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Microsoft Previews 64-bit XP, Promises No Price Hikes

Microsoft on Wednesday released public previews of the 64-bit editions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 as it changed the official names of the high-end operating systems.

What was formerly dubbed "Windows XP 64-bit for Extended 64-bit Systems" will now go by the moniker of "Windows XP Professional x64 Edition." The server version, which went by the mouthful of "Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems" will from this point on be called "Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition."

Along with the name change, Microsoft posted a free beta version of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition for downloading, and will ship it on CD later this month. The download is huge -- around 450MB -- so users who want a copy on CD should head to the Microsoft site to place an order. The CD is free, but an $8 to $13 shipping and handling charge applies.

Windows XP Professional x64 will be priced at the same level as the 32-bit version of Windows XP Pro, Microsoft said in a statement, and the three versions of Windows Server 2003 x64 will come with price tags similar to their 32-bit Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter cousins.

Microsoft also promised that it would allow customers to trade-in licenses for the 32-bit version of the operating systems for 64-bit editions when the OSes go final in the first half of 2005.

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