General discussion

Will Windows 10 64-bit have a problem with 32-bit apps?

On my home-built desktop PC, I've been served well by Windows 7 32-bit but I want to upgrade to Win 10 64-bit. All my present applications are, of course, 32-bit, and prominent among them are Microsoft Office 2010 and Norton 360. My question is, generally speaking, will 32-bit applications run well on the 64-bit system? Will Windows 10 64-bit have a problem with 32-bit applications? Should I stay with a 32-bit system to avoid problems with my programs? The Bride and I prefer what is familiar so we would like to stay with Windows, but Linux Mint 64-bit (which runs great, by the way) is starting to look better and better for everyday use. Thank you for your help!

--Submitted by Don S. aka DSHornet

Post was last edited on November 14, 2019 3:20 PM PST

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I've seen Office 2010 run fine.

As to Norton just like almost all Antivirus you have to check with them. You can't use a near decade old version on W10.

As to general 32-bit apps the only issue I run into is when the app or game is so old that it uses something that went away such as LIM EMS (rare but once in a while you hear about it.)

If you install 32 bit Windows you will likely have more issues, not less.

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PS. There is no known upgrade path from 32 bit to 64 bit.

I missed that. You can upgrade W7 32 to W10 32 bit but apps may fail such as Norton. This is no surprise since an AV burrows deep into the OS and must be made for the target OS. I'd uninstall Norton, upgrade Windows 7 to 10 and see where you stand.

The only path from 32 to 64 bit no matter which Windows is a clean install.

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Clone to a SSD REregister windows

--The only path from 32 to 64 bit no matter which Windows is a clean install.--

There IS another way;

A Macrium clone, THEN register.

Of course, this assumes you have ANOTHER computer which is already 64bit to work with.
However, in many cases people will have a mix of 32/64 bit computers at home. Good chance that it will already have dropbox and network printer drivers, adobe, and other programs installed.

Oversimplified, but....
1) Make a Macrium backup of the 32bit Win7 computer.

2) Do the free update of the 32bit Win7 computer to 64bit Win10;

3) Change the Administrator account to a Windows account, register the 32bit computer as Win10.

4) Clone the 64-bit Win10 onto a new SSD drive (you could re-use the old 32bit Win10 hard drive, but with SSD prices, it's easier to just get a new drive). Make the new 64 bit SSD C-drive and the old 32bit drive D-drive
You should now be dual-booting 64bit and 32bit versions of Win10.

5) Purchase a Win10-64 bit upgrade code from MS.

6) Enter 64bit Win10 "plain-vanilla code" registration code to get the C-drive up and running. Then restart and set the Administrator account to a Windows account. Enter the 64 bit Win10 code and restart.

7) You should now have a valid dual-booting Win10 computer where you can switch between 32bit and 64bit operating systems.

I have ALSO found that this "clone-then-REregister" technique is MUCH easier than doing a from-scratch setup with a brand new base laptop: you keep the logins for Adobe, IMAP email, dropbox, Firefox, Chrome and all the OTHER registered programs.
Now, the OLD computer will be a bit schizophrenic at first, so you'll have to run Windows Update a few times to get all the correct drivers, then run C-Cleaner or other registry work to correct the registry, AND you'll have to delete the older incorrect devices- but it is STILL faster than re-loading all of the programs after a clean install.

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Will Windows 10 64-bit have a problem with 32-bit apps?

Thanks to Lee for posting my question.

To clarify: My computer has a half-terabyte drive with C/D/E partitions for Windows that are legacy from a long time ago to segregate functions for personal and job use. There is another bootable partition running Linux Mint 19.2 meant as a backup for checking email and web surfing in case Windows has a problem.

Don S.

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(NT) You're welcome, Don!
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Will have to reinstall all apps

I've done this a few times, upgrading from 32 bit to 64 bit. A 64 bit installation will wipe out everything before it installs. Uninstall Office 2010 and you shouldn't have a problem reinstalling it on 64 bit Windows, be absolutely sure you have the installation key. As the other poster mentioned, you should upgrade your antivirus and some will install a 64 bit version one you start the install. You can use any 32 bit program on 64 bit windows. You can't use 16-bit programs from the Windows 98 era. As far as running programs, you may see some speed, but additional memory will improve that. A 64 bit system should have at least 4 gb of memory, preferably 8 or more. See if your computer will accept extra memory.

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I never had that issue in the upgrade

I have had that happen when I did the restore to factory on 10 pro.
The problem with home version is you can only install apps from the windows store, so I could see this happening with the home version. I just don't ever use home. That was before I found I can do a clean install and activate with a win 7 COA.

