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Should I (and can I) delete Program Files (x86) folder in Windows 7?

    Question

  • I installed Windows 7 32 bit over a Windows Vista 64 bit computer. I had to reinstall all applications (Office, etc.) and they were installed in the new folder 'Program files'. Can I just delete the old 'Program Files (X86)' folder? Should I do that? Thanks in advance.
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 5:47 PM

Answers

  • I found the following link, and it worked for me.

    http://www.sevenforums.com/general-discussion/10981-program-files-program-files-x86.html

    I was able to delete all folders. I had to remove a couple using the command prompt with administrator rights and the command "rd". I was also able to delete them from the Windows Explorer window. Good luck.
    Wednesday, November 04, 2009 6:46 PM

All replies

  • You can't upgrade from a 64-bit to a 32-bit OS, you have to clean install, so how you got the 'Program Files (X86)' folder makes no sense, please explain how you installed win7 (upgrade or clean install?).
    Hello! Please reply back, promptly if possible with the results to solutions to your problem!
    - JoelbX
    JoelbX's favorite threads | Skydrive | Cool 'gadget' programs: Download or Visit websites
    Stuff for win7 launch party hosts
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:26 PM
  • Even if he did manage to install 7 32 over Vista 64 (impossible) the folder "Program Files (X86)" should not be deleted from any 64 bit system.
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 10:52 PM
  • Possible! I installed with a OEM disk, on top of old Vista 64 bit. I check Control Panel>system and it does show like 32 bit system now. I am considering a clean install, though I am not having any issues. Just having some used folders (in X86) I could use for extra space.
    Friday, October 30, 2009 12:51 AM
  • What exactly if you have no quarrel with my asking was your install method to give me a better idea - was it an inplace upgade, or could the (x86) be from a backup file? In any case since it is presently a 32 bit system deleting this folder will give you some free space. If you have any doubt just move it to another location and if need be restore it. :)
    Friday, October 30, 2009 5:28 AM
  • Hi,

     

    It is impossible to upgrade a 64-bit operating system to a 32-bit operating system, no matter it is an OEM disk or not.

     

    Windows 7 32-bit does not include the “Program Files (x86)” folder. Only the 64-bit operating systems have it. In this case, the 64-bie operating system is Windows Vista 64-bit.

     

    In addition, if you performed a Clean Install for Windows 7 32-bit on the old system (Windows Vista 64-bit) partition, the old system files should be saved in C:\Windows.old folder.

     

    So, Folk70, did you perform a Clean Install for Windows 7 32-bit on another hard disk drive? After logging into Windows 7 32-bit, then you found the “Program Files (x86)” folder in the Windows Vista 64-bit system partition?

     

    If not, would you please upload the following information to SkyDrive and provide us the link for analyzing?

     

    Screenshot of the symptom

    ========================

    1. Press the Print Screen key (PrtScn) on your keyboard.

    2. Click the "Start" menu, type "mspaint" in the Search Bar and Press Enter.

    3. In the Paint program, click the "Edit" menu, click "Paste", click the "File" menu, and click "Save".

    4. The "Save As" dialogue box will appear. Type a file name in the "File name:" box, for example: "screenshot".

    5. Make sure "JPEG (*.JPG;*.JPEG;*.JPE;*.JFIF)" is selected in the "Save as type" box, click “Desktop” on the left pane and then click "Save".

     

    System Information

    ========================

    1. Click “Start”, type in “msinfo32” (without quotation marks) in the Search bar and then press Enter.

    2. Choose “Save” from the File menu and save it as an NFO file.

    3. Find the file, right-click on this file, click "Send To", and click "Compressed (zipped) Folder".

    4. Send the compressed file to us.

     

    Boot Configuration Database (BCD) entries

    ========================

    1. Click the Start Button, type in "CMD", right-click on the displayed item in the search pane and click "Run as administrator".

     

    Note: The operation requires administrative privileges. Please click "Continue" or "Allow" when the User Account Control dialog-box appears.

