Internet Explorer 9 – 32-bit vs. 64-bit – Part 1: Download and default browser

In this article series you will learn about the differences between Internet Explorer 9 64-bit and 32-bit.

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Mon, December 6, 2010 - 8 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

Articles in this series

Internet Explorer 9

Now, that you have an overview of the new features of Internet Explorer 9, I will discuss the differences between Internet Explorer 9 64-bit and 32-bit in another series of articles. Today I will make some general remarks about the default browser settings and how to check which browser version you are actually running.

Interne Explorer 64.bit vs. 32bit - Check bit-versions

Download Internet Explorer 9 64-bit or 32-bit?

Internet Explorer has been available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions since Windows XP. Of course, you can run Internet Explorer 64-bit only on a 64-bit Windows. However, the 32-bit edition also works on Windows 64-bit. For instance, if you installed Windows 7 x64, you already have Internet Explorer 8 as 32-bit and 64-bit installed.

If you want to install Internet Explorer 9, you have to download the correct bit-version for your operating system. That is, you can’t use the 32-bit setup file on Windows 7 x64, and of course you can’t install the 64-bit version on Windows 7 x86. However, the 64-bit setup file also contains the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer 9. The same applies when you install Internet Explorer 8 on Windows Vista.

Internet Explorer 9 64-bit as default browser?

By default, when you click the Internet Explorer shortcut on the desktop, Internet Explorer 9 32-bit is started. Internet Explorer 32-bit is also launched by default when you launch a website from another application. Although you can use an alternative browser as the default browser, you can’t use Internet Explorer 64-bit as your default browser.

Internet Explorer 64 bit vs. 32 bit - IE 64 bit default browser

Which bit-version are you running? IE 64-bit or IE 32-bit?

You can verify that by clicking “About Internet Explorer” in the help menu in IE8 or on the gearwheel in IE9. If you are running IE 64-bit you will find “64 bit Edition” after the browser version number. If you run IE 32-bit, there is no corresponding note in the About window.

You can also check the bit-version with Windows Task Manager by searching for the iexplore.exe process. If “*32 bit” is displayed behind the process name, it is IE 32-bit; if nothing is displayed, it is IE 64-bit.

Internet Explorer 64 bit vs 32 bit - IE 64 bit - Task Manager

In my next article in this series I will discuss IE 64-bit compatibility issues.

Series NavigationNew in Internet Explorer 9 – Part 3: Performance - Internet Explorer 9 – 64-bit vs. 32-bit – Part 2: Compatibility

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8 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. Harald says:

    Hi

    Thanks for a good article. You wrote:
    > if you installed Windows 7 x64, you already have Internet Explorer 8 as 32-bit and 64-bit installed

    On my system (Win7 x64) I have never seen IE8 64 bit used. Can this be launched manually? Can it be unistalled (only have 32-bit version)? If i upgrade to IE9 beta, can I only install 32-bit version or do I haave to install both?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Enter “Internet Explorer” at the Start search prompt. You should then see two icons, one is “Internet Explorer (64-bit)”.

  3. Rick IE Team says:

    Hello,

    I just wanted to let Harald know that he could use either version of IE9 but not both at the same time. Now that Adobe release “Square” : http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer10.html the issues that some had with 64bit compatibility have been resolved. If you intend to install the 64bit version please update Windows, and update drivers for your video card. And if you experience any issues you can refer to this Resource to help out. http://support.microsoft.com/ph/15672

    Enjoy
    Rick
    IE Outreach Team

  4. Pierpaolo Cellini says:

    To make IE64 default browser:
    Rename %systemdisk% program files (x86)/Internet Explorer in something like Internet Explorer32.
    Copy in %systemdisk%/program files (x86) the folder Internet Explorer that comes from %systemdisk% program files
    and voila.
    Java and Flash perfectly working.
    Not at all activex and fewer problems.
    Not more Silverligth that says “playing” in middle of the clip’s window.
    A more unusual browser and fewer malaware attacks.

  5. Pierpaolo, thanks! It is interesting that it is that easy. I expected at least some registry hacks. :)

  6. BitShift says:

    And what happens when you install a hotfix for IE? …

  7. Paco says:

    Thanks for clarifying how to tell if IE 9 is 32 or 64 bit. Microsoft and Bing could not.

  8. michael nmi ali says:

    I do not have in IE 9 ‘about window’ 64 bit.So you say is 32 bit.
    I do not have under processes (task manager) 32 after either iexplore
    which are shown .So you say 64 bit. Is that correct? and do it mean something is awry?

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