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 rik on 16. April 2010 - 4:05  (47740)

It will definitely be done by the end of May, hopefully before then.

Rik

by Anonymous on 18. April 2010 - 5:03  (47885)

I'm having a bit of an issue with Win 7 x64's behaviour with legacy 32 bit apps. Since the last Win update many that ran well initially now need compatibility and UAC tweaking, and will usually take minutes to load. I realise this is not the venue for Windows troubleshooting, but the situation has forced me to look harder for 64 bit replacements.

IgorWare makes some fine lightweight portable 64 bit freeware (http://www.igorware.com):

File Joiner (one of the 32 bit apps that is suffering from my UAC disease is HJSplit, and this is an ideal replacement).

Small Player (a tiny audio player that plays MP3, WMA, and lossless FLAC and APE, out of the box. Sound quality is excellent).

Hasher (for checksums - I'm not using it yet).

Of course these are not multifunction "killer" apps, but each one focuses on one task and performs it very well. Highly recommended, and worth a mention in any x64 "Utilities" section.

Cheers,
Alan

by rik on 18. April 2010 - 6:43  (47888)

Alan, a Utilities section is something that I had planned to add, thanks for suggesting it though.

If things that used to work fine on your PC no longer do then I suggest you carry out virus and malware scans. I certainly haven't seen any drop in performance following the latest 'Tuesday' update.

Rik

by Anonymous on 18. April 2010 - 10:21  (47893)

Thanks Rik, but I've done full scans with a couple of recommended anti-malware/anti-virus apps. It's taken hours, but nothing was found. The problem is intermittent and sometimes even the specific icons of these apps won't show in the Start Menu. This sort of behaviour is hardly stealthy! I'm guessing something about the WoW64 emulator has changed, causing these legacy 32 bit apps to behave less predictably.

Regards,
Alan

by Anonymous on 19. April 2010 - 16:23  (47970)

i believe the new version of cdburnerxp (2064) is completely X64, now.

by Anonymous on 19. April 2010 - 16:26  (47972)

http://cdburnerxp.se/download
click on the "more download options" link to get the x64 version.

by Anonymous on 20. April 2010 - 7:20  (48017)

* I {Robert D. Jewell} am sad to be the bearer of bad news, but the
* codec(s) is no longer free--'free,' as in donation ware. Because very * few donated, it now has a price attached--although at first an
* introductory price, viz (reply to my e-mail):

"Hi,

I always want to put an ‘e’ here (that’s how the word is spelled in my language, French). I’ve corrected the text, thanks.

Marketing is a mystery and finding the right price spot is art… in particular when most customers arrives with the idea that the product somehow should be free.

That said it’s much better to sell 10’000 at $30 than 50’000 at $6, considering the (inevitable) support issues associated with more orders. I’ve dealt with a dozen “can’t download” emails just this afternoon (we have nothing to do with this as RegNow handles the complete transaction and file hosting, they probably had a server glitch or something but we still get the support emails…)
Thanks,
Axel
________________________________________________________________

" What happened to the free version?
The FastPictureViewer Codec Pack was initially released for 6 full months as "donationware" with free downloads, meaning that users electing to keep the codecs on their computer(s) were supposed to make a donation, of an amount left to their appreciation, in order to support the developement of possible future versions. We had a killer product that everyone would want so web traffic would surge, everyone would love to finally see pictures instead of just blank icons, and most would give a few bucks (or more) to support the effort! At least, that was The Plan...

To make a long story short, it did not work. Web traffic did surge and people did love the codecs, but after 106,661 downloads from our server (and 117,738 hits on the post-install web page), only about 0.2% of the downloaders actually donated anything: one fifth of a percent of all users is a disappointing figure at best."
_____________________________________________________________________

>>"FastPictureViewer Codec Pack 2.1, now only $5.99"

>>Good solution at a most reasonable* price!

>>_________________________________________________________

>>*My guess is that $6.00 will bring in more total revenue than the 30 buck >>price?"

by Anonymous on 20. April 2010 - 9:16  (48023)

I don't know whether this is the correct response but I had 2.80 64 bit version which was working with my w7 pro. After updating to 3.00 it would not defrag unless I uninstalled McAfee AV then reinstall after defrag.So to avoid any conflict I thought it better to remove/uninstall FRD 3.0 & am awaiting their response before I reinstall it. Anyone else having issues with AV for this programme?

by rik on 24. April 2010 - 14:00  (48355)

Alan,

I certainly haven't noticed anything myself but I've been using mostly Windows based Linux server support tools over recent weeks. As you point out the behaviour is hardly steathly but could be caused by a number of things. I think this issue is important so I would encourage you to register and post details in the forum. I suspect others may have hit the same problem and it would be great to identify the cause and an appropriate solution.