     

    2. Type in the following command to export the BCD store to a file on the root directory of the C drive.

     

    BCDEDIT /ENUM ALL > C:\BCDEntries.txt

     

    3. If the command is successful, send the "BCDEntries.txt" file to me from Drive C.

     

     


    Arthur Li - MSFT
    Friday, October 30, 2009 6:19 AM
  • Hi Arthur. Just to clarify, I went from Vista 64 Bit, to Windows 7, 32 bit. Mine was NOT a clean install (did not format the hard drive), but installed over Vista. When I used to have Vista 64, I had the Program Files (X86) folder. Since now W7 installs the programs on the "Program Files" folder, I don't see the use of the Program Files (X86)" folder. I will load files to SkyDrive soon. Thanks for your help.
    Friday, October 30, 2009 3:45 PM
  • I have posted the screenshots and NFO file here: http://cid-431fdcef735fc1db.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/Win7?uc=3&nl=1

    Thanks.
    Friday, October 30, 2009 6:16 PM
  • Hi,

     

    As I have explained that we cannot upgrade from a 64-bit operating system to a 32-bit operating system. I don’t know how the Lenovo OEM Disk do it.

     

    But you may try to Cut and Paste “Program Files (x86)” folder to another location to check if everything works before removing it.


    Arthur Li - MSFT
    Saturday, October 31, 2009 3:03 AM
  • Arthur Li-

    Perhaps it is the case the you (not we) cannot upgrade from 64-bit to 32-bit.
    But Folk70 proves, by example, that it is possible.
    Saturday, October 31, 2009 5:26 AM
  • My dearest Folk70,

    It may be a trick that the 64 bit programs folder is sitting there in plain view but I will give you the benefit of the doubt and attempt this path of upgrade. Before I do Folk, please advise weather I should select "upgrade" or "custom" and confirm that we are upgrading vista 64 bit to 7 32 bit and so I may recreate the exact steps you took to upgrade your system do tell me the procedure you followed.
    Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:29 AM
  • For what it's worth, the "Program Files (x86)" folder doesn't have anything to do with your processor or with upgrading Windows, but refers to software which is installed as a 32-bit version on a 64-bit OS. If you install 64-bit software (or software that doesn't have the ability to recognize whether you're running a 64-bit or 32-bit OS) then it goes into the "Program Files" folder. But if you install 32-bit software, it goes into the "Program Files (x86)" folder.

    There's no difference in functionality between the two. It just tells you which of your software is 64-bit and which is 32-bit.
    Monday, November 02, 2009 8:46 PM
  • I also had a Windows Vista 64bit machine, purchased a Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade, and installed over Vista.  It creates  a windows.old folder for the previous 64 bit version of Windows Vista (which I successfully deleted after the install of Windows 7 completed) and it leaves the Program Files (x86) folder in place and overwrites the Program Files folder(good).  I was able to remove most of the contents of the Program Files (x86) folder, but have not been able to delete some files or the Program Files (x86) folder itself.  I receive "You need permission to perform this action."  I've tried from a command window as well and get Access Denied.  I've run the command window as Administrator and taken ownership of the files, but still no luck.
    Tuesday, November 03, 2009 9:17 PM
  • I found the following link, and it worked for me.

    http://www.sevenforums.com/general-discussion/10981-program-files-program-files-x86.html

    I was able to delete all folders. I had to remove a couple using the command prompt with administrator rights and the command "rd". I was also able to delete them from the Windows Explorer window. Good luck.
    Wednesday, November 04, 2009 6:46 PM
  • Arthur Li-

    Perhaps it is the case the you (not we) cannot upgrade from 64-bit to 32-bit.
    But Folk70 proves, by example, that it is possible.

    Hey fanfarenj, Here's what happened when I tried to upgrade Vista Ultimate 64 bit to & Ultimate 32 bit:



    The following issues are preventing Windows from upgrading. Cancel the upgrade, complete each task, and then restart the upgrade to continue.

    • You can’t upgrade 64-bit Windows to a 32-bit version of Windows. To upgrade, obtain a 64-bit version of the installation disc, or go online to see how to install Windows 7 and keep your files and settings.


