Hiding things in plain sight…

October 15, 2010 facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail by in ODBC   Relational Database Connectivity  

It’s a good time to be making the switch from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows because most of the issues from the early days of 64-bit (driver problems for everything ranging from your sound card to your printer) are behind us.  You might be making the switch to take advantage of more powerful applications, like 64-bit Microsoft Excel 2010 that lets you work with much larger pieces of data.  Or, you might be making the switch to just get past the 3.5(ish) gigabyte RAM ceiling in 32-bit Windows and you’re going to stick with your old 32-bit applications for a while longer.

If you’re in the latter camp and you use an ODBC driver to connect a client application (like Excel or Crystal Reports) to a back-end database system, you will get to play a little game of hide and seek…

The ODBC Data Source Administrator is a tool you will be familiar with and it looks exactly the same in 64-bit Windows as it did in 32-bit Windows, but there is a catch.  When you access the program the way you normally would, via the Control Panel, you get a version which only configures 64-bit drivers.  If you are still using 32-bit applications, they won’t see any of these drivers.  Fortunately, Microsoft has included the old 32-bit ODBC Data Source Administrator, but you have to access it directly by navigating through the file system.  We have published a “How-To” that goes into a bit more detail http://www.simba.com/docs/HOW-TO-32-bit-vs-64-bit-ODBC-Data-Source-Administrator.pdf, but the short answer is that you need to create a shortcut to “C:WINDOWSSysWOW64odbcad32.exe” and use this to create data sources for your 32-bit applications.

It’s a good time to be making the switch from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows because most of the issues from the early days of 64-bit (driver problems for everything ranging from your sound card to your printer) are behind us.  You might be making the switch to take advantage of more powerful applications, like 64-bit Microsoft Excel 2010 that lets you work with much larger pieces of data.  Or, you might be making the switch to just get past the 3.5(ish) gigabyte RAM ceiling in 32-bit Windows and you’re going to stick with your old 32-bit applications for a while longer.
If you’re in the latter camp and you use an ODBC driver to connect a client application (like Excel or Crystal Reports) to a back-end database system, you will get to play a little game of hide and seek…
The ODBC Data Source Administrator is a tool you will be familiar with and it looks exactly the same in 64-bit Windows as it did in 32-bit Windows, but there is a catch.  When you access the program the way you normally would, via the Control Panel, you get a version which only configures 64-bit drivers.  If you are still using 32-bit applications, they won’t see any of these drivers.  Fortunately, Microsoft has included the old 32-bit ODBC Data Source Administrator, but you have to access it directly by navigating through the file system.  We have published a “How-To” that goes into a bit more detail <http://www.simba.com/docs/HOW-TO-32-bit-vs-64-bit-ODBC-Data-Source-Administrator.pdf>, but the short answer is that you need to create a shortcut to “C:WINDOWSSysWOW64odbcad32.exe” and use this to create data sources for your 32-bit applications.