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An application programming interface that is common to all Microsoft's 32-bit Windows operating systems. These currently include: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT and Windows CE.


(1) A 32-bit version of Windows. Many editions of Windows have come in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. See 32-bit computing and x86/x64.

(2) Win32 is the programming interface (API) for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems. Starting with Windows 95, developers write applications that call the routines in the Win32 API. With Windows 8, the WinRT programming interface was used for tablet-style apps.

An application written to Win32 can run in all Windows versions except Windows RT on ARM tablets. In addition, special routines in server versions of Windows may not run in Windows clients. See Win RT.

An ApplicationUsing ThisAPI          Can Run in Windows

 WinRT        Windows 8, Windows RT

 Win32        95/98, NT, 2000, XP, 7, 8 and 10

 Win32s       Win32 + 3.1

 Win32c       95

 Win16        3.x, 95/98, NT, 2000, XP