Best Free Windows 64-bit Software (Viewed as one huge page)

 

Introduction

Best Free Windows 64-bit SoftwareHere are the top freeware picks for 64-bit Windows in their various categories. This list will continue to grow as we add new categories and new products. Go to the page index for the category you are interested in or read more about 64-bit Windows by following the links in the related articles. Where a product has a review in another category I will usually provide an excerpt from that review. Other comments will usually relate to 64-bit compatibility and operation.

The primary goal of this article is to find the best native 64-bit applications ( ) in each category, whereas the secondary focus is to identify 32-bit applications that are compatible with 64-bit Windows ( ). These 32-bit applications will usually run slower (due to emulation of the 32-bit environment) but are either the best in their class or have features that will be particularly useful to many 64-bit Windows users.

Although we do mention Windows XP Pro 64, all testing has been under 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, 7 and 8.

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Summary

This list of the best software for 64-bit Windows has 48 categories with 91 products consisting of 51 native 64-bit applications and 40 compatible 32-bit applications. To read brief descriptions of the items, click a page number.

 

What's New: Currently testing applications on Windows 8. Items added or updated:
Web Browser: NewOpera , NewChrome
Email Client: NewEarlybird

 
 

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Tags

Freeware for 64-bit Windows 7, Freeware for 64-bit Windows Vista, 64-bit Windows freeware, Freeware for 64-bit Windows, 64-bit freeware

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Windows-Desktop-64bit-82-58.png 2. Best Free Windows 64-bit Home & Office
 

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Office Suite

At present there is no recommended 64-bit Office Suite but there are three options you might consider. All are applications based on Open Office which does not appear to be actively developed at present.

SSuite Office - Excalibur Release

"The real gem of SSuite – Excalibur is the small size and speed of the program. … Sadly for all the greats of SSuite – Excalibur there are many faults. Anyone that is interested in using a word processor should turn away as the word processor … only allows for basic formatting and ONLY supports .rtf format. … In the end with a very old look to it, SSuite – Excalibur will be suitable for people interested in mainly using a spreadsheet editor that is both fast and not distracting, but sadly nothing else." (Best Free Office Suite)

LibreOffice

LibreOffice is "the prime choice when it comes to freeware office suites. The writer is both easy to use and very productive, offering all the tools the average user will ever need, as well as plenty of tools for more advanced writers. The spreadsheet editor and the writer, as one could guess, are very easy to understand. The only downsides to LibreOffice is that a few of the more basic options can be hard to find for users that are not that advanced and are looking for a good alternative to Microsoft Office (for instance, double spacing)." (Best Free Office Suite)

IBM Lotus Symphony

IBM Lotus Symphony will not install on 64-bit systems that use AMD processors. This cuts out up to a quarter of those with 64-bit systems.

IBM Lotus Symphony "supports a tabbed workspace. … it offers a very great boost in productivity while not cluttering up your task bar. However IBM Lotus Symphony is a very complicated office suite, many of the most simple of jobs done in other office suites are very complicated to perform." (Best Free Office Suite)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Word Processor

These word processors fit in the space between WordPad, the basic word processor provided with Windows, and full-featured word processors like Microsoft Word which they are compatible with in various ways: similar menus, similar toolbars, Word file compatibility, etc.

If you don't write long documents such as "novels, reports, and documentation or tutorials" then you should find a good solution here. They all have tabbed interface, font and paragraph formatting, headers and footers, tables, equations, pictures, spell check, and hyperlinks. Have a look at the Quick Selection Guide and Best Free Word Processorfor further information.

Jarte

Jarte is rated best in this class (Best Free Word Processor) but, as a long-time Microsoft Word user, I prefer AbiWord. One reason is that it is the only product in this category with a unique look which many find attractive. It is compact, capable and rather clever with links to useful web sites and some integration with related products like font managers and PDF printers.

PolyEdit Lite

PolyEdit Lite is the lightest option here and also functions as a programming editor.

AbiWord

AbiWord "is easy to adapt to, especially since the interface is similar to that found in Microsoft Word and WordPerfect." It is the most extensible of these products and comes with several add-on options at install.