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No problem.

You won't have any problems running Windows 10, 64 bit. Certainly Office will run just fine, and almost any other program from the past decade will have no problems. Norton, just download and install what it gives you, don't bother trying to "upgrade" your 32 bit Windows 7, please do a fresh install of Windows 10 and you will be very happy.

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Windows 10 64 bit

I'm somewhat bemused by posts claiming all manner of problems with Win10 !
I've had Win 10 64 bit since it was launched and have experienced few problems, with nothing I can recall as major with 32bit apps. If I have a complaint it's the length of time it now takes to install updates, I've known it take well over an hour on one occasion! The only 'preparation' I make is to ensure I've taken a backup, which I recommend you run regularly anyway. Restoring my Windows to an earlier backup has got me out of a hole on several occasions!

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32 bit applications should be fine…

I would certainly not go to 32 bit Windows 10 on a 64 bit capable machine, 32 bit systems are reaching end of life and although Windows 10 has a fully 32 bit compliant version, it is about the last operating system to do so. Most Linux distributions have announced end of support for 32 bit also, except for the LTS releases but the writing is on the wall. Mint 19.2, which you have, is one of the longer term support dates to 2023 but I believe that is based on Ubuntu 18.04.

You will have to do a clean install to go to 64 bit Windows 10, there is no in-place upgrade from 32 bit. You can still make that upgrade for free, check out Ed Bott’s blog for how. Do use the Microsoft Media Creation Tool to download the latest version of Windows 10 64 bit. I’d recommend you invest in a new HDD or SSD to do your clean install, which gives you several advantages – you keep your original HDD until you are completely happy with your new Windows 10, you get a shiny new disk, not one that might be getting a bit long in the tooth and you clear out all the Windows 7 crud that has accumulated over the years.

Do remember to make a note of all your serial numbers and product keys before you start, if you don’t have them, use Belarc Advisor (free for personal use) to extract them and print the report so you don’t lose them. Note that Belarc will only give you the last quintet of your Office key, so you may need to use one of the other similar programs to extract it if you don’t have the original distribution media.

You really do need 4 GB RAM for a 64 bit system but that is cheap enough these days and 8 GB is better. After that, unless you are a prolific multi-tasker, it’s diminishing returns.

Your security and anti-virus software may need to move up to 64 bit but most suppliers will allow that change for free on a licensed copy.

You have also remembered that Office 2010 runs out of support in early 2020, haven’t you? It probably isn’t as critical a target for the bad guys and it does work on Windows 10. Some of the software distributors did have a clearance sale on Office 2016, about the time 2019 was released but It think that’s over now – 2016 is a great version. If you do go with your 2010 (or for others, 2013), I’d recommend sticking with the 32 bit version, which was more mature back in the day.

You have LibreOffice on your Linux system, that’s free for Windows also and similar to but not identical to Microsoft Office. If you are a heavy user of Macros in MS Office, you are in for a world of hurt converting them to LibreOffice,

Last thought, if you still play Windows 7 games, every Windows 10 Feature Release will delete them (out of spite?!) but you can download a copy and re-install them (Google it).

Good luck!

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Most Work

I have one program which was made for Windows 95 which will not install on 64 bit windows 10 but runs under compatibility mode on windows 10 32 bit.

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Norton for Win 7

Norton for Windows seven will need to be uninstalled prior to upgrading to windows 10 even if that was a 32 bit version and the new version of Norton installed. I had to do this and was running a 64 bit version of windows 7 you should find details on the Norton web site.

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Here's my experance

Upgraded Win 7 Pro 32 bit to Win 10 32. All programs running fine on 7 worked just as fine in 10.
Upgraded to Win10 64 bit and reinstalled all programs. Office 2007 works perfect but that program was made for either. 2005 DVD Cloner works as a limited use. Cool Edit (made for Win 98 era) plays, edits and saves but will not record.
I solved all those problems by reinstalling and dual booting Win7 32 bit.
Yes I know MS will no longer do security updates for 7 but it is not intended to go online.

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In a word...


If you have never updated certain types of applications, like anti-virus apps, that are older than you should be using in any event, these might not work. But they aren't really working now if you've never updated them.

You may have to reinstall your applications from original distribution, but you'd have to do that anyway -- your only choice when going from 32-bit to 64-bit is a clean install.

I am still running EIGHT-bit applications from my old XT, like King's; Quest 1, on Win 10 64-bit.

