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How to Download and Use WOW64 Emulator on 64-bit Windows


How to Download and Use WOW64 Emulator on 64-bit Windows

WOW64 is a feature of 64-bit Windows that allows 32-bit applications to run seamlessly on 64-bit Windows. This is useful if you have older programs that are not compatible with 64-bit Windows, or if you want to run multiple versions of the same program on your computer. In this article, we will show you how to download and use WOW64 emulator on 64-bit Windows.

wow64 emulator 32-bit windows free download

What is WOW64 Emulator?

WOW64 stands for Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit. It is a software emulator that runs in user mode and provides an interface between the 32-bit version of Ntdll.dll and the kernel of the processor. It also intercepts kernel calls and thunks them to the native system calls. WOW64 consists of several DLLs that are loaded into each 32-bit process. These DLLs are:

  • Wow64.dll: provides the core emulation infrastructure and the thunks for the Ntoskrnl.exe entry-point functions.

  • Wow64Win.dll: provides thunks for the Win32k.sys entry-point functions.

  • Wow64Cpu.dll: provides support for running x86 programs on x64.

  • IA32Exec.bin: contains the x86 software emulator (Intel Itanium only).

  • Wowia32x.dll: provides the interface between IA32Exec.bin and WOW64 (Intel Itanium only).

  • xtajit.dll: contains the x86 software emulator (ARM64 only).

  • wowarmw.dll: provides support for running ARM32 programs on ARM64.

WOW64 also sets some environment variables for each 32-bit process, such as PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE, ProgramFiles, CommonProgramFiles, etc. These variables help the 32-bit applications to locate the correct files and folders on 64-bit Windows.

How to Download WOW64 Emulator?

WOW64 emulator is provided with the operating system and does not have to be explicitly enabled or downloaded. However, some older versions of Windows may not have WOW64 installed by default. To check if you have WOW64 on your system, you can use the following methods:

  • Open a command prompt and type wow64. If you see a message saying "WOW64 is not recognized as an internal or external command", then you do not have WOW64 installed.

  • Open Task Manager and look for processes with *32 in their names. These are 32-bit processes running under WOW64. If you do not see any *32 processes, then you do not have WOW64 installed.

If you do not have WOW64 installed, you can download it from Microsoft's website[^1^]. You will need to select the appropriate version of Windows and architecture (x86, x64, or ARM) for your system. After downloading the file, run it as an administrator and follow the instructions to install WOW64.

How to Use WOW64 Emulator?

To use WOW64 emulator, you just need to run your 32-bit applications as usual. You do not need to change any settings or configurations. The system will automatically detect if an application is 32-bit or 64-bit and load it with the appropriate emulator. You can also run multiple versions of the same program (for example, a 32-bit version and a 64-bit version) on your computer using WOW64.

However, there are some limitations and compatibility issues that you should be aware of when using WOW64 emulator:

  • WOW64 does not support running 16-bit applications on 64-bit Windows. If you try to run a 16-bit application, you will get an error message saying "ERROR_BAD_EXE_FORMAT".

  • WOW64 does not allow 32-bit processes to load 64-bit DLLs for execution, and vice versa. This may cause some problems with interprocess communication or shared memory between different processes.

WOW64 may affect the performance and memory consumption of some applications, especially those that make intensive system calls e0e6b7cb5c


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