Some Windows Explorer extensions and some Control Panel items are not displayed on computers that are running an x64-based version of Windows

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Article ID: 895561 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

When you log on to a computer that is running an x64-based version of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or to a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition or to a computer that is running an x64-based version of Windows Vista, you may notice that some program features that are available in Windows 32-bit operating systems are not available on your computer that is running an x64-based version of Windows. Specifically, you may notice the following symptoms on your computer that is running an x64-based version of Windows:
  • The Windows Media Player toolbar buttons cannot be added to the Windows Taskbar.
  • Some third-party Windows Explorer shell extensions are not added to the Windows Explorer menu, such as the Windows Explorer shell extensions for Winzip and for WinRAR.
  • After you install a 32-bit program, the file associations do not take effect. Additionally, the associated program icons do not appear as expected.
  • The View x86 Control Panel Icons item in Control Panel does not display all the x86 Control Panel icons.
  • In 32-bit programs that are designed to display image previews as thumbnails, the thumbnails are not displayed.

CAUSE

These symptoms occur because a 64-bit process that runs on a computer that is running an x64-based version of Windows cannot load the 32-bit .dll files that are required by some program features.

For example, when the 64-bit version of Windows Explorer runs on a computer that is running an x64-based version of Windows, Windows Explorer cannot load the 32-bit .dll files that are required by the Windows Explorer shell extensions feature. This issue affects the 32-bit shell extensions for programs, such as the 32-bit version of Windows Media Player. This issue also affects some third-party programs, such as WinZip and WinRAR.

Additionally, the View x86 Control Panel Icons item in Control Panel displays only icons that do not have a corresponding x64 Control Panel item. For example, if an x64 Control Panel item has the same name as an x86 Control Panel item, the icon for that x86 Control Panel item will not appear in the View x86 Control Panel Icons Control Panel item.

WORKAROUND

Windows Explorer

To work around the Windows Explorer issue, you must use the 32-bit version of Windows Explorer. The 32-bit version of Windows Explorer is located in the %windir%\Syswow64 folder on the computer that is running an x64-based version of Windows.

To use the 32-bit version of Windows Explorer, follow these steps:

Click Start, click Run, type the following in the Open box, and then click OK:
Drive_Letter:\windows\syswow64\explorer.exe /separate
Note The placeholder Drive_Letter represents the drive where the x64-based version of Windows is installed.

Control Panel icons

To work around the issue of the Control Panel icons, follow these steps. This workaround lets you open an x86 Control Panel item when the program icon is not displayed in the View x86 Control Panel Icons item in Control Panel.

Click Start, click Run, type the following in the Open box, and then click OK:
Drive_Letter:\windows\syswow64\control.exe file_name.cpl
Note The placeholder Drive_Letter represents the drive where the x64-based version of Windows is installed. The placeholder file_name represents the name of the x86 Control Panel item that you want to open.

MORE INFORMATION

Some features may vary between 32-bit Control Panel items and 64-bit Control Panel items. For example, if you open the Display item in the 32-bit Control Panel and select the Screensaver tab, you will see only the 32-bit screensavers that you have installed. However, if you open the Display item in the 64-bit Control Panel, you will see the 32-bit screensavers that you have installed and also the screensavers that come preinstalled with Windows.

The WOW64 subsystem cannot load 64-bit .dll files except for the core 64-bit .dll files. Similarly, native 64-bit processes cannot load 32-bit .dll files. For example, if you install any software that includes .dll files that hook into Control Panel items or into Windows Explorer to provide additional functionality, the 32-bit .dll cannnot hook into a 64-bit Control Panel item or into the 64-bit version of Windows Explorer. Conversely, shell extensions that are installed by 64-bit programs and are registered in the 64-bit view of the registry cannot be loaded by the 32-bit version of Windows Explorer.

Technical support for Windows x64 editions

Your hardware manufacturer provides technical support and assistance for Microsoft Windows x64 editions. Your hardware manufacturer provides support because a Windows x64 edition was included with your hardware. Your hardware manufacturer might have customized the Windows x64 edition installation with unique components. Unique components might include specific device drivers or might include optional settings to maximize the performance of the hardware. Microsoft will provide reasonable-effort assistance if you need technical help with your Windows x64 edition. However, you might have to contact your manufacturer directly. Your manufacturer is best qualified to support the software that your manufacturer installed on the hardware.

For product information about Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/64bit/default.mspx
For product information about Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 editions, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/64bit/x64/editions.mspx

Properties

Article ID: 895561 - Last Review: February 4, 2008 - Revision: 4.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
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