How To: Install and Run 32-Bit Software on 64-bit Windows

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If you have a 64-bit operating system on your computer, this does not mean that you can only use 64-bit software. Your operating system still has the ability to run 32-bit programs by “emulation” – basically, your computer will make the program think it is running a 32-bit operating system. That’s why installing a 32-bit program on a 64-bit operating system is as simple as installing a normal computer program.

Under Windows 64-bit, 32-bit applications run on an emulation of a 32-bit operating system called Windows 32-bit under Windows 64-bit, or WOW64 for short. WOW64 intercepts all operating system calls made by a 32-bit application.

For each operating system call, WOW64 generates native 64-bit system calls and converts 32-bit data structures into 64-bit oriented structures. The corresponding native 64-bit system call is transmitted to the operating system core and all output data from the 64-bit system call is converted to a format suitable for the calling application before being returned.

Like 32-bit applications, WOW64 operates in user mode, so that errors that occur when translating an operating system call only occur at this level. The 64-bit kernel cannot be assigned.

Since WOW64 operates in user mode, all 32-bit application codes must also operate in user mode. This explains why 32-bit kernel-mode device drivers and applications based on them do not work on 64-bit Windows.

Activating 32-bit installations on 64-bit Windows computers

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Using the CommCell console (remote installation)

During a remote installation, on the Enter additional installation options page of the installation wizard, select the Install 32-bit instead of standard 64-bit packets (Windows X64 only) during a remote installation check box – this only protects 32-bit applications.

Alternative method: Using the installation package (local installation)

Before running the installation package, you must configure a registry key on the 64-bit computer:

Open the Windows registry editor, then move to the next directory:

  2. Right-click on SOFTWARE, click New > Key, then name the new GalaxyInstallerFlags key.
  3. Right-click on GalaxyInstallerFlags, then click New > DWORD (32-bit) value.
  4. Right-click on the new value, click Rename, then enter the following new value: bAllow32BitInstallOn64Bit.
  5. Double-click the DWORD button, set the value data to 1, and click OK.
  6. Close the registry editor.


It is becoming increasingly difficult for users to choose between the 32-bit and 64-bit architectures supported by Windows. The system isolates 32-bit applications from 64-bit applications, including preventing collisions between files and the registry. The console, GUI and service applications are supported. The system ensures interoperability beyond the 32/64 limit for scenarios such as copy and paste and COM. However, 32-bit processes cannot load 64-bit DLLs for execution and 64-bit processes cannot load 32-bit DLLs for execution. This restriction does not apply to DLLs loaded as data files or image resource files.

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