32-bit and 64-bit Windows

May 29, 2010 by Ramesh

I have people frequenting to me with at least one question after buying a 64 bit computer (mostly inadvertently). “Hey .. i see two program files folder on my PC .... can i delete one of those? (mostly Program Files (x86)) as it is something new on my box”. This is when it occurred to me that both are radically different and the difference had to be educated to the users.

On a 64bit PC, We find two folder namely “Program Files” and “Program Files (x86)”. There is an astute difference between the two folders which is definitely worth discriminating. Simply put, “Program Files” folder is designed for 64 bit applications and “Program Files (x86)” for well known and more prevalently in use 32 bit applications. This precisely is what defines the installation directory for an application.

Windows 7 is designed to detect the architecture of an application which helps it decide the installation location. Needless to say that, the application should be 64 bit designed to be installed to “Program Files” folder.

These two types of application might leave us with a question like would a 64 bit application work on a 32 bit processor and 32 bit application on 64 bit processor? Well ... the answer is.... If an application is specifically designed for a 64bit processor, they wouldn’t run on a 32 bit processor. Whereas most of the 32 bit applications will work on 64 bit OS.

I believe, The above differentiation provides a holistic view on the two types of windows and I found the below link to be very useful


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