32-bit optional in Windows Server 2008 R2

You may not but have have been waiting for a looong time for this to be happening. We finally ship an operating system where the support of 32-bit applications has become optional. All 64-bit baby! I’ve been blogging about 64-bit Windows for some time. Less frequent in recent times, more frequent in the past.

With Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core we will ship the first operating system with optional 32-bit support. You will have to explicitly enable 32-bit application support. WoW64, the 32-bit app support layer, is not installed by default. This reduces the attach surface, helps saving memory and makes the whole OS, when running native 64-bit apps only, leaner.

The only person impacted by this change is most likely the system administrator.

If admins run 32-bit code on Server Core they’ll  receive an error message that the application cannot be executed due to lack of 32-bit application support.

32-bit support is an optional component and can be installed by running the following command from the command line:

start /w ocsetup ServerCore-WOW64


Server Core
Server Core blog
ocsetup on Server