The latest stable release AbiWord 2.8.6 has compatibility problems in Windows 64-bit particularly with all the install options selected. The fully 64-bit compatible version is currently 2.9.2 beta so it may still have some bugs.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Non-Adobe PDF Reader

PDF-XChange Viewer

Tracker Software Products have really impressed me with PDF-XChange Viewer. The free version loses some features from the PRO product but these are page-level editing and format conversion so it doesn't limit viewing at all. It is highly customisable in many areas including the toolbars and performance tuning (e.g. memory usage).

"It allows PDF annotation and thankfully leaves the annotated copy free of validation marks. It also allows you to fill and save Adobe PDF forms, extract text and images, magnify text and export PDF pages or documents to BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG formats and has excellent image/text clarity." (Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit PDF Writer

The options are simple once I omitted products that create larger PDF files or do not explicitly provide 64-bit support.

Bullzip PDF Printer

BullZip PDF Printer is a very strong program that has been time proven to be a top performer." Bullzip supports encryption, passwords, watermarks, output quality, and many other features. "However files created  by Bullzip PDF Printer may not be searchable. While it created a searchable pdf from word processing programs it did not from other programs like Excel." (Best Free PDF Writer)

BullZip PDF Printer converts PDF formats using Ghostscript which must be installed as well.

NitroPDF Reader

NitroPDF Reader is a reader and writer. It is not a PDF printer so it is a good alternative for those who like to work with PDF files directly. Although it is a simple product I liked it very much except that it takes up a lot of diskspace.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit PDF Tools

There is no 64-bit recommendation in this category.

PDFill PDF Tools

"PDFill PDF Tools comes bundled with PDFill PDF Editor, which is not free. However, you can run PDFill PDF Tools separately after installation. The free software part of the package does not support functions such as converting PDF to text, making annotations, etc. But those features are all available in" other products. (Best Free PDF Tools)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Electronic Book Reader

Reader for PC

With Sony Reader for PC you can "shop eBook titles including New York Times Bestsellers, search inside your collection of eBooks and can even borrow books from your library but a library card is required. It has a two-page layout" and will read PDF files because it is built on Adobe Reader for Mobile. "While it has all the polish and gloss of a Sony product it lacks some key features like a full screen interface." (Best Free Electronic Book Reader)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Personal Finance

Money Manager Ex

"Money Manager Ex is an excellent full-featured budget program that enables users to create multiple accounts, transactions, categories, and reports. The program is fairly easy to use, with a medium-level learning curve, and has an extensive help file to assist users on how to navigate the various features and options.… In general, it is a good program for novices and experts, but is sorely lacking in real-time automatic fiscal tracking and download capabilities. Also, it does not support password encryption" (Best Free Personal Finance Software)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Personal Information Manager (PIM)

You put your life into a PIM so the absence of a native 64-bit PIM will frustrate many. These 32-bit applications will have to do in the interim. I found them useful but none of them exceptional. Evolution was another option, an Outlook replacement ported from Linux, but it crashed under Windows 7 64-bit.

EssentialPIM

EssentialPIM Free is comprehensive PIM that is relatively light on resources. "It also does many of the same things as Outlook and can import your Outlook data and/or Outlook Express contacts as well." (Best Free Personal Information Manager Software)

Pimero-Free

Pimero-Free "is a modestly crippled version of an actively-maintained commercial application. … The commercial version offers very nice data export, but there is no way to export your data from the free version. You cannot create repeating tasks either if that's important to you" (Best Free Personal Information Manager Software). It is more complex to install. It installs the Firebird database, gave me more decisions to make for my firewall, and requires you to setup a user account with password but that is a good feature for the security of your data.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Reminder and To-Do List

Rainlendar Lite

Rainlendar Lite "is not only a reminder program but a very capable 'iCal compatible' desktop calendar, though the calendar feature can be turned off. Used as a reminder and 'to do' program, it's very feature rich with a really snazzy interface employing things like variable windows transparency, impressive mouse-over effects, hotkeys, and easy skinning. It also has the ability to synchronize events between clients, as well as Outlook appointment integration (Pro version)." (Best Free Reminder and To-Do Program)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Notes Organizer

