What to Do When Old Tools Won’t Work on New 64-Bit Operating Systems

13 Oct, 2009 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: The upgrade to a new OS can spell trouble in the form of incompatible peripherals.

I'm starting to see more companies implementing 64-bit operating systems, but as they do so, frustrations about incompatibilities can arise. Here are a few of the questions I've been asked:

  • "How do I get my old printer to work under this new 64-bit system?"
  • "Why won't videos play on my browser now that I'm running a 64-bit system?"
  • "My users can't get their iPods (or digital cameras, etc.) ported over to their new 64-bit workstations!"


In almost all cases, I've been able to get old peripherals working on my 64-bit station, but at times I have had to hunt for the very latest 32-bit drivers to get them working. This "latest 32-bit" approach worked for my prehistoric Brother page scanner, as well as my old HP B-size printer/plotter. Other CAD managers also have reported success with this approach. Although it requires locating the new drivers, uninstalling old ones, and other hassles, it almost always works. (Alternate [and optimistic] solution: If your boss will let you, simply buy new equipment!)

I've also had problems with Flash-encoded video on 64-bit browsers. At this time, Adobe Labs is issuing 64-bit updates for development, but has not yet shipped a 64-bit Flash player — so stay tuned for updates. You can check the status on the Adobe Labs web site.

As for your users who are spending hours trying to get their iPods and other entertainment appliances working on their workstations, I don't consider that a work-related support question. My advice is to remind users that their workstation is for CAD — not entertainment — and let the issue drop.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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