No more 32-bit Windows 10 from V2004 on new devices

[German]It looks like the 32-bit version of Windows 10 is dying slowly. On new devices shipped with Windows 10 2004, the operating system only will be a 64-bit installation.


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The colleagues from deskmodder.de and Dr. Windows looked at the hardware specifications of Windows 10 for the desktop. In the past, in 2014/2015 it was said that ‘Windows 10 is so efficient that it runs on machines with Windows 7 SP1’, but all that has changed. The minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10 devices have been gradually tightened.

Minimum hardware requirements

In Section 3.0 – Minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10 for desktop editions, Microsoft specifies the minimum hardware requirements that OEMs must meet for new devices when installing Windows 10 as a desktop operating system. The following requirements are the same as I understand them to be.

Devices that run Windows 10 for desktop editions require a 1 GHz or faster processor or SoC that meets the following requirements:

  • Compatible with the x86* or x64 instruction set.
  • Supports PAE, NX and SSE2.
  • Supports CMPXCHG16b, LAHF/SAHF, and PrefetchW for 64-bit OS installation

With regard to RAM, >= 1 GByte for 32-bit and >= 2 Gbyte for 64-bit operating systems still apply. The hard disk or SSD for the system must be at least 32 GByte or more since Windows 10 version 1903. But these are all minimum values with which a Windows 10 should be no fun. The more serious restriction is given in the next section.

The End for 32-bit OEM systems

Microsoft has now added a footnote in the relevant documentation as a supplement.

* Beginning with Windows 10, version 2004, all new Windows 10 systems will be required to use 64-bit builds and Microsoft will no longer release 32-bit builds for OEM distribution. This does not impact 32-bit customer systems that are manufactured with earlier versions of Windows 10; Microsoft remains committed to providing feature and security updates on these devices, including continued 32-bit media availability in non-OEM channels to support various upgrade installation scenarios.

In plain words: From Windows 10 Version 2004 onwards, all new devices must be equipped with the 64-bit version of the operating system. Microsoft is discontinuing the delivery of 32-bit versions of Windows 10 from version 2004 onwards to OEMs.


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No influence on existing systems

However, Redmond emphasizes that this has no effect on (existing) 32-bit customer systems that were manufactured with earlier versions of Windows 10. Microsoft will continue to provide feature and security updates for these devices. In addition, 32-bit Windows 10 media will remain available in non-OEM channels to support various upgrade installation scenarios.

However, we should be prepared for 32-bit support in Windows 10 to end sooner or later -I would guess 2 years. Microsoft is thus following the path that Apple, e.g. with macOS, has also been following for some time.

Note: I’ve been asked from German blog readers, whether the WOW64 subsystem would be removed in 64-Bit-Windows. WOW64 is a subsystem that ensures that 32-bit applications can still be run on a 64-bit Windows. This will not change in the foreseeable future with 64-bit Windows-System. Apple has indeed made the change from 32 to 64 bit apps in iOS. But this is a different eco-system (doesn’t want to write ‘toy world with apps’), the Windows world is a bit different. A 64-bit Windows 10 without WOW64 would be dead, since most of the applications (everything that is 32-bit) would no longer run. I haven’t heard anything like that as a rumor. Personal assessment: Even in 10 years we will still see WOW64 in Windows. Some exception where WOW64 is missing is a 64-bit Windows PE – and if you’ve ever used that, you’ll notice how annoying the missing 32-bit Win32 support is.


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3 Responses to No more 32-bit Windows 10 from V2004 on new devices

  1. Chris Pugson says:

    As long as the WOW factor only applies to 32bit software that is Internet facing, that is OK. The entropy of 64bit memory addressing is essential for the effective working of ASLR and so all Internet facing software and that software supporting it should be 64bit.

    I thank this website for first bringing the ASLR flaws of Windows 8.1 and 10 to my notice. I applied the advice I was shown and have not experienced a single unwanted issue with ASLR since. I operate in a purely high entropy world now, be it Windows 7 (with the aid of ‘unsafe’ EMET 5.52 settings), Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.

  2. Pingback: Windows 10 v2004 32-bit versions will no longer available on new devices • InfoTech News

  3. EP says:

    maybe unrelated but check these out, guenni:

    https://www.askwoody.com/2020/uwp-is-dead-sorta/
    https://www.thurrott.com/dev/236179/microsoft-is-unifying-win32-and-uwp

    while MS is slowly killing off 32bit support for Win10, they might be planning a future beyond UWP

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