Products are being tested and will be listed soon.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Outliner

Products are being tested and will be listed soon.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Font Manager and Viewer

FontRunner

Font Runner by Crux Technologies "tries to simplify the interface, has a preview list rather than selecting one font at a time, displays Unicode, has user-defined group by favorite folders or projects, and allows drag'n'drop of files and folders even from Windows Explorer.  You can search by font name, by similarity to the selected font, or for characters in other fonts that match the selected character. The latter is useful for finding Unicode fonts with similar character blocks. A few features initially frustrated me but aren't big problems. For example, you have to specify the default folder for Font Runner to display when it opens - most programs default to the system font folder. Also, Font Runner does not allow you to select the Unicode character block to view." (Best Free Font Manager)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Calculator

SpeedCrunch

"SpeedCrunch has a clean and simple user interface. … SpeedCrunch keeps a history of calculations entered with the result of the calculation kept underneath. A math book is available through the options of SpeedCrunch which I think is a great feature. The math book gives useful information such as how to get the volume of a cube." (Best Free Calculator)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Unit and Currency Converter

Convert

"Convert comes with a user-friendly and intuitive interface. It offers pre-defined 21 categories of units [but no currency conversion] and one custom unit which can be defined by users. The 21 categories include the most popular units of distance, area, volume, volume-dry, mass, density, temperature, time, speed, power, pressure, energy and many others. To convert a unit into another, just click on a category tab you need, select the input unit and output unit, Convert will show you the conversion result in the output box as you type. The category tab is customizable. For some conversions that you use the most, you can set them to the front of the tab order, and for some conversions that you may never use, you can hide them to simplify the unit listings." (Best Free Unit and Currency Conversion Program)

 

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Windows-Image-64bit-82-58.png 3. Best Free Windows 64-bit Image Tools
 

 

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Image Editor

Paint.NET

"Paint.NET makes a very good mid-level photo retouching choice.  It has a nice set of photo correction tools including curves, and levels.  It has a very nice implementation of layers complete with blending modes, and adjustable opacity/transparency levels.  It has a fairly full pallet of selection, painting, and shape drawing tools. It is completed with a selection of filters for adding special effects to your images.  All in all, it offers a lot for a free image retouching software. … In addition to the products built in features there are a huge number of user contributed plugins that add further capabilities. … Paint.NET isn't too resource intensive and during testing I didn't notice slow downs at any point." (Best Free Digital Image Editor)

GIMP

"GIMP is currently the only freeware package I am aware of that can be called an advanced image editor.  It has a steeper learning curve than the previously reviewed editors, but it is feature rich.  It's multi-windowed interface makes it a little unusual for a windows program. If you are inexperienced at using image editing programs GIMP will likely be too overwhelming to start learning on, so I would suggest beginning with one of the basic, or mid-level editors." (Best Free Digital Image Editor)

The 64-bit version I have used is labelled unstable but I have had no problems so far. There is at least one other 64-bit version which I will review at a later date. Both versions are likely to be faster than 32-bit GIMP particularly when working with large images.

Lightbox Image Editor

Lightbox Image Editor is a basic editor that "has an attractive user interface that is simple and straight forward, and offers intuitive slide-bar adjustments for your images.  It also has split screen views to help you compare your images before and after the corrections have been made.  It includes simple tools to correct red-eye, sharpen, crop, re-size, add borders, and print." (Best Free Digital Image Editor)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Image Viewer

Zoner Photo Studio

Zoner Photo Studio "appears very professional and can even seem a bit daunting with all those menus, tabs and icons, but it's very intuitive and tooltips show up for everything. Comprehensive help and links to video tutorials are provided as well. It's organized into a manager (a thumbnail view with a folder tree and general information), a fullscreen viewer and an editor, which is quite stripped down compared to the paid version but still very functional. … the editor has a variety of tools like a handy clone stamp, a funny morph mesh and great effects that can be applied on selected areas. You can also organize into albums, geotag, build calendars, stitch panoramas, make 3D pictures and a lot of other things. Moreover, it reads many formats, including RAW, and writes to the ten most commonly used." (Best Free Digital Image Viewer)

XnView

XnView is "probably the most versatile of all viewers because it can read nearly 400 types of graphic files and convert any of these to more than 50 formats. It displays images very quickly and these may be viewed in full screen, as slideshows or as thumbnails. It's quite capable at processing images, too; you can rotate, crop, resize, adjust brightness and color, apply filters or effects, create a web page and much more. … A heavyweight champion. (Best Free Digital Image Viewer).

