Sign up ×
Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. It's 100% free, no registration required.

How does one install ArcView3 on 64bit Windows?

There are numerous threads on the ESRI forums for how to accomplish this, but the solutions are scattered, inconsistent and disjointed. So this is a request to post integrated and "cleaned-up" solutions, don't just copy and paste. Please indicate if the method is specific to x64 XP, Vista, or 7 (and post seperately, e.g. win7 method in one answer, vista in another).

share|improve this question
Install a VM and a 32-bit O/S. – Michael Todd Jan 19 '11 at 18:06

5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Install Arcview on XP, using the defaults. Copy these folders to the same location on Win7.


C:\Program Files\Common Files\ESRI ->
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\ESRI 
(if folder exists in Win7, just copy files)
share|improve this answer
Which AV 3.x files are installed in C:\Program Files\ ? (As far as I know, none of them are.) – whuber Jan 22 '11 at 21:31
As klewis says you will also need to copy from the XP machine the files in C:\Program Files\Common Files\ESRI and paste into your Windows 7 machine in the following directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\ESRI otherwise Arcview 3.3 will fall down on a missing dll that is in the folders contained within. – user13126 Nov 27 '12 at 15:59
Interesting! I have never had to do this, so I checked it out. Indeed, my Win 7/64 installation does have this directory--but it contains only one DLL from 2008, obviously post-ArcView. As a test, I renamed this directory and ran ArcView 3.3 with no problem at all, adding and displaying a shapefile. This suggests there's no reason for anyone to carry out your instructions--although it would do no harm. – whuber Nov 27 '12 at 17:15
@whuber I just tried to copy AV 3.3 from WinXP to a Win7 x64 PC using only the C:\ESRI folder. It complained about a missing DLL so I needed the ...\Common Files\ESRI folder before Win7 would launch AV3. – SaultDon Nov 27 '12 at 21:59
@SaultDon Thanks. I had checked into mtch.dll, because it was referenced in related messages, but find a copy installed in ESRI/AV_GIS30/ArcView/Bin32. The are also copies of sg81.dll and pe81.dll there. These dll's (and the other files--not everything you list is a dll) sound like they may have been installed with extensions rather than base ArcView. It appears that not all AV installations have the same directory structures and thus, at least for some people, copying the ESRI common files may be a good idea. – whuber Nov 27 '12 at 22:57

For Win7/64: Copy all the files from a working installation. Put them into identically named drives and folders on the destination machine. Run it! This really does work: I have been using AV 3.3 in this mode for the last eight months. This is the fourth or fifth migration of this sort since the last official install I did about a decade ago. Also working is Spatial Analyst 1.1, which I have not installed from CD in about 14 years.

I also tried the Windows VM solution (which emulates Win XP/32). It's awful: there's some kind of incompatibility that causes AV to hang after a fraction of a second and wait for user interaction. If you keep waving your mouse over the window, it will keep chugging away at a redraw or table processing, but it's still incredibly slow. After hunting the Web for a few weeks to locate a solution, to no avail, I gave up on this kluge.


If you have problems with reports of missing DLL files after the migration, please see this answer by klewis for a potentially simple fix. You might also need to migrate special files installed by your ArcView extensions if they placed them in idiosyncratic locations.

share|improve this answer
What platform did you use for the VM approach? (e.g. MS's xp-mode vmware, virtualbox, etc.) – matt wilkie Jan 19 '11 at 20:41
re: copy all files - was everything needed under C:\ESRI\\* or did you have to grab some files from elsewhere (I think I remember reading something about fonts and dll's). – matt wilkie Jan 19 '11 at 20:43
@Matt (1) I used the official Windows virtual machine. (2) Yes, some fonts were missing. After a while you notice those--they are the ESRI* fonts--and just grab whichever ones you like from the system. Otherwise, everything's in C:\ESRI\AV_GIS30\ARCVIEW. – whuber Jan 19 '11 at 22:23
Oh, I wouldn't try to run it using Virtual PC on Windows 7; ArcView 3.3 was released even prior to the first XP service pack. Instead, I'd try installing VirtualBox or VMWare Server and then installing XP. I believe you'd have a lot more luck with that. – Michael Todd Jan 19 '11 at 23:30
@Michael AV 3.3 works just fine on Win XP (that was the platform I migrated from, in fact). The version I tried to run had been patched for Win XP, too. The problem lies with Virtual PC. The VMWare suggestion sounds good. I looked at VMWare last summer but their web site simply wouldn't let me download the software: it kept me going in an endless loop of forms to fill out. Too much trouble for me; someone else can share their experiences with VMWare + AV 3.x if they like. – whuber Jan 20 '11 at 0:42

After installing via the other answers, there are couple of things to make things a little friendlier (on Win7):

Register the .apr filename extension so you can just 2x-click on SomeProject.apr and thereby bypass the painful AV3 file chooser. Run these command from an administrative command prompt (edit to suit, see ss64 for usage):

assoc .apr=ArcView3.Project
ftype ArcView3.Project=C:\ESRI\ARCVIEW\BIN32\arcview.exe "%1"

Install Windows Help Program (WinHlp32.exe) from Windows Update KB917607, assuming you want to read the AV3 help docs that is.

share|improve this answer

If anyone gets the error message about mtch.dll being missing, follow the instructions in the last thread of this link installation on Windows 7. This worked for me when moving from Vista to Windows 7 64 bit

share|improve this answer

I've been using AV 3.2 as copied version from an already existing installation in both Win 7 32 and 64 as well as on Win 8.1 on av PC as well as on a tablet. One has to observe the place for C:\Program Files\Common Files\ESRI (eg dlls needed etc), but the catalog for the program can be placed anywhere, eg on another partition or even on an usb stick or as on my tablet, on a sd card. Copying or installing the proper fonts might be nifty.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.