Some Windows users say these 32-bit apps have forgotten how to save

Some Windows users are seeing 32-bit applications failing to copy, save, or attach files, according to Redmond itself.

The failures are intermittent, and affect apps that are large-address aware and use the CopyFile API on Windows 10 or 11, Microsoft wrote this week on the Windows Health Dashboard.

"You might have intermittent issues saving, or copying, or attaching files using 32-bit apps which are large address aware and using the CopyFile API," the IT giant noted. "Apps are not affected by this issue if they are 64-bit or 32-bit and NOT large address aware."

Being large address aware means the application can handle memory spaces larger than 2GB, a capability that is enabled by default in 64-bit compilers. In 32-bit compilers, developers can specify the app is large address aware at the linker stage. The CopyFile function copies, as you might imagine, an existing file to a new one.

The file handling issue appears to more likely affect Windows devices that are running commercial or enterprise security software that uses extended file functions, Microsoft claimed.

"We are not receiving reports that copying files using File Explorer is affected, but CopyFile API used within apps might be affected," the software giant added. "Microsoft Office apps such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel are only affected when using 32-bit versions."

Those hit with the problem may see an error message saying: "Document not saved."

The Microsoft note added that the problem likely won't occur in Windows devices used by consumers in their home or on non-managed commercial devices. It also doesn't affect Windows Server systems.

The problem, which doesn't arise all the time, affects Windows 11 versions 22H2 and 21H2 after installing the March KB5023774 or later updates, and Windows 10 22H2 and 21H2 with the March KB5023773 or later updates.

That said, Microsoft may have fixed the issue in all affected versions except Windows 11 22H2. As a workaround, the company said that users could try to save or copy the files again. Because it's an intermittent issue, "it is likely to succeed on a subsequent try," Redmond wrote.

Engineers are working to resolve the issue in the latest version of Windows 11 but said that using the Known Issue Rollback (KIR) should address the problem in other iterations of the operating system.

KIR is a feature in Windows that can roll back a specific and non-security changes if it is causing problems in enterprise-managed devices, while keeping all other fixes in a particular release intact. Admins can install and configure a KIR Special Group Policy for it on Windows devices.

The Special Group will need to be configured for the particular Windows version being used, Microsoft wrote. Have fun with that. ®

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