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I have a 32-bit app that I need to install and test on a Windows 2008 R2 server. This app has some dependencies on 3rd party 32-bit software (Oracle 10g client and TCL runtime -- a large portion of the app is TCL scripts). This app also creates Windows services to run.

The current version of the product requires that its binaries (.exes and .dlls) and scripts be installed to D:\App. This path is hard-coded in the scripts and config files. It also requires that the TCL runtime be installed to D:\TCL.

I'm concerned that if I try to install 32-bit binaries outside of %windir%\Program Files (x86), then weird things will happen; are my concerns warranted? Are there any side effects or issues with running 32-bit apps outside of %windir%\Program Files (x86) on Windows 2008 R2? Does our app have to do anything special with the binaries if they're running outside the %windir%\Program Files (x86) folder?

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This should probably be closed, as the least appropriate forum of the three it's posted to. –  Kara Marfia Oct 11 '10 at 12:59
    
And yet, it's the only one that's received any responses. –  Patrick Cuff Oct 11 '10 at 15:06

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Windows detects the 32/64-bitness from the executable, so in theory a 32-bit binary can be installed anywhere.

The reason for the two Program Files directories is mainly to eliminate the risk of having both 32-bit and 64-bit installs of the same program present, and their installation files creating conflicts and/or performance problems.

However, the issue is unclear enough so that all I can say is that it also depends on what the installation jobs do exactly. Oracle installation is especially large and complex. While I believe that this has a chance of working out, still anything can happen. You will just have to try and see (use a virtual machine if you don't want to destroy your server).

You will have some issues with IIS if you try to run 32-bit extensions on 64-bit IIS.
See also Running 32-bit Applications on 64-bit Windows.

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Thanks for the response, and the link :) –  Patrick Cuff Oct 11 '10 at 15:10

I have an app which makes use of Oracle Client and .net framework, in addition to few custom dll files, which I've installed on d:\app folder for a good 3 weeks now, and I've been monitoring it daily (it's an in-house app) - haven't noticed any weirdness. My app also creates few services, and it's been running fine without any hiccups.

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So many bad things in this app - installing to a hard-coded location, multiple services, hard-coded config paths, requiring a dependency to use a non-standard install. Time to do some re-design, I think.

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