, those with outdated hardware can get it to work (the last distro that attempts to remove it will have some backlash, though :P ).
    That ubuntu debacle isn't about that, though. It's about 32-bit software support on...well...ANY platform, really. They decided it wasn't worth pursuing the old architecture, which I can't really blame them for. And the userbase...it wouldn't be very diplomatic to call them greedy, but it's still the best description. And I've got to be honest: I'm greedy as well. Let's say investigation* would turn out that NOT having 32-bit driver support or installers or what have you would cause me to not be able to play ten of my thousand+ games on the system. In that case, my reaction would be "BUT I WANNA PLAY THOSE TEN GAMES!!!!". Because that is a quantifiable amount. Having a more secure, easier to maintain or otherwise better software environment is not something I can say I particularly care about as a consumer.



    *in addition to greedy, I'm lazy as well: I have no freaking idea which of my games would be impacted in what kind of way in the first place.
     
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