You may have noticed that Windows 7 x64 is now the recommended operating system for SolidWorks 2010 and 2011 (http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/SystemRequirements.html). In a recent poll, Windows 7 x64 was reported as the most common operating system that SolidWorks users have chosen to install on.
What makes Windows 7 x64 and SolidWorks such a good combination?
As opposed to Windows XP, which was first released as a 32-bit operating system, Windows 7 x64 is a real 64-bit implementation. Microsoft has removed previous limitations from the operating system allowing it to make full use of 64-bit hardware resulting in an up to 30% increase in performance. Further Windows 7 is much more efficient in handling system resources as well as graphic resources, while the operating system itself requires less memory than Windows Vista did, further improving performance and stability.
In April 2009, Microsoft retired Windows XP, ending mainstream support for the product. At the time of publishing this article, SolidWorks is stating that they will continue to support installation on Windows XP for at least one more release following SolidWorks 2011. We interpret this as meaning SolidWorks 2012 will support XP, but that this version would be the end of the line for XP support.
The SolidWorks Development team does their work on Windows 7 x64, so while SolidWorks 2011 is supported on Windows XP and Vista, it was designed to take best advantage of the improvements available in Windows 7 x64.
You can learn more about the advantages of combining SolidWorks 2011 with Windows 7 here:
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