Designing for 64-bit Windows

The 64-bit editions of the Microsoft Windows operating system support both workstation and server computers. Implementing hardware and firmware support for a 64-bit system requires special considerations that differ from 32-bit platform design. This topic describes the special considerations for firmware, hard disk partitions, and device drivers. This topic does not address processor-related issues.

In this section

Topic Description

ACPI support for 64-bit Windows

This topic describes ACPI support for 64-bit Windows systems.

Firmware for 64-bit Windows Systems

Firmware provides boot support to initialize hardware before the operating system is started. In x86-based (32-bit) systems, this capability is provided by the BIOS. Because traditional BIOS-based boot will not work with 64-bit Windows, other firmware boot solutions must be implemented. This topic describes these solutions.

Partition format for bootable hard disks for 64-bit Windows

A partition is a contiguous space of storage on a physical or logical disk that functions as though it were a physically separate disk. Partitions are visible to the system firmware and the installed operating system. Access to a partition is controlled by the system firmware and the operating system that is currently active. For 64-bit Windows, bootable hard drives must be partitioned by using the GUID partition table (GPT) mechanism that is defined in .

Drivers for 64-bit Windows

The 64-bit version of Windows is designed to let developers use a single source-code base for both Win32-based and Win64-based applications - and to a large extent - for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows drivers.

Additional issues for 64-bit systems

This topic describes issues to be aware of when designing for 64-bit Windows systems.

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