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Device Drivers - the weak spot

They told us it's going to provide real support for the new 64-bit processors. They told us that the Microsoft Windows x64 Professional edition is coming very soon. But they didn't emphasize the ugly fact.

23, September 2003 - "Microsoft has announced the beta availability of a native 64-bit version of its Windows XP operating system designed to support 64-Bit Extended Systems, including platforms based on AMD64 technology from AMD. Microsoft made the announcement at AMDs launch of the AMD Athlon (TM) 64 processors in San Francisco. The updated 64-bit operating system, Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems, which will run natively on AMD Athlon 64
processor-powered desktops and AMD Opteron (TM) processor-powered workstations, provides the superior performance needed by consumers and business customers for the next generation of high-performance desktop computing, including gaming, digital content creation and video editing." -Microsoft Press Release

31, March 2005 - "Microsoft has released the final version of Windows XP 64 to manufacturing, meaning that those with machines that have 64-32 bit processors in from AMD and latterly Intel can now see what the extra addressing brings to the party." -The Inquirer

The Manufacturers had two years to work on their device drivers. And the current status is pathetic. Hundreds of products don't have support for the upcoming Windows XP x64 Edition. Only a small amount of manufacturers provided a suitable x64 driver. Don't even try to use the normal Windows 2000/XP driver because it will not work!

Is it Microsoft Fault or the manufacturers? After all they had plenty of time to manage it, and still it happened.
Microsoft XP x64 Drivers databases are almost the same to other revisions and it's not easy to find 64bit drivers. If you are planning to use the upcoming Windows XP x64 edition make sure your hardware is supported. USB modems, Joysticks, Network adapters, you name it, it doesn't have it, support that is.

This situation is unacceptable. With all the resources and time available to Microsoft during the development period you would have thought they would have delivered a better finished product. "What do you mean?" - You may ask. Well, launching a "new" operation system without any sufficient driver base support was a really bad move on their part. With all the publicity and marketing happening in the last few years regarding this particular operation system you would have expected that company's would have prepared themselves a little more.

Currently, this O/S is useless to me. Is it because I don't have the miracle 64Bit CPU? NO. It's simply because the lack of drivers available for my hardware doesn't let me experience it the way Microsoft promised. Will I ever install it again on my system? Hmmm, well, only time will tell. Currently you will see no real improvements with this new technology over the actual 32Bit one, performance wise. The majority of today's software's are written to take full advantage of the current 32Bit technology, witch means that even if you have a 64Bit CPU, using a 64Bit O/S you wont see any "out of this world difference". You will only see the real benefits of 64Bit computing when software starts to be written from scratch for it. But for now, I would be really happy if they would only improve there weak driver support. This new era of computing brings to the table great expectations, let's just hope they will give it time to mature and invest in more and better support.

Written by: Helio "Mainman" Brandao

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