Software Deployment: When to use 64 installers

Hello,

we use DesktopCentral for software deployment and are currently rethinking our whole deployment workflows and software standards.

Basically we want to keep all systems as close as possible to company-whide standards.
We have mainly 64bit Windows 7 clients (about 90%).

Now the "problem":
1.) Some software installers don't make a difference between 32 and 64 bit (i.e. Adobe Flash Player or PDF reader).
2.) Some installers come as 32 and as 64 bit, but still both installation go to Programfiles (32bit) / Programfiles(x86) (64bit). Some(/all?) of these programms won't run a 32bit installer on a 64bit machine.
3.) Then there are more specified 64bit programs which are "really" installed into the 64bit-Programfiles...

Now I wonder, if there is any general "best practice" for these three cases.
Case #1 is easy and "worry-free".

But how do I know if a program will install a real/native 64bit version (like office - possibly causing addin problems etc; like in case #3) or just install the 32bit software into the right directory on a 64bit system (case #2)?

Is there any general / common "rule" or indication for me, which installer I have to choose (given, that I mainly want 32bit software)?

Or do all applications differ so much in deployment philosophy, that I just have to try to deploy only 32bit installers and see if they fail on my 64bit machines..?
SystemadministrationAsked:
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John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems EngineerCommented:
TO me it is simple...if you have a 64bit versions of the program then use only the x64 installations (with the exception of Office-Access which has issues with 64 versions getting incompatibilities with older 32 programs).
Generally a 64bit version is better especially on heavy applications like 3d graphics...
Do check if you encounter serious issues with 64 application using 32 bit application and make decisions accordingly
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Vadim RappCommented:
The difference not in the installation, but in the executable. You see two available installers, 32-bit and 64-bit, when the developer has compiled two separate executables of his product, 32-bit and 64-bit, so they are distributed separately (or they can be packed into one setup.exe, accordingly twice larger size, that will launch one of them depending on the platform).

> But how do I know if a program will install a real/native 64bit version (like office - possibly causing addin problems etc; like in case #3) or just install the 32bit software into the right directory on a 64bit system (case #2)?


Only from the description provided by the developer. Generally speaking, the only way to find out if the product you are about to install is 32-bit or 64-bit, is to install it, run it, and look in Task Manager whether it's 64-bit or 32-bit.

> 1.) Some software installers don't make a difference between 32 and 64 bit (i.e. Adobe Flash Player or PDF reader).
those are usually 32-bit applications

> 2.) Some installers come as 32 and as 64 bit, but still both installation go to Programfiles (32bit) / Programfiles(x86) (64bit)..

On 64-bit system, putting 64-bit executables into \program files  and 32-bit into \program files(x32) is recommended practice, but nothing prevents anyone from violating it. Windows will not refuse to run 64-bit exe from program files (x32). Equally, nothing prevents the developer from creating 2 installers, 64-bit and 32-bit, while his application is 32-bit. It does not make sense, but it's a free country.

> Some(/all?) of these programs won't run a 32bit installer on a 64bit machine
This should never be the case. Not running 64-bit installer on 32-bit machine is expected, but the reverse should be always possible.
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SystemadministrationAuthor Commented:
Good explanation and nice overview :)
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