When Creative Suite 4 was released in 2008 one of the great advancements was a 64 bit version of Photoshop for Windows. This allowed the traditionally RAM hungry application to access all of the RAM you could possibly install on a computer as long as you had a machine running Vista 64 (Windows XP-64 was never a supported operating system). The result was an impressively faster application, especially when editing larger images since Photoshop did not need to use a harddrive SWAP file for RAM.

Photoshop users, however, had and still do depended on many third party plugins to add functionality and at the time most of those plugins were still 32 bit. In order to allow the continued use of those plugins, it was necessary to produce a 32 bit version of Photoshop as well. The result was that following installation, there were two versions of Photoshop installed on 64 bit Windows machines.

That wasn’t really a major issue at the time but fast forward to today and 64 bit is now mainstream. Just about all of the Creative Cloud applications (Dreamweaver is about the last holdout I can think of) are available as 64 bit. Third party developers have followed suit, virtually eliminating the need for 32 bit applications.

To get even better performance, many people such as myself  have moved to solid state drives. These drives are lightning fast but they’re also much smaller than traditional mechanical harddrives. The drive I have installed on my desktop is only 256 gigabytes and is used for the operating system and applications. All of my data still resides on standard harddrives.

With a drive that small, space is an issue and wasting it unnecessarily is not something that anyone is thrilled with.

Dropping 32 bit is not unprecedented

Adobe moved their video applications such as Premiere Pro to 64 bit only quite some time ago. Over the last few releases, even the traditional design applications such as Illustrator and InDesign have become more RAM hungry and the time is right to relegate 32 bit to the history books. A check of the system requirements shows a recommendation of eight gigabytes of RAM for InDesign. This in itself is requires a 64 bit operating system since anything over four gigabytes is ignored with 32 bit.

While we wait for the inevitable discontinuance of 32 bit apps (yes, I believe it’s as inevitable as subscription software), Windows user need a way to choose to install the 64 bit versions only. I’m not a software engineer and I honestly don’t know how hard this will be to do but a couple of things come to mind that I’d like to see:

  • A user preference to install only 64 bit applications on 64 bit systems, or;
  • Showing the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of the applications separately in the Creative Cloud desktop application and allowing them to be selected individually.

 Windows users: Speak up!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Adobe does listen. If you agree that developing two versions of each application is a waste of Adobe resources and user’s drive space, let them know. File an official feature request here.

Ironically, there is no Creative Cloud choice in the products drop down so my suggestion is to use InDesign. This is the application that makes the most sense to address since it’s the most recent addition to the 64 bit line up and unlike Photoshop, every new version requires new plugins.

Without 32 bit applications to worry about, Adobe and their third party developers could save time testing on 32 bit systems,  and users wouldn’t be stuck with extra versions.

Finally, I welcome your comments, but I don’t think anyone is interested in hearing that this isn’t an issue on the Mac. I already know that since I have a MacBook Air as well.