Why didn't MS take advantage of PAE?

By: David W. Hess (dwhess.delete@this.banishedsouls.org), May 13, 2007 8:37 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
Stephen H (hsds04@aol.com) on 5/13/07 wrote:
---------------------------
>Operating systems are another matter. Most consumer desktops being sold now seem
>to come preloaded with 32-bit versions of Vista, even if they have 64-bit CPUs.
>This may well remain true as long as Vista is the current Windows version. The
>OEMs probably figure that the support costs of dealing with 64-bit-incompatible
>stuff outweigh any advantage to be had from going 64-bit. It's not clear that will
>change until people really need to be able to address over 2-3GB of memory in a
>single process, which I think is still several years off for the average desktop user.
>
>Microsoft seems kind of eager to dump 32-bit support on the server (as evidenced
>by the lack of it in Exchange Server 2007), but I think at this point they're pretty
>well committed to shipping a 32-bit version of Windows Server 2008. The desktop
>is a different matter, since it's more important to support old/low-end hardware
>there. If Microsoft winds up taking another 5+ years to come out with Vista's successor,
>then it'll probably be 64-bit only, but if it's much before that then I think they
>might do a 32-bit version. At any rate, 32-bit Vista will remain in wide use for quite a while after that.

I have tended to run into the physical memory space limitations instead of the single process memory limitations so I do not understand why Microsoft did not allow the use of PAE and more then 4GB of physical address space in their desktop operating systems. Even Vista 32 does not allow it. Was this predominantly because of marketing?

I know there are hardware and driver compatibility issues with PAE and physical address space above 4GB but the 64 bit operating systems seem to address this by requiring completely new drivers anyway or deprecated support. What was the their advantage?
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