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How Do I Change My Browser From 64 Bit to 32 Bit?

Updated July 20, 2017

Modern computer processors are 64-bit capable, and modern versions of Windows such as Windows 7 install the 64-bit edition by default on computers that support it. The operating systems are backwards compatable and can run 32-bit software, Windows includes both a 64-bit version of Internet Explorer and a 32-bit version for backwards compatability. Use the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer for compatability with Web browser plugins such as Adobe's Flash Player, which plays media content on websites such as YouTube. By default, the 64-bit Internet Explorer does not launch unless specifically chosen from the start menu; it also can't be set as the default Web browser.

Close all open Internet Explorer windows.

Launch 32-bit Internet Explorer by clicking "Start," "All Programs" and "Internet Explorer."

Verify any links to Internet Explorer on your desktop or quick launch bar are to the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer by right-clicking them, clicking "Properties," verifing the "Target" box reads "C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"," with the quotation marks, and clicking "OK."

Verify any links to Internet Explorer on the Windows 7 taskbar are to the 32-bit version by right-clicking the "Internet Explorer" window entry on your taskbar, right-clicking "Internet Explorer," right-clicking "Properties," verifying the "Target" box reads ""C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"," with the quotation marks, and clicking "OK."

Tip

For compatability with 32-bit plug-ins, other web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome only provide 32-bit installer packages. The 32-bit Internet Explorer's executable file location is "C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe." The 64-bit version's location is "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" You can't set 64-bit Internet Explorer as your default browser. The "Default Web Browser" section in its Internet Options window reads "Internet Explorer (64-bit) cannot be the default browser." Attempting to set 64-bit Internet Explorer as the default browser sets 32-bit Internet Explorer as the default browser.

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About the Author

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around tech geek who writes for PC World, MakeUseOf, and How-To Geek. He's been using Windows since Windows 3.1 was released in 1992.