Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Would it be possible to run 32 bit apps without problems on a 64 bit Windows OS? If not, what would be workaround?

Edited based on Ryan's comment

Particularly the following

  • Java
  • A few programming apps like eclipse
  • SDKs that run on top of Java,
  • Android SDK
  • Antivirus
share|improve this question
4  
It might be a good idea for you to point out certain applications you're concerned about. –  Ryan Versaw Oct 2 '09 at 19:21
add comment

5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The general rule of thumb is yes, 32bit apps will work on 64bit operating systems. The common exception to this rule is when the application itself has "hooks" to the kernel or needs certain drivers to run - most famously VM softwares - and then it is better to get the native 64bit version.

Also, plug-ins such as Java, in order for it to be compatible with Internet Explorer 64bit, should be in 64bit too.

That said, if you are running a 64bit Windows - always try to find the 64bit version of the app. If none exists, then use the 32bit version.

share|improve this answer
    
Another exception I've run into is an old game. It checks to make sure you're using a 32-bit OS because, when it was written, the alternative was 16 bit and it didn't support that. However, this prevented it from working on a 64-bit OS (because 64 ≠ 32). Moral of the story: check to make sure that any Window 9x software you may have will work before going to x64. –  Daniel H Oct 2 '09 at 20:35
add comment

If the program is 16 bit you can run into problems. Check this out:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa384249%28VS.85%29.aspx

share|improve this answer
    
You won't likely run into this issue unless you're trying to run an old application from a floppy disk, such as an application made for Windows 3. Sadly, this would be an issue for my mother as she still uses Lotus AmiPro on Windows XP (made for Win 3.1). –  Will Eddins Oct 2 '09 at 19:34
1  
Some 32-bit applications are distributed with dated installer technology that is 16-bit. Therefore, while the bits would work if installed the installer can't run. I have been running x64 Vista since it RTMed and now Windows 7 x64. I hit this 16-bit installer problem once. In Windows 7, XP mode solves the issue neatly. –  Brian Reiter Oct 2 '09 at 19:38
    
Windows 7 Professional (and above) comes with XP-Mode (although you may need to download it). That lets you run an in Windows XP (32 bit I think) as if it were just another window on your computer. –  Clay Nichols Dec 6 '09 at 3:18
add comment

Most likely. And if not you should be able to shim it to run. It really depends on the program and how much crazy code they put in (such as using undocumented "features")

share|improve this answer
add comment

I've been using 64-bit Vista and Windows 7 for over a year now and have had very few compatibility problems... nothing I can think of off the top of my head in fact.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Windows 7 Professional (and above) comes with XP-Mode (although you may need to download it). That lets you run an in Windows XP (32 bit I think) as if it were just another window on your computer.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.