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My understanding is that by convention, 32 bit programs go in "Program Files (x86)", and 64 bit programs go in "Program Files" on 64 bit windows. Further that generally, well-behaved installers will get that right for you, and no decisions need to be made. However, I've been asked to override the defaults, and install a 32 bit program in "Program Files" on Windows 7 64 bit. I am worried about side effects or potential configuration problems.

So, is it OK to install 32 bit programs in "Program Files" on 64 bit windows instead of "Program Files (x86)? If not, then what are the negative consequences?

Thoughts?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

From the Windows perspective there will be no side effects or configuration problems, unless you have a folder with the exact same name in that location as this will cause you to overwrite that folder.

From the third party applications perspective it depends on how the application is written to check the folders, but this is very unlikely to occur and it is not a problem that causes your system to fail.

It is best to keep them separated but if you really can't do it then go ahead, your system will not die...

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