Program Files or Program Files (x86)?

Hi Friends,

I'm trying to figure out whether to install programs in Program Files or Program Files (x86).  I do understand (hopefully correctly) that PF(x86) is meant for programs which will not run either on Windows7 or on 64 bit; that PF(x86) was set up to allow those programs to run on this machine.  Ok.  I have seen programs where there are 32 bit and 64 bit versions.  But by far most of the programs I intend to download don't offer different versions.  Most of them do say whether they will run on Windows 7, but not 32 vs 64 bit.

I was thinking that unless the download website said otherwise, most programs should be installed in Program Files.  However, the 1st few I set out to install, in the installation wizard, when I came to the page where you type or browse to the place where you want to install it, already it shows the file that it suggests or assumes that I should install to.  And contrary to my expectations, most of them "suggest" installing in PF(x86).

So is it a correct assumption that when the wizard "suggests" installing in PF(x86), that it in fact can't run on either Windows 7 or 64 bit?  If so, then that's my answer, just follow that "suggestion" or "prompt".  But sometimes the obvious thing isn't the right thing to do, so I wanted to consult tech support.....somewhere (Dell is apparently tired of all my questions).

So for clarity, my question:  1 - Does the fact the install wizard prompts installation in PF(x86) mean in fact that the program doesn't run on Windows 7 or 64-bit and should properly be installed in PF(x86)?

Thank you very much for your patience and attention to my problem here.  I really appreciate it :-D

 

Question Info


Last updated December 4, 2018 Views 67,279 Applies to:
Answer
On Mon, 3 May 2010 23:32:02 +0000, BbrynnN wrote:
 
> So the other reason I've come to this forum, is to
learn how to decide whether I should install in PF or PF(x86). Can
you tell me how I should determine where to install them?
 
 
Two points:
 
1. You are running 64-bit Windows,and that's why you have the two
folders. Program Files is for 64-bit programs and Program Files (x86)
is for 32-bit programs.
 
2. But you don't have to decide. When you install a program, the
installation decides for you. Let it do what it wants.
 
 
> I was thinking that unless the download website said
otherwise, most programs should be installed in Program Files.
 
 
No, Since most programs (by far) are 32-bit, they should be installed
in Program Files (x86).
 
 
 
 
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Ken Blake
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Ken Blake

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Answer

One of the better uses for having two seperate folders is that you can have both 32 and 64 bit versions of the same application installed at the same time.

Personally I don't know of any other really good answer as to "why" there is a 32 bit and 64 bit program files folder but that's the way it is, and I would highly recommend leaving it that way as there are likely other "hidden" reasons why it is the way it is.

I would also suggest taking more advantage of the Start / Search functionality instead of micromanaging the system folders like Program Files.


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