I should mention that this issue is not without precedent. After many months of running 32 bit Windows Vista I found that certain 16 bit applications that worked fine under XP would either no longer run or take forever to load. Unfortunately, I never did get to the bottom of the problem.

Rik

by Anonymous on 25. April 2010 - 3:25  (48380)

Thanks for the comments re my problems with old 32 bit apps Rik. I've replaced them with 64 bit equivalents or removed them, and fingers are crossed for my other legacy stuff.

I went looking for 64 bit freeware to render digital TV (I have a Compro DVB-T card) and came up with ProgDVB6:

http://www.progdvb.com/download_progdvb_prerelease.html

At this stage I'd say it's not as polished as Media Center (MC) and the high def video quality is not as good. But it is easier to use, more flexible and offers a comprehensive interface for Internet TV. Also I don't particularly want to get bogged down in the latest flavour of DRM and the WTV file format when I record a show for later. ProgDVB dumps transport stream MPEG2, much more compatible.

In my experience MC doesn't play nice with other decoders and starts bitching that "the tuner isn't available". So it's really either MC or ProgDVB for a given Windows session.

On balance I think ProgDVB is worth considering as an alternative.

Regards,
Alan

Moderators comment:
Only the pre-release is free and is very much "crippleware". Link changed to point to this option.

by Anonymous on 25. April 2010 - 22:51  (48433)

My apologies. The Moderator is correct.

I made sure ProgDVB would do what I needed re digital TV and deferred exploring the rest of its functionality until later. Turns out, there wasn't much functionality remaining to be explored!

Oops,
Alan

by Anonymous on 26. April 2010 - 16:07  (48486)

Thanks for this list. I've started using Q-Dir and like it. However, it does not handle RAR archives as subdirectory yet (although it does handle other archives as a sub). However, it does get updated 2 times a month or so with new features, so this might be coming soon. I am going to try Double Commander when it comes out of beta.

Just a note on your MyDefrag review. You state that you use MyDrefrag's FastOptimize script. However, it has a three included optimize scripts: Optimize Daily, Optimize Weekly, and Optimize Monthly. FastOptimize might have been in an old version.

by rik on 26. April 2010 - 16:49  (48489)

Thanks for the feedback, the point about Q-Dir handling archives, RAR apart, is important and will be given a specific mention as it shows how flexible it is.

Double Commander is a 'work in progress.' The 'beta' label just means that they haven't finished all the functionality yet, the stuff already done is great.

Oops, I've been upgrading MyDefrag but copying across my custom version of FastOptimize. I've been found out, sorry :)

Many thanks again,

Rik

by Anonymous on 26. April 2010 - 18:22  (48493)

Outstanding information on this website! Layout is wonderful and the info overloads the senses in a good way! One thing I noticed was missing Panda Cloud Antivirus!
Its Windows 7 certified.
http://blog.cloudantivirus.com/2010/01/14/windows-7-certification/
And ICSA Labs certified as well.
http://blog.cloudantivirus.com/2010/03/16/icsalabs-certifies-cloud-antiv...
Keep up the good work!

by rik on 26. April 2010 - 18:56  (48498)

Thank you for the kind feedback :)

As far as AV software is concerned, I've stuck with the top two, Avira and Avast! A full review, much more than I can do, is available here.

Rik

by Anonymous on 27. April 2010 - 1:32  (48524)

OK, I gave DC a try. I couldn't figure out how to get tree views. Perhaps it doesn't have any. If not, then it is not my king of file manager. If it has trees, I will give it another try. However, Q-Dir will give up to 4 directories (and each directory can have multiple tabs!). The more I play with Q-Dir, the more I like it. Just wish the docs were more 'Readable'. I guess English is the author's second language, so it takes a little longer to get things from the documentation. Luckily, Q-Dir is pretty easy to just play around with and discover things.

Again, thanks for a great post on all x64 software.

by rik on 27. April 2010 - 5:16  (48539)

Glad yoy like Q-Dir. Can you explain what you mean by tree views?

