Best Free Windows 64-bit Software

 
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Best Free Windows 64-bit Browser

Now is a good time to try a 64-bit browser. Just don't get rid of your 32-bit browser until you are sure that you can do without it.

64-bit versions of Windows Vista, 7 and 8 include both the 32 and 64-bit versions of Internet Explorer, version 8 in the case of Windows 7, version 10 for Windows 8. The 32-bit versions of Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera also work without a hitch under both operating systems.

For a many months I have used all the browsers. I rate them similarly to the 32-bit versions (see Best Free Web Browser). Although my personal preference is for Firefox and its derivatives, your preference is likely to be determined by what you use in a 32-bit version. On my systems, the 64-bit versions seem smoother and faster than the 32-bit versions when running on 64-bit Windows but they are usually no faster than their 32-bit versions running on 32-bit Windows.

The issues are the same for all 64-bit versions, they use more memory and they may not be able to run your favourite 32-bit add-on or plug-in. However, the main roadblocks to using 64-bit browsers have been removed:

Pale Moon

Pale Moon is a fast version of Firefox optimized to run on newer hardware. Speed is increased by optimizing the compiled program through removing support for older processors, utilising the features of newer processors, and configuring some features differently. The main difference you will notice is that the user interface is slightly different retaining some of the older placements.

Compatibility is maintained by using only 'unmodified Firefox code' but removing some 'less useful' features which don't affect the ability to display web pages correctly. Useful features that are removed are: accessibility features - if you need them you won't want this browser; and parental controls - see Best Free Internet Safety Checkwhich describes how parental controls improve browsing safety. You will also lose crash support because Pale Moon does not have the same infrastructure as Firefox.

Pale Moon installation was easy but a separate utility has to be downloaded to migrate my Firefox settings. One benefit of 100% Firefox source code is that I can use Firefox Sync which synchronizes Firefox history, bookmarks, etc on different platforms. I'm using it to synchronize 32-bit Firefox, 64-bit Firefox and 64-bit Pale Moon so I don't lose any of my work while I'm evaluating them.

Waterfox

Waterfox, like Pale Moon, is an optimized 64-bit version of Firefox that doesn't remove major components. It appears to be faster than Pale Moon but has one annoying feature:"Waterfox uses the same profile that Firefox does. If you uninstall Waterfox make sure you don't have the remove personal data box ticked!".

Opera

Opera might well be my main browser if it wasn't so aggressive at making itself the default. With smaller market share, I guess that they try harder to overcome conservatism and inertia that keeps Opera off more desktops.

Internet Explorer

While Internet Explorer 64-bit is a very good browser, I don't using it much because I have had more problems with the websites I rely upon and work on. Even so, I enjoyed using it as it was also noticeably smoother and faster than the 32-bit version.

Google Chrome

Even with four 64-bit browsers to choose from, 32-bit Chrome Chrome is still a very attractive product with features that you might consider essential like multiple user profiles.

 

  Best Free Windows 64-bit Email

Microsoft offer no real 64-bit solution for the latest versions of Windows:

  • Windows 8 Mail is a Modern UI application but it is very limited. If you use it, you will have to complement it with webmail or another email program.
  • Windows 7 does not include an email client.
  • Windows Vista 64 has a 64-bit version of Windows Mail which makes it Microsoft's only competent 64-bit email client.

Earlybird

Thunderbirdis our recommended client for the 32-bit Windows desktop but Mozilla's only 64-bit version is the unsupported beta Earlybird. It is good enough to use but be warned that you may strike problems although I haven't ... yet.

Unfortunately, moving from your existing email client to 64-bit Thunderbird 3 can be quite a challenge. Users moving from Thunderbird 2 under Windows 7 and Vista 64 will need to use two third party freeware products, MozBackupand MailStore Home. Migration from Outlook is relatively simple under Vista 64 using the import function. This approach doesn't work under Windows 7 due to changes in the registration of MAPI entries which no one appears to want to acknowledge or address.

 

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Comments

by Thom (not verified) on 15. January 2011 - 19:50  (64622)

Why would an old program that runs perfectly well on native Windows XP in Wndows 95 compatibility mode not run (at all) in Windows 7 in Windows 95 compatibility mode?

