32-bit operating systems have an expiration date, and Microsoft has gotten down to work updating the minimum requirements for Windows 10 May 2020 Update, the new major spring version whose final version we expect later this month.
Microsoft’s announcement is clear: All new computers hitting the market with Windows 10 from now on 64-bit versions will demand. In fact, Microsoft will no longer deliver 32-bit builds to OEM manufacturers.
The measure does not affect previous equipment that was delivered with 32-bit versions, since will continue to be supported: “Microsoft remains committed to providing security and feature updates on these devices, including the continued availability of 32-bit media on non-OEM channels to support various update installation scenarios,” the company explains.
Still, with this announcement Microsoft turns 32-bit Windows machines on a legacy platform, with all that this implies. In recent years, most new computers have been released with 64-bit versions and Microsoft hopes that this, plus the renewal of the computers themselves with new models, will cause their effective disappearance in the short term.
Goodbye to 32 bits in systems
The massive presence of 64-bit processors and machines and the minority use of 32-bit architectures are behind the strategy. 32-bit architectures are out of date, less and less used, and require an investment in maintenance and support that can be dedicated to the development of 64-bit versions.
Microsoft is not the first to set a strategy to suspend support for 32-bit systems. In fact it will be the last one to do so. Apple already announced in 2018 that macOS High Sierra would be the last system to support 32-bit applications on MacOS. The firm began issuing notifications to users along with a link to a support document that explained the reasoning behind this decision, which is known in the industry: 64-bit applications can access a greater amount of memory and allow a faster system performance.
Canonical was another that long ago (in 2017) announced the end of 32-bit versions for Ubuntu and was only released in 64-bit versions under the same argument: the massive presence of 64-bit processors and machines and the minority use of 32-bit architectures bits. However, as Microsoft will do, 32-bit packages have continued to be available in repositories for older or less powerful machines. Updates to long-term support versions are also allowed. As of 20.04 everything is gone and there is only a small repository with 32-bit packages left to maintain compatibility with applications and games.
Goodbye to 32 bits in applications
And they are not only operating systems but in all general software. For years, browsers like Chrome and Firefox have already implemented the 64 bits by default in their main distribution. Google announced the roadmap for the transition to 64-bit apps and the final end for 32-bit apps supported on its official Google Play store.
The same apple abandoned 32-bit apps as of iOS 11 and there are many more cases. NVIDIA dropped support for 32-bit operating systems on its graphics card drivers in December 2017 and AMD did so a year later, and the Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.9.3 WHQL were the latest drivers released by the company for 32-operating systems. bits.
There may be systems that continue betting on 32 bits, especially in the professional sector and state level for compatibility and support issues with specific applications, but it is clear that the 32-bit era has come to an end.