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Running IE8 32 bit on Windows 7 64 bit ... possible?

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closed as too localized by soandos, Renan, 8088, KronoS, Randolph West Aug 6 '12 at 5:22

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Windows 7 64-bit comes out-of-the-box with Internet Explorer 8 in both 32-bit and 64-bit. Unless you explicitly launch IE8 64-bit, you're probably running the 32-bit version.

By default, IE8 32-bit automatically runs when you start the browser from any one of the following locations:

  • The Quick Launch toolbar
  • The desktop
  • The Start menu
  • A hyperlink or a file type that is associated with Internet Explorer

If you want to see which version is currently running, check the Help -> About Internet Explorer window. The 64-bit version will note that it's the 64-bit version.

The main difference between the two is that IE8 64-bit only runs native 64-bit ActiveX controls, and IE8 32-bit only runs native 32-bit ActiveX controls. This means that plugins like Flash that are 32-bit will only work in the 32-bit Internet Explorer (see Adobe's KB on the subject).

From Microsoft:

The differences between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Internet Explorer can affect toolbar add-ins and Microsoft ActiveX controls. For example, 32-bit toolbar add-ins do not work in the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer. These add-ins include the MSN toolbar, the AOL toolbar, the eBay toolbar, and the Google toolbar. You can install 32-bit toolbars in the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer. However, the 32-bit toolbars will not appear in the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer.

For example, when you start the Setup program for the 32-bit Google toolbar in the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer, the Google Setup program closes the 64-bit Internet Explorer window. The Google Setup program opens a new 32-bit Internet Explorer window when setup is completed. The Google toolbar appears in the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer, and the toolbar works correctly. The 32-bit Google toolbar is not installed in the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer.

By design, the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer cannot host 32-bit ActiveX controls. Additionally, the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer cannot host 64-bit ActiveX controls.

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I did not know that some ActiveX plugins require IE8-32bit to run correctly. I spent two hours searching and screwing around with Security Controls in IE to no avail (I'm a Firefox user). And Paul is right, the IE8-64bit version is the default for Windows7. However, for me 'All Programs' had two shortcuts for IE: IE and IE (64bit). I'm guessing you can figure out which one is the 32bit version. I also found the 32 bit version of IE8 in the same place as Paul, in case your 'All Programs' list doesn't show both – user66896 Feb 9 '11 at 22:43

protected by slhck Aug 3 '12 at 15:14

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