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  1. #1
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    Installing 32-bit software on a Windows7-64 PC

    I recently set up a new Windows 7-64 PC to replace my current XP setup. A lot of the programs I use are 32-bit and so were installed in the \Program Files (x86)\ folder by default. Unfortunately this has caused an unforeseen problem with most of my batch programs, scripts, macros, etc. that reference the x86-less path. Rather than tracking down and rewriting all these references, I am wondering if it would be more practical to reinstall to the \Program Files\ path instead. Would this cause any problems with the OS? Will Office 2010 fight this alternate path?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Should work just fine. Actually I'm surprised they went in the (x86) folders most old programs want to install in the straight Program Files folder. HTH
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  4. #3
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    32-bit drivers won't work with 64-bit Windows. But I haven't heard that 32-bit programs won't work.

    If you have 32-bit Windows, you don't have any of these compatibility issues. But there are a few trade-offs:
    * The system is potentially slower than if it was 64-bit.
    * 32-bit Windows 7 maxes out at 4 GB of RAM; 64-bit Windows 7 has a much higher maximum on RAM.
    * I believe there is a 2 TB limit on hard drive partitions with 32-bit Windows 7; you can go a lot bigger with 64-bit Windows 7.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2013-04-12 at 20:25.

  5. #4
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    I have a LOT of 32-bit software on our Windows 2008 64-bit server and on my 64-bit Windows 7 PC at home.
    In BATch files, you can simply check what environment variables have been set up and choose the one appropriate to the bittedness of the program, and modify the BATch file.
    On my Windows 7 PC
    SET PROGRAM in a Command Prompt window gives
    ProgramData=C:\ProgramData
    ProgramFiles=C:\Program Files (x86)
    ProgramFiles(x86)=C:\Program Files (x86)
    ProgramW6432=C:\Program Files


    I really wouldn't suggest you try, on a 64-bit machine, to install 32-bit programs in C:\Program Files. Quite probably Microsoft chose to set up C:\Program Files (x86) for a reason?!
    BATcher

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  6. #5
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    The problem is with the batch files and such. The paths to the programs are hard-coded to a their XP-style path, C:\Program Files\..., so that the command line is built to execute the program with the file to open/run as an argument. The default installation on the new pc defaulted a lot of the programs I use to the 32-bit program files path, C:\Program Files (x86). This invalidates nearly every batch file, script, etc. I have set up; it's like my version of 'Y2K'. None of my automations will run on the new pc because of this path issue; once I re-write the programs to use the new (x86) path they won't work on my current pc; once I being the changeover everything has to be revised in one non-stop process. Or the programs can be re-installed to the path my automations expect.

    With my experience with prior versions Windows, changing the install path has nearly always been an option during installation, and Windows has been compliant with non-standard locations. This 32/64 dual-path setup is relatively new to me, and I do understand there was probably a good reason for this split.
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  7. #6
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    I recommend you do NOT install 32-bit programs in the 64-bit "program file" path. Many programs supply both 32-bit & 64-bit versions. Some have fodlers in the 64-bit path while the main program is still 32-bit.

    Yes, it will be time consuming and painful but you are much better off biting the bullet and modifying your batch runstreams to determine the OS and set a variable to the correct path.

    Joe

  8. #7
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    You could probably sort this out with a change to your current program invocation line, perhaps as follows:

    Assume that your program invocation line is

    Code:
    "C:\Program Files\somedir\someprog.exe" <some parameters>
    then change it to

    Code:
    if exist "C:\Program Files\somedir\someprog.exe" (
      "C:\Program Files\somedir\someprog.exe" <some parameters>
      ) else (
      "C:\Program Files (x86)\somedir\someprog.exe" <some parameters>
    )
    Of course you may want to make the test the other way round, and it assumes that the required file "someprog.exe" exists only in the 64-bit Program Files OR in the 32-bit Program Files.

    Since you seems to be very familiar with BATch files, then you may come up with a better mechanism!
    BATcher

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  9. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    When it all comes down to it, "C:\Program Files" is just a folder. You can install anything you want there. It won't break Windows, and it won't break whatever you're installing (if it will install in Windows 7 at all).
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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