Re: Windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit

Richard Holloway

Right, but it doesn't matter why an item doesn't (or a few items don't) work nearly as much as what can happen if you do try and use problematic software. That's sort of my entire point. If everyone had current versions of software and new hardware, none of this would ever come up in the first place...

If someone is going from a 32-bit setup to a 64-bit and they don't know about the potential problem, they can end up in a real jam if they try to load something like JAWS 9 on a 64-bit PC. At least in some cases, it can completely trash the OS and make the machine non-bootable. When this happened to us, the only safe fix was to wipe the drive clean and install a fresh operating system, so even if this were the only 32-bit program that had issues (and it isn't) that alone makes a bit of caution prudent.

I'm just wanting to help people avoid what happened to us several years ago, and the very fact that there aren't a lot of 32-bit packages that cause this kind of a disaster makes it all the more likely that even a professional computer tech might figure the old version is safe to try and load, trashing your operating system in the attempt, possibly causing other data loss or any number of other frustrations.

This is sort of like explaining to someone who has never had a computer virus how important it is to avoid getting a computer virus. Once it happens to you, it makes a lot more sense, and you REALLY wish you had known before you took certain chances. Otherwise, why would someone carry on about it so much?

It is also worth mentioning again that 32-bit virus protection, is generally a problem with 64-bit setups, as are certain 32-bit database programs and CAD programs. Anything 32-bit with embedded drivers will probably be an issue and there may be problems finding certain external driver solutions for some equipment (especially older pieces). Also, if you have any really old 16-bit applications, I'm not aware of a solution to run them under a 64-bit system. (It might be possible by running an emulator under another emulator, but I've only personally done that with Macs.) Those are the items that come to my mind, and surely there are many more which I'm not aware of. Some problems may be greater than others depending on which 64-bit OS you're running (Vista, vs. Windows 7, for example.)

I'm rather new to the JAWS world and to this listserv, so I ask questions that a new user may tend to ask, but I've been dealing with computers quite heavily since the very early 1980's. I'm not trying to make myself sound like some super-expert, but I have been around the block a time or two. I'm just trying to make certain people understand there are risks associated with these upgrades if they are not fully researched. Even as a fairly knowledgable computer user, I ended up with a trashed OS from trying to load 32-bit JAWS 9 on a 64-bit Vista PC, so can this happen to others. My big mistake was that I had just asked Freedom Scientific what the (then-current) JAWS 9 worked on, so I didn't think twice about loading this on a new 64-bit machine a week or so later. How many here would question their computer tech if told "oh yes, you can run any 32-bit software on your new setup, just give me your JAWS 9 disks and I'll load that up for you on the your new machine"? Until this happened to me, I'd have trusted such a tech as well.

If people don't want to use my bad experience to avoid a huge mess on their computer, so be it, and I know this is much less likely to happen very often than back in 2007. I'm just trying to help if a few people might not know about this stuff. This isn't theoretical, it happened to me, it was repeatable (tech support initially initially had me wipe the drive repeatedly and reinstall Vista and JAWS) and it wasted more hours of my time than I even care to remember. So if people want to ignore my advice, no worries; they'll figure this out in their own way...

On Aug 2, 2011, at 12:33 PM, Steve wrote:

That's because Jaws 9 wasn't out in a 64-bit version.

Jaws and Win-eyes are too tightly embedded with the operating system, so those are the main exceptions; you need the Jaws 64-bit version to run on a 64-bit machine. The first 64-bit version of Jaws was 10, and the first 64-bit version of Win Eyes was 7.1.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard Holloway" <>
To: "The Jaws for Windows support list." <>
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 12:22 AM
Subject: Re: Windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit

Well, JAWS 9 comes to mind (which absolutely destroyed the OS on our Vista PC when we bought a 64-bit machine), at least under Vista, as well as most (if not all) virus protection software.

It can be really hit, or miss... (buyer beware).


On Jul 30, 2011, at 6:00 PM, Steve wrote:


I don't know of any 32-bit programs that won't run on a 64-bit system, although I suppose there may be some. But, that is what the Programs\x86 folder is for, that's where the 32-bit programs that run in Win 7 or Vista 64-bit editions live.

Jaws is available in either 32 or 64-bit editions. If you have the Jaws installation DVD, it will recognize which version you need for your system; if not, just go to the FS site and download the correct version.
Take my advice, I don't use it anyway.

Lansing, MI
----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard Holloway" <>
To: "The Jaws for Windows support list." <>
Sent: Saturday, July 30, 2011 5:32 PM
Subject: Re: Windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit

32 vs. 64 bit has to do with the way the computer physically addresses the data; literally 32 or 64 pieces of information at a time (specifically that many ones or zeros at a time-- that's what a "bit" is, a one or a zero in binary computing. Multiple bits comprise a byte. Enough bytes make a "k", then megs, gigs, etc.)

You must run the correct bit OS on the appropriate processor. Applications vary. You can run some 32 bit applications on some 64 bit machines which I assume requires some sort of emulation mode by the OS which may be transparent to the user. 64 bit applications won't work for 32 bit.

JAWS 9 was 32 bit only. At the time that was out, Freedom told me they had no intention of supporting 64 bit machines in the future. Once most new machines started going 32 bit, they changed their tune a bit. (Pun intended.)

I assume current JAWS has a dual installer that works on both? I know both are currently supported one way or another.

Sent from my iPad
On Jul 30, 2011, at 5:00 PM, "Crystal French" <> wrote:32

I have Jaws 12, but have reverted to Jaws 11 as 12 was crashing too often.

I'm afraid I need to think seriously about a new computer.

I'm still with XP Home.

Can someone tell me what would be the major difference between Windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit?


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