64-bit processors can usually run 32-bit software without issues.
64-bit processors offer vast improvements in speed and memory bandwidth over their 32-bit predecessors, which lead to greatly increased performance for memory-heavy tasks like gaming, video editing and computer-generated imagery. Unfortunately, there are potential compatibility problems when using 32-bit applications on 64-bit operating systems. In certain cases, like device drivers and some anti-virus programs, a 64-bit operating system requires 64-bit software. Most of the time, however, 64-bit operating systems are fully capable of running 32-bit software, and Windows 7 includes special compatibility tools to make sure most will run.
1. Right-click on the program you want to run and select “Properties” from the drop-down menu. Note that you should always try simply running the program first, as most 32-bit programs will run correctly on their own.
2. Click on the “Compatibility” tab. This will take you to a menu with many options for compatibility, both between 32-bit and 64-bit and between Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows.
3. Check the “Run this program as administrator” checkbox at the bottom of the menu, then click “Apply.” Don’t close the program’s “Properties” window or leave the “Compatibility” tab.
4. Run the program. If it doesn’t work, continue to the next step.
5. Check the “Run this program in compatibility mode” checkbox, then from the drop-down menu select a version of Windows that you know is capable of running the program. Click “Apply” once you’ve found it.
6. Run the program again. If it still doesn’t work, Windows 7 isn’t capable of running it. If it works partially, try refining your selection from the “Run this program in compatibility mode” drop-down menu to see if it makes the program more stable.