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Generally - No problem with 32-bit, but problems with 16-bit

Windows 10 64-bit generally have no problems with 32-bit apps, especially with MS Office 2010, The main issue you can have is with older 16-bit applications which you may have and use, even not knowing they are 16-bit, because they go without any problems in 32-bit systems, but don’t work in 64-bit systems.

If you are familiar with partitions and multi boot, the best thing is to make a clean install of Win 10 64-bit on a new partition (or disk) and see what installs and runs correctly.

Another solution for older programs (especially 16-bit) is to install 32-bit system (Win 7 or even XP) on a virtual machine (e.g . free Oracle VM Virtual Box) installed on Windows 10 64-bit.

In any case be sure to make a backup image of your present Win 7 system partition to be able to come back to what you have now.

Post was last edited on November 12, 2019 5:58 AM PST

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Thanks for the advice - I have a plan now

Many thanks to all who have responded. It's a relief to know there will likely not be a problem running 32-bit programs on a 64-bit system.

I know the Win 10 64-bit will be a scratch install, which is good to clear out years of accumulated miscellaneous crud. Uninstalling programs is also in my plan. I'll continue using Office 2010 simply because I don't do much beyond simple Word and Excel work. As for Norton 360, I'll check Symantec to see what I'll have to do. If there is anything so old that it will choke on the 64-bit system, I can probably get along without it anyway.

I'm in the habit of running Clone Disk in Acronis True Image every week or two, so copying documents, pictures, music, and such from one drive to another will not be a problem. If anything catastrophic happens, I'll boot on the external drive and be up and running until I can troubleshoot a problem.

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Don, thanks for joining the discussion!

It's always great to see a member follow up on a discussion from the topic presented in the Community newsletter. I really appreciate it!

Glad your fellow members' recommendation and advice helped you and now you have a plan a place. Good luck to you with your transition to the newer OS.


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Regarding Norton

From a CNET response I wrote awhile back:

Is Windows Defender Good Enough?

I used to use Norton and we still have it at work, where most of the users are women in the 20-35 year old range with basic computer skills--they know how to use a browser, send email, do basic things with MS Word (e.g., they don't know that letterhead should not be a header ...)

At home, starting with Win 8.1 I have just used MS's built-in with no problems.

You need to understand MS's evolving view of its own anti-malware.

Any good anti-malware product has to hack deep into the operating system. Historically, anti-virus was a major source of revenue for companies like Norton and McAfee--back when they were basically the only major players in anti-virus.

Remember that Microsoft got sued by the Justice Department for basically putting Netscape out of business by making Internet Explorer a core part of Windows so it could not be removed. They also got hit by the European Union for bundling Windows Media Player, which hurt RealPlayer.

MS was known for "Embrace, Extend, Eliminate"--embrace someone else's new technology (Stacker with disk compression, Steve Gibson's defragger, Netscape's web browser ...). Extend Windows by adding the features most users of the new product actually use. Eliminate the company that came out with the new product by building the same idea into Windows--so people wouldn't buy that company's product. Make it harder to duplicate Windows functionality because now any potential competitor would have to include those features.

Back then, if MS had built in really effective anti-malware, they pretty much certainly would have been sued by the Justice Department, European Union, Symantec and McAfee for monopolistic, anti-competitive practices. (And, yes, I am an attorney.)

But with something like 10 (or more) major players nowadays, it would be hard for any companies to say "We got screwed because of what Microsoft did."

There's also another consideration. MS knows that most people obtain Windows by buying a new PC. Pretty much all new PC's include a bundled trial copy of Norton, McAfee, or some other major anti-virus. When the trial period runs out, most users don't buy a license. So when their PC does get infected ... who do they blame? %$#@ WINDOWS (&*^ ED UP!!!

So ... to protect its own reputation and to protect other users of its product who receive infected emails, etc., from the people who don't buy after the trial, MS started including really effective anti-malware, now that they don't have to worry about being sued for alleged anti-trust activities.

Another thing is that most people who get hit with malware don't report it to their anti-malware company. And now, the few who do are reporting to one out of something like 10 different companies. But all of those are running Windows. So if MS gets involved, the chances are much greater that the anti-malware company (MS) will actually get notice of new malware.

There are two scenarios where additional protection definitely should be used--"real dodos" who don't have a clue about computers, and folks who regularly visit sites "you know da*n well you really shouldn't be visiting!"

