Before we discuss this, it is important for the users to understand a few facts about 64-bit platform offerings.

 

64-bit computing (from a Microsoft perspective) comes in two variants

·         x64 (EM64T/AMD64)

·         Itanium (EPIC)

 

Both, Windows Server 2003 SP1 64-bit and Windows XP 64-bit, support the above two mainstream 64-bit processor architectures.

 

Code execution is enable in both the above kind of platforms in two ways

·         Native 64-bit

·         WoW64 x86 emulator

 

While as the name implies, native 64-bit takes advantage of the native 64-bit computing platform, Windows-On-Windows environment, WoW, WOW64 etc. are all names that refer to an x86 emulator that allows 32-bit Windows-based applications to run on 64-bit Windows. Wow64 allows 32-bit productivity applications developed using the .NET Framework 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 and Win32 to run on 64-bit Windows and take advantage of the 64-bit Windows kernel which offers a larger number of kernel handles and window handles. WoW64 supports 32-bit console, GUI and service application, and although some 32-bit server applications may be certified to run on WoW64, WoW64 is NOT intended for 32-bit server apps. WoW64 does NOT support 16-bit Windows apps.

 

WoW64 emulation is performed natively (on the chip) by the x64 micro-architecture, which means WoW64 performance on x64 is similar to that of 32-bit Windows. However, because the Itanium (IA64) architecture does not support native WoW64 emulation, WoW64 performance on the Itanium is substantially less than that of 32-bit Windows.

 

Read more about WoW in the links below:

·         Running 32-bit applications

·         WOWing Your 32-Bit Applications with 64-Bit Windows Part1

·         WOWing Your 32-Bit Applications with 64-Bit Windows Part2

 

Catch you with more later!