Thanks,

Rik

by Anonymous on 27. April 2010 - 12:54  (48562)

I'm sure what they meant was what is called "Folders" in the standard Windows (well, XP anyway) Explorer windows. The nested listing of folders on the side of the window.
I'm a fan of "Folders", too. That is why I have been using FreeCommander. I'm not sure if they have a 64 bit version or not.

by Anonymous on 27. April 2010 - 12:55  (48563)

Sorry, not sure if tree is the correct term. A listing of the directory structure going down the side, Q-Dir does this and calls it Tree View. You can set up None (for no tree view), One 4 All 4 (So one tree for all panes) or All Have One (for a tree view for each pane).
Even Windows Explorer has this. In Organize/Layout, and select Navigation Pane. So Q-Dir calls it a Tree and Explorer calls it a Navigation Pane. But, I could not find how to turn this layout on in DC. Perhaps it has and I couldn't find, or perhaps it does not.

Thanks

by rik on 27. April 2010 - 13:12  (48565)

Hmm, I'll have a look at FreeCommander and see.

Rik

by Anonymous on 27. April 2010 - 14:45  (48568)

Very well done! I feel I have a fairly good better understanding of
some of the best quality software available out there now that
I have visited this site.

In regards to antivirus software, I have tried AVG, Avira
Antivir Personal Edition and Avast! Free AntiVirus. And in
my own personal experience, I would say AVG's detection rate
is probably the least effective in detecting malware. And
I would pretty much agree that Avira is probably slightly
better than Avast! in the detection rate department. Without
a doubt I think Avira is a first rate antivrus product.
However, in my own humble opinion, I would rate Avast!
slightly higher than Avira OVERALL because I feel Avast!
clearly is more comprehensive in protection as well as
also having more features . Avast! has some features that
not even some of the paid AVs that I used in the past
had. Moreover, I found Avast! not to be quite as intrusive
as Avira was. Avira would constantly flash "nag screens."
With Avast!, I have hardly noticed it was even running.
This is a minor issue in my mind, however, if all things
are equal or negligible, I would probably be swayed into
opting for the least annoying software in my decision-making
process.

For my own personal use, I have decided to go with Avast!.
However, after reading this report, I may decide to add
Avira as well.

Thanks so much for all the geat insight!

Joe

by rik on 27. April 2010 - 15:13  (48569)

Joe, thanks for the feedback.

Both Avast! and Avira are great applications, either should give you great protection. Currently I use Avast!, but with the (not so) recent Avira 10 I might switch. Depends :)

Rik

by Anonymous on 27. April 2010 - 15:27  (48570)

Hmmm...Rik. You've given me food for thought. I have to look into this
Avira 10, now!

by rik on 27. April 2010 - 16:14  (48575)

Before you change I suggest you check out our review. There's much more stuff there than I can produce.

Rik

by Anonymous on 27. April 2010 - 18:27  (48583)

Thanx, Rik. I think I will :)

by Anonymous on 28. April 2010 - 21:38  (48662)

This article is topnotch! You all do great work for us less knowledgeable users.

Question: I can't seem to be able to find my Network files with Double Commander. Is is possible, and if so how?

by Anonymous on 28. April 2010 - 22:03  (48663)

Does Double Commander allow access to network files? I can't see network drives.

by Anonymous on 29. April 2010 - 0:34  (48670)

Hi Joe,
As a beta tester for Microsoft Security Essentials I can tell you, you will have virtually no false positive w/ MSE and no nag screens or pop ups wanting you to buy it b/c it's free! Not to mention the fact that the download is less than 13mb. I'm excited to say that it protects @ the binary level as well and the UI is less complex than both Avira and Avast!. The editors have so smartly sandwiched MSE between Avira and Avast on this website and I applaud them for that. Security Essentials is something of an enigma in the AV world. It's flying under the radar but slowly amassing a large following. Check out the five star reviews for this 5 star gem!
http://download.cnet.com/Microsoft-Security-Essentials/3000-2239_4-10969...
Happy trails and computing!

by Anonymous on 29. April 2010 - 0:52  (48673)

I wouldn't use Avira. Google "Avira screenshots" and you'll see what I mean.
The user interface is way more complex than Microsoft Security Essentials and sometimes when it's downloading updates from their server it takes forever.

by rik on 29. April 2010 - 4:54  (48678)

Many thanks for the kind feedback.

The network drive functionality is 'under development' and having written code like that myself I doubt it will be long in coming. I'll monitor progress on this and report back as soon as it is available. I'll also update the article to indicate that this is an issue.

Thanks again,

Rik

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