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Since Norton has become a "subscription-based" product, if you pay for a license for 5 or 10 devices, the only thing you will probably need to do is download and install. The licensing will come from their server and I'm running Norton 360 on Win 10 64-bit right now. That is, if you have a license for x devices on Norton 360, the version of the software (including cell phone versions) should not matter and I know 64-bit is working here.

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What you won't have a problem with ... and what you might ..

As far as I recall , there is no fee for upgrading "the bits." If you go from "home" to "pro" there is a fee, but from 32 bits to 64 bits in the same "class" there is not as far as I recall.

Installing 64 bits over 32 bits can't be done. You will install a fresh instance and then rebuild what you need. (A good bit of work and a problem if you don't have install files and license codes for everything that needs them - mark one for freeware!)

One great feature of 64 bit Windows - it supports all 32 bit Windows software. All? No, just like with Asterix, there is a smallish set of "stuff" that won't submit to the "Cesar, the Ruler From Rome." That includes all 16 bit software from the olden "Windows runs on top of DOS" days. All of my Quick Basic and Quick C programs don't work on anything newer than XP. The C programs I can migrate to Borland C++ fairly easily (a matter of minutes usually.) For my Basic programs I haven't found such a solution yet (Anyone have an idea how to write command line programs under Visual Basic without the visual overhead?) And when it comes to my old DOS based Assembler programs - there isn't even an environment for them to run in today's Windows, so I forget about it (I could run all kinds of virtual machines, I guess, but the need hasn't arisen yet ...

So, with the exception of such oldies you should be fine, but you will run a fresh installation.

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yes there is a "fee" if oem

oem is not the same as retail. full version or upgrade version of retail comes with both, retail oem comes with one or the other but not both.

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P.S. Staying with 32 bit Windows ...

... is not a good idea - I don't know what I did when I had less than 8 GB of memory - and 32 bit Windows only supports up to 3 GB (or just under 4 GB if you know how to tweak it and the hardware is set up accordingly.)

Bu there is nothing wrong with a 64 bit Mint (other than Linux - like Unix - not bringing you legacy support for 32 bit programs if memory serves me well.)

And for all standard use with browsers, office applications, email etc. the one is at least as good as the other. But I am afraid that I have so much Windows software that I will need going forward, and it won't all run well on WINE ... I will be running at least a bit of Windows 10 and probably the odd virtual Windows 7 and XP here and there.

But what I like best is my "throwaway" Puppy Linux, which lets me browse and do email, open attachments and inspect them and if there is anything suspicious going on the USB stick gets wiped and refreshed from the original ISO image. Naturally, there is nothing to spy out on that stick and if a virus manages to install itself on it it won't last long ...

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32bit vs 64bit Office on 64bit Windows 10
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Wow is it possible

I have been searching for the reason why I keep getting blue screen with win 10 64bit. on my machine that originally was installed with win 7 32 bit. Is it possible this is the reason for blue screen? My machine reboots after sending data every time blue screen happens. I have done a clean install to no avail. still blue screen.
Any comments?

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Re: 64 bit

Did you install all the right drivers for Windows 10 64 bit from the makers site?

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Windows 10 has problems with nearly everything

Windows 10 won't run a lot of good games, from Civilization II to Wolfenstein and Raptor. It won't run AsEasyAs or a lot of good apps either, and it doesn't save settings for Firefox or WinAmp. It's a royal pain. I wish I hadn't given away my retail copy of Windows XP Pro SP3. I'd go back to it in a minute. It was far more secure the way I had it set up, and could handle my USB hard drives without giving false error messages every time I connected them.

Linux is not a consideration for me or for my computer tech friend, who used it in his courses. It's far too buggy.

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Here, on my home PC with Windows 10, Firefox settings are saved and there are no error messages if I connect an external hard disk via USB. Something must be wrong with your PC.

I can't comment on the other issues you mention, since I don't have those programs.

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Win 10 64 Bit Vs 32 Bit Programs

I'm running Win 10 64 bit. I have the exact two programs you questioned (Office 2010 and Norton 360) running on my system without any problems. I also have other 32 bit programs and haven't experienced any issues.

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It depends on what you mean by a problem

I'm not dumd and I'm not all that smart. But for those folks who know what I mean, here's the thing. Did anyone have a problem upgrading or changing windows after XP, etc.? I volunteer that I did, and have ever since. But listen to who you want to listen to and you'll get an answer. Right or wrong, up or down, and most important expensive or "a bargain for what you get". But don't worry, it will be easy for Microsoft and they'll make a couple of bucks in the process. In my situation, I didn't need or want anything different than what I had. No offense intended.

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