Fixing Areca Backup on 64-bit Windows

If you’re like me, and you probably are, you do a terrible job of backing up your digital files life on a regular basis. Thankfully some smart people out there have made it awfully convenient to set up a backup system once and then more or less forget about it. My personal tool for the job is Areca Backup – while it is not without its flaws I find it an easy to use, feature rich, and cross-platform (essentially anything that runs Java) backup solution.

So why do you have to fix it?

Remember when I said it was not without its flaws? Areca, while written in Java, makes use of SWT for its graphical interface in order to get a good solid native feel. This is normally not an issue except that more and more people are running 64-bit Windows operating systems and more and more people are installing the 64-bit version of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) instead of the 32-bit version. Why does this matter? Well SWT uses native libraries, in this case Win32 libraries, to create the application interface and Areca only ships a 32-bit version. This means that when you try and run the application on a 64-bit version of Windows running 64-bit Java it will simply not start. The reason is technical but essentially 64-bit Java is not compatible with loading 32-bit native libraries.

So how do you fix it?

The fix is actually very easy. While Areca doesn’t ship a 64-bit version of their application, all you really need to do is get a 64-bit version of the SWT libraries. Here are the steps to get this to work:

  1. Go to http://www.eclipse.org/swt/ and under the Releases section click the more…link (under Stable).
  1. Download the SWT Binary zip file for Windows (x86_64) (version 4.2.1 as of this writing).
  2. Open the zip file and extract the swt.jar file (in the root of the zip) to the lib folder of your Areca Backup installation directory replacing the swt.jar library that was there. Usually this means you extract swt.jar to C:\Program Files (x86)\Areca\lib
  3. Start Areca normally – you are now using 64-bit native libraries with your 64-bit JRE on your 64-bit Windows operating system.

Hopefully this helps you out and, more importantly, allows you to backup your precious digital files.