What is this program files x86 stuff anyway?


D

Dale

I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.

Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.

Can someone explain the rationale to me?

Thanks!
 
Ad

Advertisements

J

Jason

I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.

Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.

Can someone explain the rationale to me?

Thanks!
Program Files (X86) is for 32-bit apps. Program Files (no X86) is for 64-
bit apps.
 
F

FromTheRafters

I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.

Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.

Can someone explain the rationale to me?

Thanks!
At a guess, you are running Win 7 64 bit OS. If so, you may also have
some things that say "WOW" or is it "WoW" which means "Windows on
Windows" and it is there to support the antique 32 bit programs that run
on x86 hardware. I'm just guessing here, and don't usually post to the
group you have set as followup, but I added the hints in the subject
line to the other hints in the body of your post and came up with a
wild assed guess.
 
R

R. C. White

Hi, Dale.

How old is an "old man"? I'm 78. Am I old?

For the past several generations of Windows, Microsoft has been trying to
get developers to strictly separate program code from the data used by the
programs. They want you to put Word.exe, for example, into the Windows
directory...oops! "folder"...and put your letters into Documents. Starting
about WinXP, they started trying to enforce these rules by making Windows a
"protected folder" and insisting that we store our data files elsewhere.

And then, 64-bit Windows XP came along. WinXP X64 could run 32-bit programs
just fine, but they needed the 32-bit versions of DLLs and other support
files. To keep those 32-bit programs out of Win X64's Program Files folder,
they created a new Program Files folder just for 32-bit apps. Then
(stupidly, in my opinion) they named it Program Files (x86), supposed to
remind us that these programs were for the 32-bit Intel CPUs: 8086, 80186,
80286...etc.

No, I can't really explain all of it, but that was Microsoft's rationale as
I almost understand it.

RC
--
R. C. White, CPA
San Marcos, TX
(e-mail address removed)
Microsoft Windows MVP (2002-2010)
Windows Live Mail 2012 (Build 16.4.3508.0205) in Win8 Pro


"Dale" wrote in message
I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.

Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.

Can someone explain the rationale to me?

Thanks!
 
J

Juan Wei

R. C. White has written on 9/2/2013 9:02 PM:
Hi, Dale.

How old is an "old man"? I'm 78. Am I old?
Since you're as old as I am, then, yes, you're an old man! ;-)
 
K

Ken1943

I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.

Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.

Can someone explain the rationale to me?

Thanks!
I think MS wanted to "protect" programs and their data, probably for
security reasons, malware comes to mind. The same way they created
Limited User where nothing can be installed.
I install certain programs in directories under C:\ so Windows 7 can't
protect them. C:\radio where I keep certain Ham Radio programs.

I also change Environmental Variables so all Temp/Tmp files go to
C:\Temp
so it's easier to find junk installation files. Doing that since XP.


KenW
 
Ad

Advertisements

R

richard

I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.

Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.

Can someone explain the rationale to me?

Thanks!
you've been around since before DOS and can't figure out that x86
references things like the 0ld 4086 processor?
do you know what a 300 baud phone modem looked like?
no young ones, there was nl kbps modems in those days.
downloading a 10kb file took several hours if you got lucky.
 
K

Ken1943

you've been around since before DOS and can't figure out that x86
references things like the 0ld 4086 processor?
do you know what a 300 baud phone modem looked like?
no young ones, there was nl kbps modems in those days.
downloading a 10kb file took several hours if you got lucky.
You mean the old acoustic modems ? where you had to put the handset in a
cradle ?

If it could be called a modem !!!

I used a printer that used thermal paper with that kind of modem for
programming telephone systems.


KenW
 
P

pyotr filipivich

Dale said:
I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.

Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.

Can someone explain the rationale to me?
I doubt anyone could, even if they worked for Microsoft. B-)

Although, I'm sure it makes sense, to someone, somewhere. At the
time, I'm sure there was a reasonable enough rationalization as to
justify the policy.
 
P

Paul

Bubba said:
http://www.howtogeek.com/129178/why-does-64-bit-windows-need-a-separate-program-files-x86-folder/

"If you’re looking for the short and sweet answer,
turn to SuperUser contributor David Schwartz:

Short answer: To ensure legacy 32-bit applications continue to work
the same way they used to without imposing ugly rules on 64-bit applications
that would create a permanent mess.

It is not necessary. It’s just more convenient than other possible solutions
such as requiring every application to create its own way to separate 32-bit
DLLs and executables from 64-bit DLLs and executables.

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."

I think I can see now, why no Microsoft employee wants to
explain this on a Microsoft.com site.

Paul
 
Ad

Advertisements

W

...winston

Dale said:
I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.

Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.

Can someone explain the rationale to me?

Thanks!
If you've a 64 bit capable machine and Windows 7 64 bit installed you
have two 'Program Files' folders
One named Program Files the other Program Files (x86)
- the latter is for 32-bit compatibility

For detailed info see
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program_Files >
and

<http://www.howtogeek.com/129178/why-does-64-bit-windows-need-a-separate-program-files-x86-folder/>
 
S

Stan Brown

I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.

Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.

Can someone explain the rationale to me?

Thanks!
Windows puts 64-bit programs into C:\Program Files and 32-bit
programs into C:\Program Files (x86). This started with 64-bit
Windows XP, I believe.

The one thing we can be certain of is that Windows does _not_ need to
do that to determine whether a program is 32-bit or 64-bit. People
ion this group experimented with putting 32-bit programs in C:
\Program Files and found that they still worked just fine.

IIRC, someone here did give a rational explanation the last time this
was asked, but I can't remember the details and last I checked this
group doesn't get archived by Usenet-hating Google. Perhaps someone
else will remember.
 
S

Stan Brown

Well, it "seems to" until you actually read it! All it does is take
many paragraphs to say what we already know: 32-bit apps go into C:
\Program Files (x86) "by default". There's no indication of why that
needs to be. It's _not_ so that Windows knows to give such programs
special treatment. If it weer, then 32-bit programs installed in C:
\Program Files would fail, but they don't.

And don't get me started on HKLM\Software\WOW6432Node in the System
Registry.
 
K

Ken Blake

Hi, Dale.

How old is an "old man"? I'm 78. Am I old?

The US life expectancy is now 78.7 years. I divide that into three
equal categories:

0- 26.2 years Young
26.2 - 52.4 years Middle-aged
52.4 - 78.7 years Old

Everybody older than 78.7 is superannuated! <vbg>

I can't remember when your birthday is, so I'm not sure whether you
are old or superannuated. If you're not superannuated yet, you will be
soon. I'm still old, but in three years I'll catch up with you and
also be superannuated (if I'm still alive). <g>
 
K

Ken Blake

You mean the old acoustic modems ? where you had to put the handset in a
cradle ?

If it could be called a modem !!!

It was called an acoustic coupler.

Almost nothing that is today called a modem is actually a modem. The
term "modem" is short for "modulator-demodulator." Technically, it's a
device that converts the analog signal on the telephone line to the
digital signal needed by a computer, and vice-versa. Technically, any
device that doesn't do that analog to digital conversion is not a
modem.

A device that connects to a high-speed internet connection is properly
called a "gateway," not a modem, because that high-speed internet
connection is digital to begin with. So there's no analog to digital
conversion, no modulating or demodulating is required, and the term
"modem" is technically inappropriate.

However, the difference between a modem and a gateway is not widely
known, and the term "modem" is widely used for both types of devices.
Some people strenuously object to this usage, because it's not
technically correct. My personal feeling is that, leaving aside the
analog to digital conversion issue, both devices do essentially the
same thing--they connect a computer (or network) to the internet.
Since there is no term that is really correct for any device that
connects a computer to the internet, and since the term "modem" is so
widely used for this, I think insisting that a gateway not be called a
modem is just rigid and inflexible.

Despite the original meaning of the term, for all practical purposes,
calling that DSL or cable device on your desk a "modem" is far and
away the best thing to do. Like so many English words, the word
"modem" has changed its meaning over time.
 
Ad

Advertisements

V

VanguardLH

<this post spotted in alt.comp.freeware>

Dale cross-posted to alt.comp.freeware, a newsgroup unrelated to the
alt.windows7.general newsgroup, then tried to rudely yank the discussion
away from the freeware newsgroup that *he* chose to cross-posted (but
which was thwarted by using the original Newsgroups in my reply):
I'm an old man, who predates DOS and I've never put anything on purpose
into a program files directory.
Yet every program you installed defaulted to that location, didn't it?
You didn't bother to explain why you thought you had to buck the
default, or why your choice of an alternate installation path was better
than the default.
Now that I've finally moved to windows 7, I see there is this crazy
assemblage of EXTRA program files directories.
This is not an issue with any freeware. No version of Windows is
freeware.
Can someone explain the rationale to me?
Both Google and Bing still work:

http://www.google.com/search?q=windows 64-bit "program%20files%20(x86)"%20purpose
http://www.bing.com/search?q=windows 64-bit purpose "program%20files%20(x86)"
 
P

Paul

Ken said:
It was called an acoustic coupler.

Almost nothing that is today called a modem is actually a modem. The
term "modem" is short for "modulator-demodulator." Technically, it's a
device that converts the analog signal on the telephone line to the
digital signal needed by a computer, and vice-versa. Technically, any
device that doesn't do that analog to digital conversion is not a
modem.

A device that connects to a high-speed internet connection is properly
called a "gateway," not a modem, because that high-speed internet
connection is digital to begin with. So there's no analog to digital
conversion, no modulating or demodulating is required, and the term
"modem" is technically inappropriate.

However, the difference between a modem and a gateway is not widely
known, and the term "modem" is widely used for both types of devices.
Some people strenuously object to this usage, because it's not
technically correct. My personal feeling is that, leaving aside the
analog to digital conversion issue, both devices do essentially the
same thing--they connect a computer (or network) to the internet.
Since there is no term that is really correct for any device that
connects a computer to the internet, and since the term "modem" is so
widely used for this, I think insisting that a gateway not be called a
modem is just rigid and inflexible.

