So I double the bits and get the bite
August 17, 2009 1:12 PM   Subscribe

How can I run my 32 bit software on my 64 bit Vista machine?

HP Pavillion laptop loaded with 64 bit Vista Pro. This is the machine I can take to and from the office and do my work at home. It was working great until our new office management software was upgraded, and the graphics intense module won't load. Now, new computers are in the cards, this new software was loaded to allow us to practice on the new version before we are forced to use it daily.

How can I practice with the new software? Is there a 32 bit emulator I can load? Any kind of temporary work around?

Thanks for your help.
posted by Northwest to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
 
In general 32-bit software works fine (and without any tweaks) under Vista 64-bit. Thus in your case the problem seems to be more specific and I would check the interwebs or the manufacturor of the software.
posted by oxit at 1:40 PM on August 17, 2009


I'm not at my Vista machine right now, so I can't confirm exact steps, but try this:

1. Locate the actual exectuable being run. Right-click, Properties, then there should be a Compatibility tab.
2. Select Windows XP or other operating system it had run on before.

Is it possible the issue is with running it in Vista rather than generally in 32-bit mode? As oxit says, 32-bit software should run just fine on a 64-bit operating system.
posted by jgunsch at 1:52 PM on August 17, 2009


I have a 64-bit Vista machine, and I run plenty of 32-bit programs just fine.
posted by katillathehun at 2:06 PM on August 17, 2009


I called the manufacturer and they said it does not work as 64 bit. I'm looking for a work around.

The compatibility tab and running under XP did not help.
posted by Northwest at 2:35 PM on August 17, 2009


If you have your windowsXP disc, you could install VirtualPC from Microsoft, and create a virtual copy of WindowsXP, then install the program in there.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:44 PM on August 17, 2009


C:\WINDOWS\SysWOW64 has utilities to use instead of the standard 64 bit ones.
For example, if there is 32 bit odbc to set up you need to use C:\WINDOWS\SysWOW64\odbcad32.exe.
If you have dll's or activex to register you need to use syswow64\regsvr32 NOT system32\regsvr32.
Sorry this was a while ago & I no longer have access to a 64 bit machine.
posted by canoehead at 2:45 PM on August 17, 2009


I called the manufacturer and they said it does not work as 64 bit. I'm looking for a work around.

The compatibility tab and running under XP did not help.


There's not really an elegant workaround. Something in the software itself is making implicit assumptions about the architecture. My guess is, if it's really graphics intensive, that they're using 3D graphics extensions (even if just for compositing) and that their library isn't linking correctly against the rest of the world.

You could try a couple of things:

1) vmWare with a 32-bit XP image on it. It'll emulate a 32-bit OS and CPU completely.

2) Tear out the 64-bit Vista, and reinstall a 32-bit version. Unless you have more than 4GB of RAM on that machine, this won't really make any difference in performance.

3) Track down all of the .dlls it's linked against. Find any that don't have a 32-bit version on your machine. Replace them with 32-bit versions. [This is the least likely to work, btw. But will have the best results if it does.]
posted by Netzapper at 3:08 PM on August 17, 2009


If you're going to go the virtual PC route, give Windows 2000 a try as the guest OS. It's less resource-hungry than XP (it will run very nicely even if you only allocate 128MB RAM to your virtual machine) and because it, like XP, is based on NT rather than DOS, most modern software will still run fine on it.
posted by flabdablet at 5:33 PM on August 17, 2009


3) Track down all of the .dlls it's linked against. Find any that don't have a 32-bit version on your machine. Replace them with 32-bit versions. [This is the least likely to work, btw. But will have the best results if it does.]

Instead, I would track down all the DLL's it uses, obtain 32 bit versions of them, copy them to the same directory as the main executable and create a program.exe.local file (replace program with the name of the exe, for example notepad.exe.local).

The .local file forces the exe to look in its own directory for all files first.

However this won't help you if its addressing memory incorrectly or some other funky operation like that.

However... from here I saw this:

OpenGL
The x64-based versions of Windows Server 2003 and of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition do not include an OpenGL graphics driver. Contact the manufacturer of the device for a driver that is compatible with the x64-based versions of Windows Server 2003 and of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.


Hope that helps.
posted by Admira at 8:46 PM on August 17, 2009


Thanks, all of you. Some of this advice is over my head but I'll show it to a tech guy I know. If it works I'll post it. Thanks again.
posted by Northwest at 7:56 AM on August 19, 2009


Give me a shout via MeMail if your tech guy can't figure it out - I will do an internal search and see if we know of any workarounds for your specific software.

(I have plenty of experience getting weird things working under Vista/Windows 64-bit - it's part 'o the job...)
posted by jkaczor at 10:12 PM on August 19, 2009


Jkaczor, I appreciate the offer. We finally decided to do a new install with 32 bit vista and trash the 64 bit version.

It sounds like the 64 bit is just a little too new for someone of my experience. Now we can look forward to the new version of windows in just a few months, and another transition.

Thanks again.
posted by Northwest at 9:48 AM on August 25, 2009


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