 

Best Free High Dynamic Range (HDR) Editor

Picturenaut

Picturenaut "provides (all automatically) image alignment, exposure correction, color balancing, noise level compensation, and derivation of the camera curve from the source images. It supports most formats … As a modular piece of software, its most important functions can all be accessed from a command line. The downside is that you cannot alter the alignment of the image manually, but I have done tests on auto alignments and Picturenaut came out the best.  If you are looking for straightforward images without excessive tone mapping this has to be your top software." (Best Free High Dynamic Range (HDR) Editor)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Digital Image Stitcher

Microsoft Image Composite Editor

Microsoft ICE has "four modes of camera motion to stitch your sequence of images, three fixed and one that you can adjust the distortion and that the 'Rotation motion'. When in this mode just click the 3D icon on the top taskbar, where you can tilt, zoom in and out. When you are happy with your construction then you can leave the cropping to another imaging software or auto crop. The finished panoramic image is exported into JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, HD Photo image, Adobe Photoshop, HD View Tileset and Deep Zoom Tileset." (Best Free Personal Digital Image Stitcher.)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Vector Graphics Editor

Inkscape

Inkscape "uses W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Supported SVG features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping. Inkscape also supports Creative Commons meta-data, node editing, layers, complex path operations, bitmap tracing, text-on-path, flowed text, direct XML editing, and more. It imports formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and others and exports PNG as well as multiple vector-based formats."

Inkscape "doesn't yet support SVG filter effects, animation, and SVG fonts. It is, however, totally usable. That usability is enhanced by an excellent user interface and the impressive set of tutorials" (Best Free Vector Graphics Editor)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Flow Charter and Diagrammer

yEd Graphic Editor

yWorks develops Web-centric applications such as yEd Graphic Editor which is a Java Swing application. It runs as a native 64-bit application if you have the 64-bit Java Runtime Environment (JRE). I recommend yEd for its powerful automation features which are well presented in yWork's Flash video "yEd in 90 seconds". If you watched the video, then you've seen yEd's magical ability to import Excel data and automatically generate a diagram. It can use any of several layout types to arrange a complex flow chart or network diagram. If you need this then you won't be so concerned that other products are easier to use for basic editing and basic diagrams.

However, yEd is not as powerful as it appears in the video. All the example diagrams are not convoluted so they were able to be arranged flat without overlapping lines, something that never happens with my diagrams. If you are a serious diagrammer then you will also want to augment yEd's limited range of node types. yEd has symbols for Entity Relationship Models (ERM), Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), Unified Modeling Language (UML) and the good old flow charts (but without sort, merge, logical AND and OR). Symbol sets are also provided for swim lanes and grouping. You can create custom symbols by importing bit-maps (PNG, JPG), vector graphics (SVG) and some Visio Shapes but within yEd they have few if any customizations. For example, they usually won't be able to change colour. Development is continuing so I expect to see future improvements in this area.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Image Optimizer

RIOT

RIOT (Radical Image Optimization Tool) is simple to use. It makes your images smaller in size by resizing or compressing.This is a useful feature for optimizing web images but it just as useful for images included in other documents. RIOT uses a dual pane view to show the original and the optimized image. You can also toggle the images in either pane (in-place compare) so you can more easily compare the changes.

The steps are simple. Open an image file which can be bitmap files including Adobe Photoshop PSD files, popular HDR formats and RAW camera images. RIOT automatically reduces the file size. You then select  the output file type (JPEG, GIF, PNG), adjust the image, and set your options. You can also select a filesize for RIOT to aim for. Finally, save the image.

