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64 Bitness

So I finally upgraded my computer about a year ago now. I knew I would be running a virtual machine so I wanted to make sure I have the memory and processor. I ended up with a Core 2 Duo and 3GB or RAM. TO take advantage of the memory I knew I would need to use a 64-Bit OS. Originally I ran 32-Bit Vista but quickly decided to retreat to XP. A friend recommended that I use XP 64, I had no experience and was a bit hesitant to do it but knew it would give me the best use of the processor and full use of memory.

Along the way I have found a series of ups and downs trying to adapt. I was surprised and amazed at the number of applications that have specific 64-Bit versions of their applications. Overall application support was not a problem and I could run all that I needed. Lately I have been running into problems with drivers. It started when I tried to connect a Visioneer Strobe XP 100. At that point I did not realize that the 32-Bit drivers would not work, so I connected and tried and tried. Finally I phoned support and was told that I could try the Vista 64 drivers but they could not guarantee that they would work for XP 64 and they had no plans to support XP 64. Needless to say that did not work and I gave up on scanner support under XP 64.

Then a few days ago I needed to have a second network adapter to my computer. Since it is a small form factor the easiest way is to use a USB to Ethernet adapter. After doing some research I came to find out there are only two or three that actually are on the HCL for XP 64 and Vista 64. One of them was the Apple USB Ethernet adapter but since people in the forums were having trouble getting them going I figured it would be better to avoid this since I would probably need to dig through Boot Camp to find the drivers if they were even released yet. Then I found the D-Link DUB-E100, it was on the list and even less than $30. It arrived last night so I plugged it in today and no-where on the disc were drivers that would install on XP 64. I went to their web site and the download version was the same as the disc with the product. I did a search for “DUB-E100 xp 64″ and the first link is a product manual for the product that has a section telling you how to install the XP 64 drivers. I noticed two things about this manual. The URL indicates it is for 3.4 not 3.3, and also it is from the D-Link Australia site. AFter playing with the URL I was able to navigate to the Autstrlian drivers and download the 3.4 package with the XP 64 drivers.

On the flip-side I also needed to use a USB to Serial adapter I bought years ago, but guess what… I needed to buy a new version from the company because they did not offer XP 64 drivers for an “old” product. After researching I found a totally generic product that scared me a little but but claimed to support almost ever operating system from Windows 98 to Vista 64 including Windows Server 2003 64! It arrived in the mail with a 3 CM disc and I put the disc in the system. Autorun opens a splash screen with options to install drivers for the product and all the drivers are clearly in their own folders on the disc. The install goes smoothly and there are even drivers for OS X and Intel!

Someone please explain to me why a generic little USB to Serial adapter that cost $17 can have broad range driver support but USB to Ethernet adapters from the likes of Linksys, Netgear and others cannot support XP 64? Why does Apple upgrade OS X to support 64-Bit processors and without obvious turmoil in requiring new driver models? Every version of Windows in recent history has had a “new and improved” driver model which while it will cause a little hassle initially will solve the problems and be the end-all, only to be replaced again for some reason?

Finally I will note that I am displeased with scanner support in OS X. The Visioneer XP 100 will not work under OS X and I see no reason why Apple should not have better native scanner support. I thought Twain was supposed to be an industry standard? All the scanners I can find that are compatible with OS X are large desktop sized ones and I just wanted a small portable scanner for occasional use.

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