    Wednesday, November 04, 2009 10:56 PM
  • What i did was actually "upgrade" from Vista, 64 bit, to Win7, 32 bit. I assume, if you have a 32 bit processor, you cannot install a 64 bit OS. But to be clear, i have a 64 bit processor, and i went FROM 64 bit TO 32 bit. Good luck.
    Thursday, November 05, 2009 6:34 PM
  • Yes FOLK, I pereformed an upgrade from Vista 64 to & 32 of course not an inplace but the custom and sure enough sitting right there was the Program Files (x86) that setup did not move to the windows.old folder. I can't explain why it didn't but at this point since it was only taking up disk space I decided it should be deleted and did just that. Since it was a fresh installation nothing in that folder was registered and deleting it has had no negative effects so far. Setup for some reason fails to move this folder to windows.old and it really should, but since it does not I would say there is no risk involved by deleting it. Furthermore, since setup fails to move Program Files (x86) to windows.old I have concluded that setup is not entirely doing it's job and the issue should be further investegated.
    Thursday, November 05, 2009 11:33 PM
  • Thanks Mr. Seven. I was able to delete the Program Files (x86) with the directions provided in the link posted above. I also deleted the Windows.old folder. My computer is running well so far on Windows 7. I normally keep a backup of my files in my server, so if anything comes up in the future, i may just try a full install with formatting included. My only issue was the extra space in hard drive being used, but other than that, Windows 7 seems to be running fine. Thank you all for your replies.
    Friday, November 06, 2009 2:38 AM
  • I went from Vista 32-bit to Win 7 Pro 64-bit. From installation disc, Custom install without formatting the hard drive...still considered a "clean" install. Vista and files all under Window.old. All files still accessible. Hope this helps.
    Monday, December 07, 2009 4:22 AM
  • I removed my windows.old by moving the folder to another empty drive.  Tested my windows 7 without the windows.old file for awhile then formated the drive containing the windows.old file.  I have experienced no problems of any kind. 
     
    Tuesday, December 22, 2009 7:44 AM
  • Arthur Li-

    Is correct I have done the same and all worked well
    Tuesday, December 22, 2009 7:49 AM
  • For anyone who is not sure if it is safe to delete windows.old here's a support article that you might be interested in.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933212
    Seasons greetings!
    • Proposed as answer by Mchova01 Sunday, January 31, 2010 9:04 AM
    Tuesday, December 22, 2009 7:52 AM
  • For anyone who is not sure if it is safe to delete windows.old here's a support article that you might be interested in.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933212
    Seasons greetings!

    Thanks, saved many GB on my end!  Next up is trying to get down to one version of songs stored on my computer using iTunes.  I can't believe how many different iTunes folders I have.

    Sunday, January 31, 2010 9:04 AM
  • It really isn't a Upgrade.

    While running Windows Vista (64) on your computer, stick the Windows Vista (32) disc in and run setup.  It will ask you to do a clean install which will take all your windows folders except Program Files (x86) and stick them in Windows.old when the installation is complete Program Files (x86) is still there and can't be deleted normaly, but you are in fact running Windows Vista 32 Bit.  It is a clean install and it's not an upgrade folks, it's called a downgrade.

    Monday, November 29, 2010 10:40 AM
  • This might be a better outline of how to do it.

    1. Start > Run > type "cmd" (With no quotes)

    2. Type: takeown /F "C:\Program Files (x86)" /R /D y
        2a. Hit enter to run the command, then when it finishes, continue with step 3.

    3. Type: icacls "C:\Program Files (x86)" /grant Administrators:F /t
        3a. Hit enter again. When the command finishes you can close command prompt.

    Monday, November 29, 2010 11:03 AM
  • I have a Program Files (x86) and I never had Vista 64 bit. I had Vista Home 32...
    Sunday, May 08, 2011 3:24 PM
  • For what it's worth, the "Program Files (x86)" folder doesn't have anything to do with your processor or with upgrading Windows, but refers to software which is installed as a 32-bit version on a 64-bit OS. If you install 64-bit software (or software that doesn't have the ability to recognize whether you're running a 64-bit or 32-bit OS) then it goes into the "Program Files" folder. But if you install 32-bit software, it goes into the "Program Files (x86)" folder.

    There's no difference in functionality between the two. It just tells you which of your software is 64-bit and which is 32-bit.
    Actually, everything gets installed to the x86 folder, unless otherwise noted, not the other way around.
    Sunday, May 22, 2011 7:41 PM
  • <type:    takeown /F "C:\Program Files (x86)" /R /D y>

     

     

    aftr hitting enter it shows error,wid some invalid f\c 

     

     


    Tuesday, January 31, 2012 4:13 AM
  • Why do people keep saying this is impossible. I have done it. Not mistaken. No questions. That is what I did, and I'm using that machine right now. When you're switching from one OS to another, it is entirely possible. Maybe you cannot do 64 to 32 bit within the same OS, but you most certainly can when going from Vista to 7.
    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 6:06 AM
  • You need to take ownership and give your account full control permission to delete 'Program Files (x86)' folder. So first run cmd as administrator (For windows 7, right click on cmd icon and click Run as Administrator). Now type following two lines.

    takeown /f "C:\Program Files (x86)" /r /d n
    icacls "C:\Program Files (x86)" /grant administrators:F /t

    Now like other folders you can delete the 'Program Files (x86)' folder using shift+delete.

    To know more, visit : Delete Program Files (x86) from Windows 7


    Friday, June 29, 2012 11:19 AM