Can you run 32 bit programs on 64 bit Windows 7?

Can you run 32-bit programs on 64-bit Windows 7A simple question: Can you run 32-bit programs on a 64-bit Windows 7? If you don’t know weather you’re on a 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7, you should read this.




The answer is yes. Windows 7 64-bit supports almost all 32-bit applications. 64-bit systems emulate 32-bit applications, so all 32-bit applications can run smoothly on 64-bit systems. There are exceptions (read on).

If you look in your system folder, you will find a folder called “WoW64″ (Windows-on-Windows 64-bit), which is basically a subsystem on your system that is capable of running 32-bit code.

Are there any 32-bit programs that won’t work on 64-bit Windows 7?

Yes. There are some exceptions. Many anti-virus and firewall solutions designed for a 32-bit system will not run on a 64-bit Windows 7 and require a special 64-bit installer. Most software providers also allow you to download a 64-bit version of their applications.

Also, any device drivers designed for 32-bit systems won’t work on 64-bit systems. So, don’t try to use your old drivers on Windows 7 x64, it won’t work.

So, yes, Windows 7 64 can run 32 bit programs!

Update:
More exceptions include Photoshop and basically all Adobe products. Adobe released a special 64-bit edition for 64-bit systems.

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Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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2 Responses to Can you run 32 bit programs on 64 bit Windows 7?

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Hadi Rahadian said:

    Hi There…my name is hadi…i’d like to ask the difference of 32 bit n 64 bit operating system. my cpu : intel dual core 2,6 Ghz, Asus P5kpl, ddr2 1GB, VGA + Sound onboard, 250GB of HDD. can i use 64 bit operating system??? which version of windows is best for my cpu??? thanks for anyone that can help me..sorry if my english not too good…

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    Hi Hadi. I wouldn’t recommend Windows 7 64-bit for your setup. You have only 1GB RAM, so you should use Windows 7 32bit. If you can upgrade your RAM to 4GB, then you could use Windows 7 64-bit.

    64-bit Windows 7 will be better if you are using a lot of 64-bit optimized applications (there aren’t many yet). Some applications can use the power of your dual/quad more efficiently on Windows 7 x64 than on x32.

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