32 vs 64 bit programs on secondary drives or partitions?

Discussion in 'Windows 8 Software' started by randycolby, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. randycolby

    randycolby New Member

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    32 vs 64 bit programs on secondary drives or partitions?

    I recently built a new PC and made a major jump from WinXP to Windows 8. I have been so used to organizing things my own way on my system by partitioning two different hard drives, with each partition used for different types of programs (C was always for OS and nothing more, G drive for Games, P drive for pagefile, S drive for Music Software, etc). I have set up my new system in this same way but have since learned about the whole Program files vs Program Files (x86) sorting. Most of my programs are running just fine where I put them anyway, but I am having a couple of my most used programs crash a lot. I am not sure whether it's because they were not designed for Windows 8 usage, or if it's because I didn't put them in C:\Program Files (x86). I am now attempting to slowly reconfigure my system and just accept that I cannot organize things the way I'd like.

    My question before I go any further is this...
    Will Windows 8 read my programs files the same way if I still use a secondary drive or partition?
    Can I put my games into G:\Program Files (x86)\ or even G:\Games\Program Files (x86) instead of C:\Program Files (x86)\ ?

    I don't need anyone to tell me that there is no need for me to use partitions or multiple drives. I understand that. It's just how I am used to keep things organized and easy to find. I just want to understand the protocol so I can properly reconfigure my system. If I have to put all my programs on C for Windows 8 to be able to properly call up system files without getting confused between 32 bit and 64 bit dll's, then I will do that, and then just use my second hard drive for files and backup data. If Windows can properly sort 32 and 64 bit programs on various drive letters if I just sort them into Program Files and Program Files (x86) per each drive letter, I would prefer to do it that way.
     
  2. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    First of all I wouldn't dream of telling you not to use separate drives/partitions for different purposes. I don't actually us different partitions for different file type but I have always reserved drive C for software and one or more other drives for data. It is good practice for all sorts of reasons and I commend it.

    It is useful to have 32 bit and 64 bit programs in their own folders just for organisational purposes but I am not aware of any good reason why they need to be in those specific folders. You may install software to whatever drives or folders you wish to.
     
  3. randycolby

    randycolby New Member

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    Thanks for your reply, Pat. From what I could gather on the interwebs, the programs are separated by 32 bit and 64 bit so Windows will not accidentally call up a 32 bit .dll for a 64 bit program or vice versa. It is not just for personal organization. Does anyone else have any insight on this?
     
  4. AceInfinity

    AceInfinity Senior Member
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    Only on the Windows partition itself is it effective I believe, as that's the only specified or designated Environment locations for the way Windows searches the filesystem anyways. System32 and the Windows folder most commonly, but sub directories as well of each of these 2 locations for instance. (System32 is probably the most significant Environment location though.) "G:\Games\Program Files (x86)" wouldn't do anything and would be pretty useless and redundant...

    The folder name "Program Files" or "Program Files (x86)" are not special by themselves, by location, they would be, along with their relative names on the Windows partition.
     
    #4 AceInfinity, Jan 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2013
  5. randycolby

    randycolby New Member

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    Thanks AceInfinity. That's kind of what I was thinking. Unfortunate that everything has to be split up in such a way.
     
  6. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    I have 2 1TB hard drives split into 4, 500 gigabyte drives.

    I have a drive for games, one for data storage, one for graphics and video and one for Windows and related software, i.e. things like Word, my Adobe software and things that I install in the default locations.

    All my games and anything related to them are on the games drive.
    I don't install anything in Program files folders on these other drives.

    Except of my major Adobe software Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator, all my other graphics software and video editing programs are are installed on my Graphics and Video drive. This includes things like Adobe Premiere, Poser, Mimic, Blacksmith 3D, file converters, sound and video files etc.

    If I install The Secret World I just install it to D:\The Secret World, same for all the other games, I have 11 installed right now.

    As far as I know the Program Files and Program Files x86 folders are just names, Windows 8 really doesn't care where you install anything, some software doesn't give you an option and will only install in the default location.

    But I'm always amazed that updates and things like, that always find the install location with no input by me.

    I assume, since I haven't actually done this that you could install a 32 bit program in the Program Files folder or the other way around a 64 bit Program in the Program Files x86 folder and Widows wouldn't know the difference.

    The folder names are just how Windows organizes the software by default to make then easier to find.

    My data drive is for all my photos, music files software installers that I've downloaded and anything else that isn't actively software related, all these files are backed up to multiple external hard drives. This drive also contains my swap file, and a backup of my C:\ drive, that I can use for recovery.

    Note that this drive never gets defragmented because it could damage the backup image file.

    The others get defragmented at least once a week.

