64-bit Windows doesn't include every bell and whistle of its 32-bit cousin. After all, both 64-bit Windows and Itanium-based server hardware are marketed (and priced) as enterprise solutions; you would no more configure an Itanium server to be a fax server than you would use a Ferrari to pick up the soccer team after practice. Some of the "missing features" between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows are simply features that an enterprise wouldn't use on 64-bit Windows. Other missing features reflect the intense amount of development that went into 64-bit Windows; not everything fit in under the deadline. Here are the major feature differences between 32-bit Windows Server 2003 and the equivalent 64-bit editions:
The .NET Framework isn't included with 64-bit Windows? Expect that to change in the future; the whole point of the .NET Framework is that Microsoft (or someone) simply has to create a new common language runtime (CLR) in order to move the Framework to a different hardware platform. You'll see a 64-bit edition of the CLR in the future.
For more information on the .NET Framework and the CLR, see "The .NET Framework," p. 146.
ASP.NET isn't available in 64-bit Windows? This is because it's part and parcel of the .NET Framework. As soon as the Framework has a 64-bit CLR, ASP.NET should run just fine.
Obviously, the 32-bit editions of Windows Server 2003 don't take advantage of improvements in the Itanium architecture? Windows Server 2003's 64-bit editions have additional features that leverage Itanium's native error logging mechanisms and much more. Although it's theoretically possible (according to Intel) to run 32-bit Windows on an Itanium, you wouldn't see much of an improvement in the operating system's performance, and you wouldn't see any additional features.
Only 64-bit editions of Windows include support for 64-bit software development via group policy? New options in the user interface will enable you to specify whether 32-bit applications should be deployed to 64-bit computers, as well. This feature will provide interoperability in a mixed 32-bit and 64-bit environment.
Windows Installer on 64-bit editions of Windows also includes specific 64-bit application support? This enables packages to include both 32-bit and 64-bit components. This capability allows a single installer package to support both 32-bit and 64-bit computers, reducing administrative overhead and software maintenance.
64-bit Windows includes printing support for 32-bit clients? This enables administrators and users to manage and connect to printers that are hosted by a 64-bit edition of Windows from their 32-bit client operating systems.
64-bit editions of Windows include new driver installer routines? These can choose available 64-bit drivers over 32-bit drivers, if both are provided during an installation. INF files, which list the drivers needed by a particular device, can include 64-bit-specific lists in addition to 32-bit driver lists.
64-bit Windows doesn't include, at least for now, Product Activation? Microsoft doesn't feel that piracy, the reason Product Activation exists, will be an issue in the 64-bit world for the time being.
For more information on Product Activation in 32-bit Windows, see "Activating Windows," p. 13.
64-bit Windows lacks some common media applications? These include NetMeeting and Windows Media Player. This lack isn't critical in a server operating system, but you'll see 64-bit versions of these applications made available as free downloads and targeted at the 64-bit edition of Windows XP.
64-bit Windows doesn't support power management? With no 64-bit portable computers on the near horizon, you probably won't miss this feature anyway. Another common portable computer feature, infrared communications, isn't supported in 64-bit Windows, either.
64-bit Windows does not include Remote Assistance? Windows Server 2003 does include Terminal Services, so the underpinnings of Remote Assistance are available, but the actual feature isn't implemented.
Native CD burning isn't included in 64-bit Windows? There's nothing stopping a third-party manufacturer from writing a CD burning application, however, and those will no doubt become available after 64-bit operating systems have enough market penetration.
Some other, minor features are not included in 64-bit Windows, but these mainly affect the client operating system?Windows XP. Speech recognition, for example, isn't included in Windows XP 64-bit. Altogether, Microsoft claims a 99% feature parity between 32-bit and 64-bit editions. As mentioned, some of the parts missing from 64-bit today, such as the .NET Framework, will undoubtedly be released in a future update.