What does WOW64 mean for Windows 11, 10, 8.1, ... the MS operating systems?
In any case, the WOW64 in Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 7, ... and Server 2019, 2016, ... has nothing to do with "World of Warcraft".
Preliminary information about WOW64:
Wow64 is used under all x64 Windows operating systems , not only in Win 10, 8.1, seven, but also in older Windows operating systems, Windows on Windows was already available under Windows XP x64 2005, which hardly anyone knows. The new Windows Web Server 2019 and 2016 continue to use the WOW64, because the number of 32 bit / x86 / x32 applications is very large and there are sometimes no x64 versions of some programs. Many files are in the Windows folder winsxs!
1.) WOW64 in MS Windows
WOW64 is a subsystem of the Windows operating system. This enables 32-bit applications to work on a 64-bit operating system.
However, this is not new, or not an innovation, in Win-7, or Windows-8/10, it is already in use from Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition 2005.
WOW64 can be seen as a bridge between 32-bit Introduce Windows and 64-bit Windows. WOW64 comes from English and stands for Windows On Windows 64 .
2.) WOW64 and program performance
Because the WOW64 subsystem is an artificial 32-bit environment under the x64 Windows versions, the x32 / x86 applications may run slower under these operating systems than under the 32-bit versions (x86 / x32) of Windows. But it may also be that the performance of some 32-bit programs with very high memory requirements under x64 Windows in WOW64 may be even better and faster.
The reason for this performance improvement is that the x64 versions of Windows support a larger amount of physical memory than the 32-bit versions of Windows.
3.) Limitations in WOW64 subsystems
The WOW64 subsystem does not support programs that have been compiled for 16-bit operating systems, nor does it support kernel-mode programs that have been compiled for 32-bit operating systems .
Some of the 32-bit programs may require 16-bit components to function properly. These cannot be run on x64 versions of Windows either. Contact the manufacturer of the 32-bit program and ask for a possible update that is compatible with the x64 versions or edition of Windows.
4.) 32-bit driver and WOW64
The x64 versions of Windows do not support 32-bit drivers. All hardware device drivers and program drivers must be compiled by the manufacturer specifically for the x64 version . If a 32-bit program tries to install a 32-bit driver on a computer that is running an x64 version of Windows, the driver installation fails. Contact the manufacturer of the program or driver.
5.) More information about Wow64
For more information and the differences between the 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows in terms of memory management, see the "Virtual Address Space" topic in the "About Memory Management" section of the documentation to the Microsoft platform SDK. This document is located on the following Microsoft website:
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