    Mike
     
    #6 MikeHawthorne, Jan 27, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2013
  7. randycolby

    randycolby New Member

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    Mike, thanks so much for such a well thought out response. Would you mind my asking why you do not put things like Photoshop and Illustrator on your alternate drive?

    So is all of this talk about needing 32 bit applications to not be able to see 64 bit dll's because they don't know they exist in 64 bits a bunch of hogwash? I'm referencing things I've read such as this:

    "The main reason is to make 32-bit applications that don’t even know 64-bit systems exist “just work”, even if 64-bit DLLs are installed in places the applications might look. A 32-bit application won’t be able to load a 64-bit DLL, so a method was needed to ensure that a 32-bit application (that might pre-date 64-bit systems and thus have no idea 64-bit files even exist) wouldn’t find a 64-bit DLL, try to load it, fail, and then generate an error message.

    The simplest solution to this is consistently separate directories. Really the only alternative is to require every 64-bit application to “hide” its executable files somewhere a 32-bit application wouldn’t look, such as a bin64 directory inside that application. But that would impose permanent ugliness on 64-bit systems just to support legacy applications."

    Why Does 64-Bit Windows Need a Separate ?Program Files (x86)? Folder? - How-To Geek
     
  8. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    I've been running Windows 8 64 bit for over a year, first on my old computer that was also running Windows 7 32 bit.

    I found that many of my programs that were installed in 32 bit Windows 7 would run in Windows 8 just by creating a shortcut to them.

    The reason that I don't install the Adobe software in other directories is because if I have to reinstall Windows I always have to reinstall then anyway.

    Adobe's security is so tight it wouldn't even let my install Photoshop, CS 3 or Indesign CS 4 in Windows 8 on my old computer that it was already installed on, in Windows 7.

    An exception is Adobe Premiere Elements.

    When I first installed Windows 8 on my old computer it ran from my Widows 7 installation with no issues.

    Most of the other software that I have will run fine even after a Windows reinstall, so I put them on a different drive, so I don't have to reinstall them.

    If you're a gamer you know what it's like to have to install a program that uses 27 Gigabytes of disk space like Age of Conan or The Secret World and the wait for it to update.

    And of course the reason that I don't put any of my data on the same hard drive as Windows is that I don't want to take a chance on losing it if Windows totally crashes.

    I do have everything in my computer backed up to external hard drives.

    That could have been handy a few months ago when I got hit by lightning.

    Hence the new computer!!!

    I didn't lose a thing, I was actually able to take out my hard drives and get all the data off them and into my new computer using a USB converter, even though the mother board, video card and ram was fried the hard drives were OK.

    So I didn't have to reinstall all my games.
    Just copy them to my new computer.

    I think that the only one that didn't work was Lord of the Rings Online.

    Anyway I haven't encountered any problems with installing the software any place I wanted running Windows 8.

    I haven't tried it but I'm pretty sure that if you installed a 32 bit program in the Program files folder instead to the Program Files x86 folder it would work.

    When I first installed Windows 8 on my old computer I didn't even put the program files or Program files x86 folders on the same hard drive partition that I had Windows 8 on.

    I had made the partition too small so I put the Program folders on another drive and installed all the software there, and it worked fine.

    So while I assume there would be problems running a 64 bit application on a 32 bit computer I don't think that you will find may the other way around.

    I still only have a few actual 64 bit programs designed to run on a 64 bit computer, one is Adobe Indesign CS4.
    CS 3 really could not be made to run on a 64 bit computer.

    Mike
     
    #8 MikeHawthorne, Jan 27, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2013
  9. Mahlon

    Mahlon New Member

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    This is a bit late to the party, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents regarding what I've read and experienced in this regard.

    1) You most certainly can install install a 32 bit app in the 64bit directory (program files vs program files (x86) ), though it is not a great idea to make a practice of. See later points.
    2) The purpose of Program Files directories are for security reasons, they are treated differently than your standard directory from a system permissions perspective. You will notice this if you try and change the contents of things within these directories while in use, and also just in general, you will see a lot more UAC prompts when dealing with program files directories.
    3) From experience and what I have read, the reason for the "Program Files (x86)" directory, is that programs installed there, will be treated... more along the lines of automatic compatibility mode. This is more along the lines of keeping the average joe from having to go in and troubleshoot as often. This is not anything heavy compatibility fix wise, but it does work to some extent.

    I work in IT and spend a lot of time installing and configuring OS & Software, and have seen the benefits of using the existing structures, but at the same time anyone with a decent amount of skill, or aptitude for googling to find out what they want can overcome these issues themselves. There is no reason to use them exclusively, the benefits are very small, and if for you it works better running them from another location and it works, then go for it. :)

    -Dan
     

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