Adding, Removing, and Managing Programs in Windows 7

  • 9/23/2009

Installing Programs on 64-Bit Editions of Windows

If you’re running an x64 edition of Windows, you’ll notice the following differences when it comes to program installation:

  • 16-bit Windows applications will not install.

  • 64-bit programs will be installed, by default, in subfolders of the Program Files folder (%ProgramFiles%), but 32-bit programs will land in subfolders of a separate folder called Program Files (x86).

  • Although most programs designed for a 32-bit environment will run with full functionality in the x64 version of Windows, some might not.

In its x64 editions, Windows 7 provides both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of some programs, including Internet Explorer. The 32-bit version runs by default; to run the 64-bit version, click Start, All Programs, Internet Explorer (64-Bit). Why include both? In an ideal world, you’d use the native 64-bit version to take advantage of its better resource handling and speed. However, many popular add-ins for Internet Explorer are available only in 32-bit form; to use them, you must run the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer.

In general, it’s not essential to know whether a program you’re running is a 32-bit or 64-bit program. You can easily find out, however, by opening Windows Task Manager. (Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.) On the Processes tab, 32-bit processes are identified with “*32” next to the process name: