How to Run a 32 Bit Program in 64

By Stephen Lilley

All 64-bit operating systems come with a "compatibility" mode used for running older 32-bit software. This allows these 32-bit programs to operate successfully on your advanced operating system and computer processor. The process of running one of these 32-bit programs on a 64-bit machine isn't all that different from running them on a 32-bit machine. There are a few stipulations, however, concerning which programs will work and which won't.

Step 1

Install your 32-bit program on your 64-bit computer (if you haven't already). Put the program's installation CD or DVD in your computer's disc drive. When the installer program automatically pops up on your monitor, click "Install." This will successfully install the program.

Step 2

Locate the shortcut icon that loads your 32-bit program. Typically, an icon will be put on your desktop during the initial installation process of the program. If no such icon exists, however, you'll be able to find one by clicking on "Start" and then "All Programs."

Step 3

Click on the icon to open the program. The 32-bit program will launch in "compatibility mode," allowing it to work on your 64-bit operating system and computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • While the vast majority of 32-bit programs will work fine on a 64-bit computer, there are some that will not under any circumstances. Typically, 32-bit versions of popular antivirus programs like Norton Antivirus or McAfee Antivirus will not work on 64-bit machines. In this case, there is no alternative--you will have to purchase the 64-bit version of these programs.
  • 32-bit device drivers are the only programs that will not work under any circumstances on a 64-bit computer. These drivers are the small programs that let your computer recognize hardware. Luckily, device drivers are provided for free by the hardware manufacturer. Simply go to the website of your hardware component and download the latest version of the 64-bit device driver for that piece of equipment.