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Author Topic: Program Files or Program Files (x86)?  (Read 2650 times)
Curt
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« on: March 08, 2012, 10:16:40 AM »

Intro:
I am new to 64-bit Windows 7. I am also new to Waterfox, which is a 64-bit-only version of Firefox. I don't have Firefox installed. One of my favourite programs is Bulk Image Downloader [BID] which usually integrates with Firefox. But trying to make it work with Waterfox has made me realize some problems:

Problem:
Some of my program have installed into C:/Program Files/, while others have installed into C:/Program Files (x86)/ - and they cannot figure out how to work together!

Question:
Should they all install into "...(x86)", or is it normal that they install into two different directories?  tellme

When I first noticed the two installation places, I thought it was something like "oh, 32-bit programs goes into "Program Folders", and 64-bit programs will go into "Program Folders (x86)", but now I am in doubt, because they don't work as they should. As an example, the named "BID" has an extension for Firefox, but the extension cannot find the mother-program, probably because they are localized in two different directories.

Is it normal with this kind of problems on 64-bit?  undecided
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 10:28:19 AM by Curt » Logged
Ath
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 10:32:22 AM »

Quite simple:

64 bit software should go into the "Program Files" folder.
32 bit software should go into the "Program Files (x86)" folder.

This is specified by Microsoft, as enlightened in this MS community thread (and there are more, if you need them Wink)
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vlastimil
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2012, 11:26:23 AM »

... - and they cannot figure out how to work together!

Cooperation between 32-bit and 64-bit code is very tricky. It is not just about different folders, a 32-bit dll cannot be loaded and used by a 64-bit process (and a 64-bit dll cannot be used by a 32-bit process). If BID is integrated into Waterfox via a plug-in dll, you would need to get a 64-bit version of BID.

BTW why use a 64-bit version of FF? Do you expect FF would need more than 2GB of memory? If not, I would stick with standard FF and save myself these problems.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 11:41:29 AM »

I have been using a new 'puter running Windows 7 64-bit since January and I notice that the majority of the programs I have installed are in the (86) folder. Doesn’t much matter to me as long as they all work fine.

Jim
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Innuendo
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 09:17:52 AM »

Curt, Program Files is where 64-bit programs are installed by default. Program Files (x86) are where 32-bit programs are installed by default. This is just cosmetic for organizational purposes (Windows x64 likes to separate the 32-bit 'stuff' from the 64-bit 'stuff'), but vlastimil has your answer.

64-bit programs cannot use 32-bit plugins. This is one of the main reasons Microsoft recommends people install the 32-bit version of Office rather than the 64-bit one else people wouldn't be able to use the wealth of Office plugins that are available. This is also a reason why the 64-bit version of Total Commander is having a hard time gaining traction. People would have to leave the bajillion useful 32-bit plugins behind.

I don't think there's any real reason yet to use a 64-bit browser...and this is coming from someone who routinely has 100+ tabs open every day. smiley
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mwb1100
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 09:59:36 AM »

they cannot figure out how to work together!

What exactly do you mean by this?  If you give more details someone may be able to help.

The only problems I notice between 32-bit and 64-bit programs is that shell extensions often don't work if your file manager and the program providing the shell extension don't have the same 'bitness'.  To resolve this problem, more and more programs that have shell extensions register both 32-bit and 64-bit versions when installing on a 64-bit OS (as they should).
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db90h
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 05:33:44 PM »

I don't think there's any real reason yet to use a 64-bit browser...and this is coming from someone who routinely has 100+ tabs open every day. smiley

Agreed. It is funny, but years ago I thought x32 would be dead in no time. Here we are, years later, with it still being the defacto standard in most cases because CPU utilization is not usually the bottleneck, and x32 code is nearly as fast as x64 code since x64 code comes with extra memory overhead.
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40hz
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 06:55:38 PM »

Agreed. It is funny, but years ago I thought x32 would be dead in no time. Here we are, years later, with it still being the defacto standard in most cases

Ithink you'll see 32-bit software being deployed and running on 64-bit systems as long as it is possible to continue to do so. Heavily debugged, field tested, and working software is not going to be consigned to the dustbin just because questionable gains might be achieved by going over to "64-bithood."

As long as there's still 32-bit compatibility, there will be 32-bit programs.

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vlastimil
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2012, 02:33:15 AM »

I, for example, have decided not to publish 64-bit editions of some of my applications because it would be unreasonably difficult to maintain the compatibility with 32-bit Photoshop plug-ins (I would have to start a separate 32-bit process and load the 32-bit plug-ins there and then communicate between the main 64-bit process and the child 32-bit process - this would slow things down due to extra data transfers). Also, I use a tiny piece of generated code to speed up image bit-depth conversion that only works for 32-bit environment and the 64-bit edition uses the default slower path.

So, sometimes, the 64-bit editions are almost as good and almost as fast as 32-bit editions... I would stick with 32-bit editions unless the author of the software recommends you to use 64-bit editions or you are running into virtual memory problems.
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Innuendo
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2012, 12:35:06 PM »

Agreed. It is funny, but years ago I thought x32 would be dead in no time. Here we are, years later, with it still being the defacto standard in most cases because CPU utilization is not usually the bottleneck, and x32 code is nearly as fast as x64 code since x64 code comes with extra memory overhead.

I think at one point we all thought x86 was going to be dead in no time. 16-bit died because there was huge benefit in moving to a 32-bit architecture. There's just not that much of an advantage to moving exclusively to 64-bit. It does have its advantages, however, so it should be used wherever practical.

I just usually recommend people be very careful when it comes to programs that rely heavily on plugins or you run into the problem Curt did.
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Curt
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2012, 06:51:30 PM »

(..) One of my favourite programs is Bulk Image Downloader [BID] which usually integrates with Firefox. But trying to make it work with Waterfox has made me realize some problems: (...) As an example, the named "BID" has an extension for Firefox, but the extension cannot find the mother-program, probably because they are localized in two different directories. (...)

BID FireFox Extension has been updated and now supports both 32 and 64 bit versions of FireFox. Antibody is a great little company; he was apparently too busy to answer my mail, but my request was fulfilled within a week!

I have no more problems regarding 32 versus 64 bit,  thumbs up that I know of
...except that I had to give up the free version of Revo Uninstaller, because it will only list the 32-bit programs. So Revo Pro was released from prison, and installed.
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