Scott Hanselman

Installing iTunes 7 on 64-bit Windows Vista

August 16, 2007 Comment on this post [22] Posted in Musings
Sponsored By

Administrator CWindowssystem32cmd.exe We're going on a trip tomorrow so I needed to get my iPod setup quickly and sync'ed beforehand. However, I hadn't put iTunes on my new Vista 64-bit system, and I was shocked to see the iTunes installer fail to install saying "cannot find Quicktime." A little file system sniffing solved the problem.

Since both apps are 32-bit apps running on 64-bit Vista, they are each installed to "c:\program files (x86)." Apparently iTunes has hardcoded "c:\program files" so iTunesSetup goes looking for QuickTime in "c:\program files\quicktime" rather that where it really ended up.

So, before I ran iTunesSetup again, I needed to "lie" to the installed by making a directory link to where QuickTime actually got installed.

  • Hit the Start Menu, type cmd.exe and Right Click then choose Run as Administrator.
  • Type
    md "c:\Program Files (x86)\QuickTime"
  • Type
    mklink /d "c:\Program Files\QuickTime" "c:\Program Files (x86)\QuickTime"
    to create a link FROM Program Files\Quicktime to where it really is. Note this is all one line. 
  • Install iTunes by running iTunesSetup.exe and you're all set.

Ridiculous that I should have to do this. Apple really doesn't make it easy on Windows users. Heh, I wonder why not? :)

UPDATE: Nick has a good writeup on this issue with more detail, so check it out!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Hosting By
Hosted in an Azure App Service
August 16, 2007 11:50
I've had to use that mklink for some programs as well... It's a handy tool
August 16, 2007 11:54
Quite why Microsoft decided to split Program Files into x86 and x64 is beyond me. As to why they decided that x86 should be the one to move is stranger yet for a company normally obsessed with backward compatibility.

August 16, 2007 12:22
Quite a mess. That's the price of windows users trying to get a little bit of apple flavour.
August 16, 2007 12:32
Damien - Maybe because 64-bit is the way going forward? I'm not sure, but I'll ask and find out.
August 16, 2007 14:03
Strange you had that issue Scott as I've installed iTunes quite a few times on my Vista x64 machine and never had an issue. That said, it sometimes failed with that error when I was running another setup at the same time. I think that was because the QuickTime install silently failed as another program was being installed, so then iTunes bombed.
August 16, 2007 16:28
Apple does explicitely say iTunes is compatible with the 32-bit version of Vista:
August 16, 2007 17:23
I installed iTunes 7.3 (or whatever the latest version is) on my father-in-law's 64-bit Vista box a couple of days ago without any problems. Did you install QuickTime first or just iTunes?
August 16, 2007 17:31
Two folders, because conceivably you may want to install both platform versions of a program for many reasons.

One of the first tests I run on other people's code is to install to a different drive and a different folder as well as change HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ProgramFilesDir to something other than C:\Program Files\.

It's even more amusing to install applications on a system without a C: drive.

You be surprised how many applications reply on Program Files being "C:\Program Files" and that a C: exist!
August 16, 2007 17:34
"Ridiculous that I should have to do this. Apple really doesn't make it easy on Windows users. Heh, I wonder why not? :)"

As Dave pointed out, Apple /does/ try and make it easy for Windows users by letting people know it's only for Vista 32bit :)
August 16, 2007 19:01
Just FYI, another good use for symbolic links and iTunes is to allow for a shared iTunes library among multiple user accounts on one machine. The fact that Apple doesn't have an option to allow for this directly from iTunes is, IMO, also ridiculous.
August 16, 2007 19:15
That's a pet peeve of mine. Anyone who hard-codes "Program Files" into their app should be shot...
With a bean bag gun. I'm not advocating murder.
August 16, 2007 19:25
Yet another thing that demonstrates just how bad the programming in iTunes for Windows is. They need to fire their Windows development team and start over. And maybe this time, you know, they can actually implement WPF or something to give us smoother eye candy? Doubtful. And maybe they can rewrite their library code so that it doesn't choke past 8k songs..

Blah blah blah.
August 16, 2007 19:38
Odd, iTunes installed just fine for me on 64-bit Vista. The app thats really giving me trouble is Rhapsody, who's new DRM isn't compatible with 64-bit. Grrr!
August 16, 2007 21:54
I talked to Raymond Chen and he explained that Program Files always has *native* binaries. Even on mips and alpha, so this makes sense for x64.
August 17, 2007 19:01
I can't seem able to install Itunes at all, and i think it's down to this problem. Once upon a time, i installed itunes but removed it since I wasn't using it. At that point, I had quicktime also.

I think opted for quicktime alternative, and have not been able to install the newest version of itunes since it crashes the moment the installer starts.

I will give this a shot and see whether it works.

August 17, 2007 20:41
I installed iTunes on my wife's new Vista laptop and the CD/DVD drive stopped working. Uninstalled and bingo, working again.
August 19, 2007 3:00
This, to me, speaks poorly of Apple's development team. Apple's approach to operating systems is to develop software to run only on their proprietary hardware. Perhaps they've grown a little sloppy in the compatibility department as a result. With Mac OS, Apple never wrestled with the challenge of writing portable code and now they're failing pretty handily!

I'm currently running Vista 64-bit, and though I was able to install successfully, I haven't been able to synch my iPod for 6 months!
August 21, 2007 2:23
All my contacts(outlook) and media are on my x64 box.

I activated my iPhone and set up my account with my wife's Powerbook. I get home and woot i cant sync! 599$ and i cant use it with x64? what a hunk of junk.

August 22, 2007 0:13
"You must be assimilated."

Welcome to the world of Apple. In the bad 'ol days prior to OS X, anytime the operating system got upgraded, you were lucky if you could get any old applications to run on the new operating system.

Count your blessings. :-)

August 22, 2007 4:01
So like the future of mobile devices is incompatable with the future of home computing because of a n00b programming anti-pattern? Hard coded paths?
October 09, 2007 0:22
Cant get iTunes or QuickTime installed. Did all the mklink stuff correctly and still get "installer has encountered an unexpected error.....code is 278" Any suggestions?
October 12, 2007 9:57
I'm hardly a technical person - but I have Vista ultimate 64 bit. and I can install itunes but it says I can't download cd's or burn cd's. I've written apple and had no response. can anyone help me? thanks

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.