DroidDB Tip of the Month

DroidDB® Tip for May 2013

Using the 32 Bit ODBC Database Administrator on 64 Bit Windows

(Originally published as How To: Access The Correct ODBC Data Source Administrator on 32-bit vs. 64-bit Windows)

In 64-bit Windows, there are two ODBC Data Source Administrators: a 32-bit and a 64-bit variant.

The ODBC Data Source Administrator that is directly accessible in the Control Panel, under Administrative Tools (which itself is neatly tucked away under System and Security if your Control Panel is set to view by category) is always of the bit-ness of Windows. That is, on 32-bit Windows, it is the 32-bit administrator; on 64-bit Windows, it is the 64-bit administrator.

On 64-bit Windows, you can execute 64-bit and 32-bit applications transparently. Starting in 2010, Microsoft Office applications were made available in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions. Older versions are 32-bit only.

It is important to understand that 64-bit applications can only use 64-bit drivers and 32-bit applications can only use 32-bit drivers. In a single running process, all of the code must be either 64-bit or 32-bit. Data Source Names (DSN) are similarly divided by bit-ness since a DSN is defined for a specific driver.

The 32-bit version of the ODBC Data Source Administrator must be used to configure data sources for 32-bit applications. This is the source of many confusing problems where what appears to be a perfectly configured ODBC DSN does not work because it is loading the wrong kind of driver.

You cannot access the 32-bit ODBC Data Source Administrator from the start menu or control panel in 64-bit Windows. To create or modify 32-bit DSN on 64-bit Windows, you must run C:\WINDOWS\SysWOW64\odbcad32.exe. You may find it useful to create a shortcut to this on your desktop or Start menu if you access it frequently.

Note: The 32-bit data source must have a name that is different than the all the 64-bit data sources. Otherwise, the 64-bit data source will "hide" the 32-bit data source. For example, there is a 64-bit data source called "MS Access Database". Your 32-bit data source must not be called "MS Access Database", Name it differently (for example, "MS Access Database 32").


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