Why both 32-bit & 64-bit programs installed?

By Healer ·
I noticed today there are two folders of Program Files in all the new Windows 7 64-bit laptops. One for 32-bit and one for 64-bit they said. I wonder why. I even see two versions of Internet Explorer on the Start Menu.

To what I have understood 32-bit programs run on 64-bit machine. Why do we need both installed? If 64-bit counterparts are available they can simply have 64-bit programs only installed. Quite a few of them repeated in both folders though the contents might not be identical.

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Something you will discover

by JamesRL In reply to Why both 32-bit & 64-bit ...

Not all webpages like the 64 bit version of explorer, so you need the 32 bit version on occasion. Sometimes its because the add ins don't want to work. For example Youtube isn't happy for me in 64bit, I have to switch to 32 bit or it tells me I need to load the Adobe Flash plug in, which is already installed and works fine in 32 bit.

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So why don't we

by Healer In reply to Something you will discov ...

just use the 32-bit version and have the 32-bit version only installed to save the hard disk space if the 32-bit's always works. Obviously the 64-bits is not up to scratch, not mature enough to cater for all situations.

Also from the Start Menu I can't tell whether the shortcuts there refers to 32-bit applications or 64-bit's except Internet Explorer though quite a few of them have something on both folders of Program Files.

Why would you choose to use 64-bit Internet Explorer by the way?

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Not that simple

by JamesRL In reply to So why don't we

MS offers both 64 and 32 bit versions, but its the third party plug ins and apps that often aren't compatible with 64 bit. If MS never publishes a 64 bit version until all the third party apps are ready, they would never be able to publish. Its kind of a chicken/egg scenario.

Why do I use the 64 bit version? Its faster.


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You have a good justification.

by Healer In reply to Not that simple

I also understand that 64-bit would only performs faster if you have much memory, not just two gigs which is minimum for Windows 7.

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Also with the 64 Bit versions of Windows

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Why both 32-bit & 64-bit ...

They have 2 different Program Folders one for the 32 Bit Programs and one for the 64 Bit Programs because they work differently and M$ wanted to isolate the different programs from each other.

As stated above some Web Pages do not like the 64 Bit version of IE and the same applies to programs. Some programs work better under some circumstances as a 32 Bit Application and if you where to upgrade it to a 64 Bit version it would overwrite the 32 Bit App which would make the 32 Bit App unusable. Well it would be deleted from the system or at least overwritten.

This may not be the ideal situation so M$ included a 32 Bit Program Folder to store the 32 Bit Applications in. There are also different filters used on the 32 & 64 Bit Programs so having them all in the same folder isn't an option, you need to store the 32 Bit Apps in a different folder to the 64 Bit Apps so they work as well as they can as applying the different filters on a Per File basis would slow the system down dramatically.


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It sounds like

by Healer In reply to Also with the 64 Bit vers ...

64-bit applications are still not good enough to stand on their own feet or they are still testing the water.

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Probably won't be lots of 64bit till XP is all gone

by Slayer_ In reply to It sounds like

Which will be a long while yet.

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For some reasons,

by Healer In reply to Probably won't be lots of ...

all the laptops in the market I come across these days I've found so far are all 64-bits if they are Windows 7.

Anyway, I need a 64-bit system to work with the new Windows servers.

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Still testing the water maybe

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to It sounds like

But you have to remember that till Office 2010 became available there was no 64 Bit Windows Office Program Suite.

That in itself is a very big chunk of software than was needed for a 64 Bit Platform to be usable.

Even today there are still not many 64 Bit Applications available so M$ had to make the 64 Bit OS usable with 32 Bit Software because they didn't have the 64 Bit Software to run on it let alone other Software providers. The way that I see things with the 64 Bit Folder was that M$ expected it to stay almost empty for some time yet but they needed their 32 Bit applications to run in it or they couldn't sell it.

The way that things stand at the moment is that the 32 Bit Systems are effectively dead and buried because most new hardware will take much more than the 3.25 GIG Limit of the 32 Bit Systems. Hell even a reasonable Video Card for Gamers has 2 Gig of Memory which substantially impacts on the real system memory.

We now need the 64 Bit OS's to run on the current generation of Hardware which will allow even the bottom line NB's to load more than the 4 Gig of RAM into the System and then still have 512 Meg or more of Video RAM. That's way over the 3.25 GIG Upper Limit for any 32 Bit OS.

To date M$ has not shown any serious need to want to migrate to 64 Bit Platforms they have had a 64 Bit version of XP available since the 64 Bit AMD's came out years ago and have not really developed this to any extent. It was only after the Hardware became capable of exceeding the 32 Bit OS's that they even began to tweak their OS's by getting the 32 Bit Versions of Vista to Lie to the owners who had more than 4 GIG of RAM installed. Prior tot hat the OS would report that there was 3.25 Gig or less RAM installed. Now the 32 Bit OS's will show it all but only use the 3.25 GIG and not tell the owner.


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I appreciate

by Healer In reply to Still testing the water m ...

your long explanation.

I am using Microsoft Office 2010 32-bit and Internet Explorer 8 32-bit on a new laptop with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit system doing all this. A few times tonight both the Microsoft Outlook and the Internet Explorer crashed and I had to re-start the computer.

I am not too sure how long I can put up with it.

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