I'm using Vista, and installers often choose one of the two "Program Files" folders (regular or (x86).) When I have the choice (i.e., there is no installer) how should I choose? Does it ever matter?

(This question could probably be better tagged, but I'm not sure what it should be.)

2 Answers 2


Looks like you are using a 64-bit version of Vista (as am I). It should do this automatically but here it is:

64-bit in program files, 32-bit in the x86.

The separation is needed at times and should be withheld: http://www.winvistatips.com/2-program-folders-64bit-vista-t171602.html

  • No offense, I accepted Mike's because he have slightly more information (that it doesn't really matter). Thanks. Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 12:32
  • @Farmboy - I woul disagree with that assessment based on the votes. Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 13:46
  • Diago - I've changed my acceptance on the basis of the link IPX Ares provided. Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 16:43

I don't believe it really matters because some programs that are 32 bit, will install in the Program Files (even though that's what the x86 folder is for). I believe its just for organization. So best practice would be

  • 64 bit= program files
  • 32 bit= program files x86
  • Why the downvote? I'm ignorant of this stuff, If Mike is in error, let me know! Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 12:17
  • not sure... maybe for repeat?
    – RiddlerDev
    Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 12:28
  • perhaps i should have commented on IPXAres's answer instead of making my own. No harm intended there
    – Mike M
    Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 12:34
  • Looks like it does matter after some more digging (I did not know either). winvistatips.com/2-program-folders-64bit-vista-t171602.html
    – RiddlerDev
    Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 12:41
  • aww man, now he goes back and picks yours. killing me ;) no worries, but that down vote hurt whoever you are!
    – Mike M
    Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 17:19

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