Do I have to go to Windows 7 Professional and install the WINDOWS XP and Virtual Machine components or is there another solution?

by eikelein on 11. March 2011 - 12:15  (67782)

Most likely your legacy application contains some 16-bit code.
IMHO no way at all to run that in Vista/7 anymore.
Update to a current version that is written in fully 32-bit.

by rik on 17. March 2011 - 19:12  (68113)

Just to clear up a small technical point, 16 bit code will run under 32 bit Windows. Should you wish to run it under 64 bit Windows you need to employ virtual machine technology. This is covered elsewhere on the site and must be clear as I managed to follow it!

Rik

by rik on 27. January 2011 - 5:03  (65281)

Personally I think a VM is a far better solution although configuration can be 'interesting' :)

Rik

by rik on 26. January 2011 - 19:28  (65246)

I would like to apologize to everyone for not responding to comments; I have just returned home after three months in hospital.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible :)

Rik

by MidnightCowboy on 26. January 2011 - 20:36  (65252)

Please can we have the "bits". It's soup day tomorrow :D

Welcome back mate. Sadly and sorely missed. Just don't pile in too quickly and undo all the good work.

Remember, MC is watching! :D

by rik on 26. January 2011 - 21:13  (65256)

Message received and understood :)

Great to be back.

Rik

by Nickname on 30. January 2011 - 19:14  (65535)

Not knowing any of the background "area", I think I may be able to read in-between the lines - ouch painful. All the best for a swift & soothing recovery ;)

by chesscanoe (not verified) on 13. January 2011 - 16:27  (64456)

On Win7x64 system I like to use Chrome browser 9.0.597 beta to read a PDF either on the fly from a web page or a PDF on my hard drive. (Chrome embeds Adobe Flash as well at a higher level than publicly from Adobe.) However I do keep a current Adobe Reader X 10.0.0 installed in case I need to use its features, which is very rare.

by rik on 27. January 2011 - 4:49  (65274)

Thanks for the information.

Rik

by gggirlgeek (not verified) on 7. January 2011 - 11:29  (64062)

Sorry for the double post below... stupid browser addons... :( Feel free to delete one.

I must agree with others, and raise an eyebrow at the recommendation of a registry cleaner. The best way to clean my registry is also God's gift to the curious: drive imaging. Windows pissing you off? Just re-image for a brand new system.

Personally, I still use DriveImage XML because it is pre-installed on most recovery disks so I'm not left stranded. It has never let me down. And it does come in a 64-bit flavor.

Between you and me, and the world, though, I do use the registry tool in CCleaner occasionally, just out of curiosity.... This is usually followed by a re-image. :-}

by rik on 28. January 2011 - 3:50  (65346)

Could you enlighten me as to how imaging your system has any impact on the layout or size of your Registry? This is a new one on me and I fail to see how it works.

Rik

by mchldpy on 22. February 2011 - 22:29  (66947)

hey rik,
did you ever find out how imaging your system could or would clean and reset your registry... or whatever she was talking about? i don't think the first 63 sectors (0 - 62) of the ole hard drive had the mbr-
mental boot record intact any longer.

by rik on 2. March 2011 - 11:12  (67303)

I can't see how it would work following a standard image and then restore. Perhaps I'm missing something?

Rik

by gggirlgeek (not verified) on 7. January 2011 - 10:40  (64060)

IMHO, defragmenting everyday with Defraggler is not a good idea if you use MyDefrag or JKdefrag. Nor is using any other defragmenter. It completely ruins the optimization that JKdefrag peforms by rearranging the files and filling in the much needed gaps that were set up. This actually causes more fragmentation, slower disk performance for Windows, and a lot more wear and tare on the hard drive. The author of JKdefrag says that defragmenting once a week is plenty.

With that said, I am having doubts about whether Mydefrag actually optimizes the way JKdefrag used to. Whenever it is finished I see a completely filled in hard drive with no gaps and many "space hogs" at the front of the disk. Looks like old-school Windows defrag to me! I haven't had a chance to visit their forums about this yet but I'm thinking of just using the old JKdefragGUI in XP mode, or trying to adapt it's scripts to MyDefrag format.

