The Seattle Times has this interview with our own Jim Allchin taking reader questions on Windows Vista. Of particular interest to me was one area dear to my heart, the support we have in Vista for 64-bit processors:
Q: I just bought a new notebook computer with a 64 bit processor. I am eligible for the Express Upgrade to Vista. I have heard that the full retail versions of Vista will contain both 64 and 32 bit versions in the same package. Will this be the same for those of us who bought our computers before the full release? If not, please explain why. Thank you.
— Cheryl King, Edmonds
J.A.: If you bought a PC with a 32 bit OS installed (Windows XP home, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP media center edition) that is eligible for the Express Upgrade to Windows Vista, then your computer manufacturer should send the corresponding 32-bit version for Windows Vista. If you bought a PC with a 64 bit OS installed (Windows XP professions 64 bit edition) than you qualify for an upgrade to 64-bit version of Windows Vista Business. If you purchased a 32 bit OS on your new notebook and you would like to move to a 64 bit OS for Windows Vista please contact your computer manufacturer for fulfillment options.
If you buy the retail version of Windows Vista, then you are licensed to use either the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version. That said, we only include the 32-bit software in the package--- unless you buy the Windows Vista Ultimate (which includes both versions). If you purchase the retail product and you want the 64-bit versions, then you can contact Microsoft and we will send you a disk.
Details on getting the 64-bit version for all packages under Ultimate should be included in the package.
Jim also referenced the new Windows Vista Family Discount offer, which makes it easier for households with multiple PCs to upgrade to Windows Vista. This limited-time offer is for customers who purchase retail copies of Windows Vista Ultimate between January 30 and June 30, 2007, where customers in the U.S. and Canada can obtain two additional copies of Windows Vista Home Premium in their home for US$49.99 each. See http://www.windowsvista.com/FamilyOffer for more details.