You are here Home » Tech » How To's » How To Run 32 Bit Software on 64 Bit Ubuntu

How To Run 32 Bit Software on 64 Bit Ubuntu

by Fahad Saleem
how to run 32 bit software on 64 bit

How To Run 32 Bit Software on 64 Bit Ubuntu

Most Linux software packages are designed for 64 bit architectures, especially those, which are dedicated for X_86 architectures. But, running 32-bit apps and games on 64 bit Linux systems becomes necessary sometimes. Many games on Linux and commercial software are designed for 32 bit architectures. In this article, we will tell you how to run a 32 bit software on 64 bit Linux OS.

Unlike high end infrastructures like PowerPC or Sparc Environment, x86_64 processors are designed in a way that can enable them to run the 32 bit systems without the hardware level emulation. This makes it easier for the users who want to run a 32 bit software on 64 bit Linux OS to do the tweak. You just need to install the necessary libraries to get the software ready for running on the machine. In Ubuntu, the libraries are packaged and you can activate them by typing using the following command (ia32-libs) in the terminal

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

After this simple command run, running 32 bit games and simple 32 bit software on a 64 bit Linux OS will be possible. You can run Skype and normal 32 bit programs after this command but there can be an issue with other software and apps which must be tackled.


Running 32 bit software on 64 bit Linux forces the OS to search for default GTK engines. You can see “Wrong ELF Class” error when you try to runany 32 bit software on your 64 bit machine. Ubuntu install the default 32-bit version of the GTK engines in /usr/lib32/gtk-2.0  GTK themes like the qtcurve don’t get into the directory, causing the said error.

Follow the steps given below to solve this problem


Search the  32-bit package of the theme you are using. You can search the packages here

Download and extract the theme file

Find the library of the theme. For example, if the theme is qtcurve, it can be found at ~/download-directory/usr/lib/gtk-2.0/2.10.0/engines/

Now copy the library to lib32 directory, use the following command (by making changes in it, I am using command according to the qtcurve theme)

sudo cp ~/download-directory/usr/lib/gtk-2.0/2.10.0/engines/ /usr/lib32/gtk-2.0/2.10.0/engines/


What if nothing works?

If everything fails and you are still not able to run 32 bit software on 64 bit Ubuntu, running software in chroot environment is the solution. chroot installs an entire 32-bit version of your complete OS in a directory on your PC. More space will be used but each and every kernel and boot loaded will be according to 32 bit environment when chroot is run.



You may also like