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I am confused on the differences between using 64 bit and 32 bit IDA versions on a 32 bit application.

If I use 64 bit IDA on the 32 bit application, will it make use of 64 bit or 32 bit architecture?

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First, the IDA 32 will not load a 64 image, and the 64 will disassemble a 32 image, but the only difference is in the generated pseudocode, if you want to generate a pseudocode in C, you need to use the correct version of IDA, read:

according to the Hex-Rays website:

Limitations specific to x86:

only 32-bit code can be analyzed with ida32

Limitations specific to x64:

only 64-bit code can be analyzed with ida64

a long time ago a user asked a similar question and received the answer from one of the developers:

"IDA Pro 64" allowed you to analyze 64-bit files but it was itself a 32-bit program (until version 7.0)".

I recommend a quick read if you're just starting out:

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    Those limitations are on the decompiler not on IDA Pro itself. The decompiler is an optional plugin for IDA Pro. – Robert Jun 15 at 12:04
  • excellent positioning indeed. – 0x0A Jun 15 at 12:16

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