August 22nd, 2012 by Stefan Krueger
If you try to access the Windows\System32 folder on a 64 bit version of Windows from a 32 bit application, you get redirected to Windows\SysWOW64. (There are a few exceptions to this rule: if the program you are launching triggers a user account control dialog (UAC) it doesn’t get redirected, and some special subfolders also don’t get redirected. For details see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa384187(v=vs.85).aspx)
To access the real Windows\System32 folder (which – despite of its name – is reserved for 64 bit programs) a 32 bit application can use Windows\Sysnative instead. This functionality is included out of the box in Windows Vista and above. For XP and Server 2003 an update is available to add the sysnative functionality http://support.microsoft.com/kb/942589.
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