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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    I have just acquired a new Dell machine running Windows 7 Home Premium and have noticed that I have two folders for "program" files. One is simply called Program Files and the other is called Program Files (x86). Can someone explain, in relatively simple terms why there are two Folders with very similar names. One of the reason I am asking is that I noticed that Adobe has placed one 64-bit app (Photoshop Elements) in the "x86" folder and another 64-bit app (Lightroom 2.6) in the plain Program Files folder. Both are in an Adobe subfolder within the respective top-level folders. Thanks.

    Ron M

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Typically, but not always, the 32 bit apps will go to the x86 programs folder. Most of the apps I have installed will go to the
    x 86 by default...unless they are true 64 bit apps, then they will go to the "programs" folder.

    There are apps that say they are "windows 7, 64 bit compatible", but what they really mean is that they
    are just 32 bit apps that are capable of running on the 64 bit platform. They will go to the x86 folder.

    So, if your looking for true 64 bit apps to take advantage of your 64 bit os with it's extended memory
    capabilities, remember to look very closely at the application in question to see whether it's actually been writen
    in 64 bit code and not just 32 bit apps that are compatible with the 64 bit os.

    I have at least 1 app that will only work if the main dll is installed to the wow64 folder, and it's 16/32 bit, so go figure.
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  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    Thanks Clint. This helps me to understand what is going on here in these Program Folders. I appreciate the explanation. It may account for why Adobe installer puts Photoshop Elements 8 in the "x86" folder and Lightroom in the plain Program Files folder. Adobe says the Photoshop Elements 8 is Windows 7 compatible, from what you have told me it would appear that it is still written in 32-bit code that just happens to be able to run under Win7's 64-bit OS. Lightroom 2.6. on the other hand is supposed to be a true 64-bit application - not sure if it really is, but that's what people are saying.

    Regards,

    Ron M

  4. #4
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    It is indeed this sort of "messy accounting system" that is a necessary part of Win 7 (and Vista) 64-bit operating systems. There are far more 32-bit application programs than 64-bit application programs. Sometimes you will get autogenerated shortcut errors indicating the pathway does not exist but its just becasue Win 7 used the wrong path as default, but no other problems as far as I know.

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Not only is there a difference in folders in windows explorer, but this is carried over into the registry. There is also a WOW registry entry that, for example, has another Run area where S/W is often placed by S/W developers. There are now 3 of these Run areas in the registry. With a little time spent exploring Win 7 this folder layout seems to make sence, especially as time goes on and more 64 bit S/W becomes available.
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