How to Find Out if a Program or Executable File is 64-bit or 32-bit

Sometimes you want to know if an executable file is 64-bit or 32-bit before you install or use it but the source where you got the file doesn’t indicate the nature of the file. Or maybe you just want to make sure. Here are two easy ways to check.

EXE 64bit Detector

There are a variety of ways to find out how a file was compiled. Technology professionals can use a hex editor to read the code but the rest of us need something simpler and one way is to use a little utility called “EXE 64bit Detector”. This tool is a simple command line executable. As long as you are familiar with using the command prompt, its use is quick and easy. The developer’s site is at this link. One annoying thing is that the download link redirects you several times to other pages on the developer’s site and you have to be careful not to click on a toolbar download. So be aware. The utility works in all current versions of Windows. I have tried it in Windows 8, 64-bit. It has to be run in a command prompt with administrator privileges.
The use is simply to enter the command:
     Exe64bitDetector.exe –f FileYouAreTesting
The switch  –f is required and the complete path to the file you are testing must be used. The graphic below shows an example of its use. Note that the status of ASLRDEP, and SEH are also given.
Exe 64Bit Detector
The problem with this utility is that not everybody wants to fiddle with the command prompt. So here is an even simpler method. It does not require any additional software at all.

The really simple way to check if a file is 32-bit or 64-bit 

  1. Right-click on the executable file you want to check
  2. Select “Properties”
  3. Click the tab “Compatibility”
  4. An example of the dialog box that opens is shown below
  5. In the section "Compatibility mode" put a check in the box under "Run this program in compatibility mode for:"
  6. Open the drop-down menu that lists operating systems. If the list begins with Vista, as shown in the graphic, then the file is 64-bit. If the list of operating systems includes Windows XP, then the file is 32-bit.
  7. Don't forget to uncheck the box under "Run this program in compatibility mode for:"
Compatibility tab