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Windows 7: Programs Files (86) seems to switch partitions in my dual boot system

20 Feb 2012   #1

Winddows 7 64bit and windows 7 32bit
Programs Files (86) seems to switch partitions in my dual boot system

I have a laptop setup dual boot. Windows 7 64bit and windows 32Bit (both professional versions). The 64 bit was installed on a partition with drive letter C:, and the 32 bit with a driver letter e:. I like to ghost both partitions, but I notice that the 64bit's "program files (86)" directory shows up on C: when runnig the 64bit Windows 7, but is not listed on C: when I runt he 32bit version of Windows 7. Instead it is on the e: dirve. Where is it really?
Mainly, I want to know what to ghost to get everyting both operating systems need, in two seperate operations (someday I ditch the 32-bit).

Before I actually start yet another thread discussing why one should not dual boot 64/32bit. I have good reasaons. I must (for work) use obsolete hardware that has no 64 bit drivers. (Note XP compatibility mode and VMWARE will not run the 32bit driver, unless there is something I do not know about VMWARE. These are OK solutions for incompatable hardware, not custom drivers.) In any case, besides using the devices without 64bit drivers, I will be developing new drivers for two devices (that my company created to replace the obsolete hardware), and I need to create drivers for 64bit and 32-bit (in this case Windows 7 64bit, and an embedded 32-bit Windows).

I guess what I'm asking is, what mechanism would make it appear the x86 program files move in a dual boot system?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


If installed correctly from boot as it must with a different bit-version, when booted either Win7 installation should be on C.

The other installation will appear in explorer with another letter which is virtual and insignificant. What's important only is that the OS is C when booted.

Sometimes it is our own perspective that needs to be changed - from real world to virtual.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2012   #3

Windows 10 Pro x64, Windows 8.1 Pro x64, Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1,

Which ever Windows 7 system is active will use the letter C:. Therefore the other inactive Windows 7 will use another letter, in you case E:.
The Programs (x86) folder remains with the partition where the 64 bit Windows 7 is installed reagrdless of the drive letter assigned.

If you rename the Windows 7 x64 drive from Local to Windows 7 x64 when it is active, you will be able to see that only the drive letter changes when it become the inactive system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 Feb 2012   #4

Winddows 7 64bit and windows 7 32bit

Thanks pbcopter and gregrocker,

I was sure that it was my perpective that had to be changed, but my prespective is tough to change.

The reason I want to know is that I have a lot of time into configuring both systems for software developement. I mainly want to be sure I can creat a ghost of both systems, and I can maintain them after doing a lot of configuration work. So I need to
know that if a ghost c: a get something I understand.

It seems both of you are both saying the partition that windows 64bit was installed (C:) in is really where "program files (86) files are? This is exaclty what I see when I run windows 64bit. I see everthing as I expect. A "program files" (for 64 bit apps) and a "program files (x86)" (for 32bit apps) both on drive C: (which is the only letter assigned to a primary partition, at manual before I installed Windows 32bit). If I looke over at the e: drive letter. I see only a "program files" directory which belongs to the windows 7 32bit. Makes sense, even to me.

You saying that when I boot into the windows 7 32bit (which I installed on a partition I assigned drive letter e:) that drive letters assigned to partitions change, so that Windows 7 32-bit runs form c:? Therefore, all the windows system files "program files", "windows" etc. now appear to be on letter c:, and I'm seeing "all" the system files assocated with Windows 64bit as being located on e: (just becuase e: is the next availabe drive letter.). Similarly, if I boot into windows 64-bit, all the 64bit OS's files know appear on C: (again), and the inactive 32bit files appear on e: (again).

So let me get this clear, you are saying the drive letters of my partitions are changed on boot depending on the which Windows (32bit or 64bit) I boot. Everything seems to move even the "user" files switch drive letters. The active OS always get the letter c:. I only noticed the one directory name that is not part of Windows 32bit! This makes sense, let me know if I understand you incorrectly. It makes things easy as well, I feet a bit stupid. (I even think I used to know this years ago when I had dual boot NT machines.

I gues a messed things up a bit when in Windows 32bit, I forced some program to install to e:?

I will check it out. In case I do not understand you, here are some details, of how I created this system.

I started with a x64 install supplied by Toshiba. At the time there was only one primary patition, which was had the letter C:. I created a second primary partition that I assigned the letter E:. (D: was used for the optical dirver.)

I then installed windows 7 32bit from a purchased copy of windows 7 system builder 32. I told the install to use drive e:
I then renamed the labels in the boot system, because otherwise they both read "Windows 7", and then proceded to install some of the software I need. Many small programs, like notepad++ (both OS's), and some big applications like Microsoft Visual Sudio (so far only Windows 7 32bit). (I assume the software installed in not important, but just wanted to mention that I did not install any 32-bit apps in the 64bit windows until after created a second partitiion adn installed 32bit windows.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2012   #5
Microsoft MVP


Yes, you have it correct. Programs should install to the booted OS unless you redirect their installer.

Programs cannot be shared between drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2012   #6

Windows 10 Pro x64

You are totally confusing yourself. When your on the 64 Bit OS your on the C: partition and the 32 bit will show as E:
When your on the 32 Bit OS you wll be on C: and the other drive will be E:
As mentioned whatever system your on will be C: And everything you installed on the 64 Bit OS is on the 64 bit system. And Ditto for the 32 Bit OS. A program will only install on another drive or partition if you tell it to.

Do you understand now?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2012   #7

Winddows 7 64bit and windows 7 32bit

Yes started out confused, but now I get it. Thank you all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Programs Files (86) seems to switch partitions in my dual boot system

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