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I have 64bit Windows7.

Does it make any difference if I run 32 bit programs from a directory, say, at C:\myfolder ? Is there any advantage to keeping them in C:\Program Files (x86)\myfolder ?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

No, there's no real difference other than organization. At least, there shouldn't be.

I've definitely had issues with programs that can't handle ( and ) in their path names, or otherwise are poorly programmed and only work from C:\Program Files\, though. You can install the programs wherever you like, or wherever they have to be installed to work.

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I absolutely do not like the space-(x86) in the program files folder name. That is such a pain to type all the time - and you can't even use the good old %programfiles% environmental variable for it! M$, what were you thinking? Mr. Darth, have you tried using only one folder, then? I do notice that when I install 32 bit programs, many of the installers default to the (x86) folder. Is there a way to disable that? –  BGM Jun 21 '12 at 18:42
    
@BGM %PROGRAMFILES% still points to the old location, but there's %PROGRAMFILES(X86)% for the new one. There's no easy way to disable that, because when a 32-bit program launches, it's given the (x86) path whenever it asks for %PROGRAMFILES%. I personally keep my programs separated, since I often have both 32- and 64-bit version of the same application installed (developmental purposes), and it usually doesn't matter after I install the program - I don't actually type the path anywhere. –  Darth Android Jun 21 '12 at 18:49
    
Okay, I found another good post in superuser, which I will add to your answer (and then accept!). That is an important tidbit about having the same application installed in both program files dirs. In the end, it all means that I can run my standalone 32bit programs from whereever I like. Thanks for your time! –  BGM Jun 21 '12 at 18:54
    
Okay, the "peers" didn't seem to have accepted my edit, so here is that link: superuser.com/questions/118628/… –  BGM Jun 22 '12 at 0:36
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