I have to say it's worth it. Discovering Jkdefrag might have been the single biggest boost in performance my system has ever seen. I really have no need for constant system upgrades anymore with tools like these.

by rik on 27. January 2011 - 4:51  (65275)

The app you use is a matter of personal taste although MyDefrag is, I believe, a better choice. As you point out, using two such tools is NOT a good idea.

Thanks for your valuable input.

Rik

by Anonymous Surffer (not verified) on 17. December 2010 - 1:21  (62764)

I am running Minefield Firefox beta with 64 bit Flash plugin, available at Adobe as: flashplayer10_2_p3_64bit_plugin_111710. This is experiential but works fine.

by rik on 27. January 2011 - 4:51  (65276)

I would agree.

Rik

by Malwarebytes fan (not verified) on 14. December 2010 - 3:05  (62423)

My 2 cents: I believe that Malwarebytes should rank a little higher. That software has bailed me out couple times and especially when a trojan took away my admin rights. It was the only one that was able to eliminate the threat and restored my pc rights.

by Wikitikki (not verified) on 17. April 2011 - 1:13  (70340)

Glad it worked out for you unfortunately that is not how antivirus software is tested and would be a very blind way to go about it. Look for sites that test all kinds of AV software, look at their data and results and compare them with all the listed AV programs. The major thing to look out for is failed results, that is the key detail that determines a good AV vs a bad one.

Me personally I use Microsoft Security Essentials why?

Because:

1. It's light on system resources and free for life.
2. Actually 64bit unlike most claims made by top antivirus software.
3. Fast scanning.
4. Virus definitions updated daily.
5. 99% detection rate well at least I have yet to see it fail.

Things I don't like about it:

1. Constant beta state.
2. Updater doesn't work as it should you have better luck with schedules.
3. Anti-spyware kind of sucks, kills your resources if you have it on auto and are doing multiple things.
4. Its not designed with all the kinks and eye candy in mind, so it lacks allot of major security additions but being lightweight and free makes it worth the price point. If all you need is a solid AV then MSE should fit the budget.

by rik on 27. January 2011 - 5:08  (65282)

Remember that the review is based on side by side evaluation. Frankly, this is no substitute for personal experience.

Thanks for the valuable feedback.

Rik

by pom gili (not verified) on 4. December 2010 - 3:00  (62008)

- sir what is much better? windows 7 32-bit or windows 7 64-bit? tnx.

by rik on 27. January 2011 - 4:54  (65277)

'Better' in a PC sense is difficult to quantify. Personally, having switched to 64 bit Windows and Linux, I wouldn't move back.

Best regards,

Rik

by Biren D Palani (not verified) on 30. November 2010 - 17:20  (61832)

Good review... thanks it help us a lot in understnding the Win7 x 64

by HERRY (not verified) on 27. November 2010 - 11:32  (61697)

Those of you who are "computer experts" and tried to remove it manually by deleting all the traces it leaves in the system (files, registry, DLLs, etc.) and failed don't feel too bad, you are not alone, it is known that removing it is a very hard task, since in that aspect it does a great job in preventing an easy uninstall.

by rik on 27. January 2011 - 5:11  (65283)

Generally removing software using Windows features is the best approach as you point out. Sometimes this doesn't work so knowing your 'way around' the system is a valuable skill.

Rik

by Thamza (not verified) on 24. November 2010 - 11:38  (61610)

This is a great list. As for me, I will be getting a Computer running a 64 bit OS and so this information prepares me for the unseen and unknown. Thanks a million!

by Dmanil (not verified) on 20. November 2010 - 9:46  (61420)

Have you tried Foxit reader (pdf-reader)?

by rik on 27. January 2011 - 4:55  (65278)

Sorry for the delay in replying I have been unwell.

I have tried Foxit and found a serious bug which is still with the developers.

Rik

by MachineGhost (not verified) on 18. February 2011 - 6:40  (66657)

What serious bug in FoxIt Reader? I've been using it for years without problems. PDFXChange is not much of an alternative to the bloated Adobe PDF Reader. For example, PDFXChange uses a whopping 96MB of memory (91MB above baseline) just to display a 696KB PDF file compared to FoxIt at only 11MB (3MB above baseline).

Eusing Free Registry Cleaner is also as safe as CCleaner but removes far more junk over that of unsafe-to-use commercial registry cleaners. I run CCleaner, Eusing and PowerTools Lite (in that order, from weakest to strongest).

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