Despite the original meaning of the term, for all practical purposes,
calling that DSL or cable device on your desk a "modem" is far and
away the best thing to do. Like so many English words, the word
"modem" has changed its meaning over time.
I'm not sure I'd agree with this.

ADSL and dialup have a lot of similarities.

On dialup, 33K (or less) modems could be connected straight though
the analog telephone network. Even if the telephone company
equipment happened to be digital, all it needed to emulate
was 4KHz of analog bandwidth (8KHz Nyquist sampling).

At 56K, backhauling is used to get around data rate limitations
in one direction. By not sending the signal (in one of the
two directions) through the analog network, a higher rate
was possible. I think in that case, there might have been
a T1 or higher rate digital cabling to the ISP, to make it possible.
So a portion of the analog telephone network was being bypassed.
And this was a precursor to the ADSL generation (the notion
of total bypass, at each line card termination point).

In analog days, the wiring on the telephone network, only
had to pass the 4KHz signal.

When we fast forward to ADSL, now, the telephone network
analog portion, is bypassed in both directions at the
line card on the DSLAM access mux. The line bandwidth is
anywhere from 1.5MHz to 12MHz, rather than the puny 4KHz
limitations of analog phone service. The loading coils
have been removed. We still have frequency bins (like on
dialup modems), but there are a hell of a lot more bins,
and a lot more data rate possible (currently, up to
52Mbit/sec download rate, with no change to telco
wiring from the corner to your house).

http://home.earthlink.net/~mark.wagnon/dmt.jpe

Both ADSL and dialup, use similar protocols. Both
with PPP in the name. On dialup, it was simple Point
to Point Protocol. Back in dialup days, you could even
view the log, as your session was logged into the modem
pool. ADSL uses PPPOE or PPPOA, which is a stream to
packet protocol as well, complete with login sequence.
Only, we don't get to watch the log like we used to.

What comes *after* a modem, is a distinguishing feature.
The dialup, had nothing but computer software after
the modem. In the case of the Winmodem, even the
DSP conversion function was done by the computer portion.
On a Winmodem, all the modem was contributing, was
a place to capture analog samples, for analysis by
the DSP code in the Winmodem driver.

X ---- dialup ---- RS232 -------------------- computer

Ethernet
X ---- ADSL --- router ---------------------- computer

It's the router that makes you think things are different.

There were some products made, where a dialup modem
was "shared" with two computers. That would be the
logical equivalent of the ADSL modem/router style
solution. Only those sharing boxes were never popular,
and were discontinued before they could sell any.
(And, who would want to share 5KB/sec anyway!)
Same thing as happened to ISDN - obsolete out of the
gate. As a result, people will only remember the
fairly "raw" experience provided by the dialup
modem. No "networking features" to speak of.
All networking features, such as ICS, where done
on the computer end.

X ----- dialup --- RS232 --- Computer #1 ---------- Computer #2
PPP & ICS Ethernet

That's an example of sharing a modem, using networking
protocols in the OS (ICS or Internet Connection Sharing).
The dialup modem is "dumb as dirt" in that picture.
Provides a stream of bytes. To be reconstructed via PPP.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point-to-point_protocol

HTH,
Paul
 
M

mechanic

Almost nothing that is today called a modem is actually a modem. The
term "modem" is short for "modulator-demodulator." Technically, it's a
device that converts the analog signal on the telephone line to the
digital signal needed by a computer, and vice-versa. Technically, any
device that doesn't do that analog to digital conversion is not a
modem.
The channel may be analog - designed for voice traffic with the same
spectrum as the end result - but the signals from the 'modem' are
digital. They may not be binary, indeed the symbols will be
multi-bit and encoded further after that, but they are not analog.
Analog signals have continuous values not discrete ones. There is no
analog to digital conversion involved.
 
Ad

Advertisements

S

Steve Hayes

It was called an acoustic coupler.
And was a modem.

Almost nothing that is today called a modem is actually a modem. The
term "modem" is short for "modulator-demodulator." Technically, it's a
device that converts the analog signal on the telephone line to the
digital signal needed by a computer, and vice-versa. Technically, any
device that doesn't do that analog to digital conversion is not a
modem.

A device that connects to a high-speed internet connection is properly
called a "gateway," not a modem, because that high-speed internet
connection is digital to begin with. So there's no analog to digital
conversion, no modulating or demodulating is required, and the term
"modem" is technically inappropriate.

However, the difference between a modem and a gateway is not widely
known, and the term "modem" is widely used for both types of devices.
Some people strenuously object to this usage, because it's not
technically correct. My personal feeling is that, leaving aside the
analog to digital conversion issue, both devices do essentially the
same thing--they connect a computer (or network) to the internet.
Since there is no term that is really correct for any device that
connects a computer to the internet, and since the term "modem" is so
widely used for this, I think insisting that a gateway not be called a
modem is just rigid and inflexible.

Despite the original meaning of the term, for all practical purposes,
calling that DSL or cable device on your desk a "modem" is far and
away the best thing to do. Like so many English words, the word
"modem" has changed its meaning over time.
Like "dial"
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top