It’s Time for Adobe to Retire 32 Bit Windows Applications

When Creative Suite 4 was released in 2008 one of the great advancements was a 64 bit version of Photoshop for Windows. This allowed the traditionally RAM hungry application to access all of the RAM you could possibly install on a computer as long as you had a machine running Vista 64 (Windows XP-64 was never a supported operating system). The result was an impressively faster application, especially when editing larger images since Photoshop did not need to use a harddrive SWAP file for RAM.

Photoshop users, however, had and still do depended on many third party plugins to add functionality and at the time most of those plugins were still 32 bit. In order to allow the continued use of those plugins, it was necessary to produce a 32 bit version of Photoshop as well. The result was that following installation, there were two versions of Photoshop installed on 64 bit Windows machines.

That wasn’t really a major issue at the time but fast forward to today and 64 bit is now mainstream. Just about all of the Creative Cloud applications (Dreamweaver is about the last holdout I can think of) are available as 64 bit. Third party developers have followed suit, virtually eliminating the need for 32 bit applications.

To get even better performance, many people such as myself  have moved to solid state drives. These drives are lightning fast but they’re also much smaller than traditional mechanical harddrives. The drive I have installed on my desktop is only 256 gigabytes and is used for the operating system and applications. All of my data still resides on standard harddrives.

With a drive that small, space is an issue and wasting it unnecessarily is not something that anyone is thrilled with.

Dropping 32 bit is not unprecedented

Adobe moved their video applications such as Premiere Pro to 64 bit only quite some time ago. Over the last few releases, even the traditional design applications such as Illustrator and InDesign have become more RAM hungry and the time is right to relegate 32 bit to the history books. A check of the system requirements shows a recommendation of eight gigabytes of RAM for InDesign. This in itself is requires a 64 bit operating system since anything over four gigabytes is ignored with 32 bit.

While we wait for the inevitable discontinuance of 32 bit apps (yes, I believe it’s as inevitable as subscription software), Windows user need a way to choose to install the 64 bit versions only. I’m not a software engineer and I honestly don’t know how hard this will be to do but a couple of things come to mind that I’d like to see:

  • A user preference to install only 64 bit applications on 64 bit systems, or;
  • Showing the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of the applications separately in the Creative Cloud desktop application and allowing them to be selected individually.

 Windows users: Speak up!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Adobe does listen. If you agree that developing two versions of each application is a waste of Adobe resources and user’s drive space, let them know. File an official feature request here.

Ironically, there is no Creative Cloud choice in the products drop down so my suggestion is to use InDesign. This is the application that makes the most sense to address since it’s the most recent addition to the 64 bit line up and unlike Photoshop, every new version requires new plugins.

Without 32 bit applications to worry about, Adobe and their third party developers could save time testing on 32 bit systems,  and users wouldn’t be stuck with extra versions.

Finally, I welcome your comments, but I don’t think anyone is interested in hearing that this isn’t an issue on the Mac. I already know that since I have a MacBook Air as well.

By |2013-06-27T17:15:08+00:00June 27th, 2013|Adobe, Creative Cloud, Creative Suite, Windows|9 Comments


  1. Keith June 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    I was wondering about that too. Yes in previous versions we had the option to install either/or but this time you apparently get both – no matter what. These days plugins seem to be up to speed & running on 64bit & if they’re not? Oh well, I don’t bother with them. Presume I can muck around and delete the 32bit folder & then see what kind of issues that might bring about.

    • Bob
      Bob June 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      There has not been an option to install either or that I can remember.

  2. Harbs June 28, 2013 at 2:54 am - Reply

    I agree 100%. I find it hard to believe that many pro users need to run a 32 bit system. As a developer, I’d be very happy to drop support for 32 bit.

    • Bob
      Bob June 28, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

      That’s my feeling as well. I don’t think too many of the Adobe engineers would be upset with the demise of 32 bit support, either.

  3. Ariel June 30, 2013 at 7:26 am - Reply

    There should definitely be a choice NOT to install the 32-bit version!

  4. Joshua Bowman October 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    You can install the 64-bit only, but it’s a bit tricky. You have to start the install, go into the temp folder and find the downloads, then copy the installer out. (It first downloads a .7z file, then extracts it into a folder. You can keep whichever suits you, copying the 7z during install is a bit faster.)

    Then uninstall the freshly installed app, start the setup.exe, and you get the exact same interactive setup interface as the older versions had, letting you choose which version of each you want.

    I totally agree that Adobe needs to get rid of them, I haven’t needed 32-bit plugins in years.

    There is a link that supposedly lets you download the installers manually, but I always get a 403 permissions problem when I try, even after following their directions:

    • Bob
      Bob October 18, 2013 at 9:09 am - Reply

      Nice workaround. For anyone running CS6 and CC on a Windows box, that can result in a substantial reduction in redundant apps.


  5. nigratruo December 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I’m shocked that we are still talking 32bit/64bit. Anyone that still thinks that 32 bit is useful at this point should have their head examined. All the people still hanging around on 32 bit are causing endless problems that could have been eliminated all together by just only offering a 64 bit version.
    It would also help people that are confused about 32bit and 64bit, as offering both version does confuse them. So join the future and stop supporting some old obsolete garbage!

    • Bob
      Bob December 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      You’re preaching to the choir here, but thanks for joining in!

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