 

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Windows-Multimedia-64bit-82-58.png 4. Best Free Windows 64-bit Multimedia
 

 

Multimedia applications are generally popular and interesting so it is no surprise that there are several excellent 64-bit products.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Media Player

PotPlayer

Daum PotPlayer is "feature packed, easy to use and provides awesome video and audio quality. Some may call it KMPlayerRedux with more stability and versatility. … PotPlayer truly stands out for supporting a wide variety of formats and having extensive configuration settings. It includes a long list of built-in audio and video codecs that enable you to play almost any media format you can dream about. PotPlayer has a simple and sleek interface though not mind-blowing and has high quality playback. The player is light on system resources and has a very fast startup." (Best Free Media Player)

Media Player Classic - Home Cinema

MPC-HC, like its predecessor, Media Player Classic, "is an incredibly small program but has a vast feature set." … Under the hood, this program packs a lot of features, including codecs for viewing DVD discs, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG 4 and x.264 movie files, MP3 and Ogg files. It can also use the QuickTime and the RealPlayer architectures (if installed on the computer) to play their native files. To further extend its functionality while avoiding the installation of RealPlayer, WinAmp and Quicktime, you will have to download some codec packs.… MPC Home Cinema requires no installation on your PC. This means that it can be run from your USB flash drive as well as your hard drive. (Best Free Media Player)

iTunes

For those who use Apple devices, iTunes has a 64-bit version.

"iTunes has become more prevalent on many PCs due to the almost universal reach of the iPod, but it also uses a lot of resources and is processor intensive." (Best Free Media Player, It also gets a dismissive mention in Best Free Music Player)  I am less restrained when I say iTunes is a hog and a dog. Much of that bloat seems to arise from Apple's distrust of Windows which showed in the need to bring almost everything with iTunes except the kitchen sink.

On the positive side, if you are going to run 'bloatware' then you're much better off doing it on a 64-bit system. I happily admit to being a long-time user of iTunes. All my children use it and it works very well with the media player on my non-Apple cell phone. Over several years of use I've had no problems with it and I'm not exasperated by any of its much-maligned issues (e.g. I use Autoruns to stop the unneeded applications). This new version has improved slightly but you won't see it in the interface. First, it is 64-bit. Second, I no longer need QuickTime. Third, for the 32-bit version, the download and footprint are noticeably smaller.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Media Centre

XBMC

"Maintaining your media library is simple joy with XBMC. Point to a folder containing your files, indicate what type of files there are (Movies, TV Shows, etc.) and XBMC does the rest. It scans all subfolders and files and downloads all relevant information (text, thumbnails, sounds, etc) from the Internet." On the other hand, it has some idiosyncracies. "Most annoying for me still is that you cannot freely pick a position in your media file by clicking on the progress bar while it is playing. Instead you have to type in a time position via the keyboard. Don't ask me why the simplest media player can do that but most of the Media Center Software cannot." (Best Free Media Centre)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Audio Editor

Audacity

"As far as single track editing goes, there is very little that cannot be achieved with Audacity, and achieved easily and cleanly. As far as physical drive space goes, Audicity is a small installation, but an immensely powerful one. Really though, track editing is just the tip of the iceberg with this application: it's functionality for editing is balanced with it's equally powerful functionality for recording, and also applying effects and modifications to existing audio tracks." (Best Free Audio Editing Software)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Video Editor

Avidemux

"Avidemux is a free open-source program designed for multi-purpose video editing and processing … Avidemux lets you do just about everything under the sun. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs." Its main weakness may well be its dated interface. (Best Free Video Editor)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Music Creator

LMMS

"LMMS is a free open source MIDI sequencer/composer for Windows and Linux. … I initially found it a little bewildering … but it's worth taking the time because the rewards are great. … As a stand alone application, one would be hard pressed to find a more comprehensively full featured and versatile free music creator than this. There are so many instruments and effects to choose from … YOU NEED TO TRY THIS SOFTWARE!" (Best Free Music Creation Software)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit CD and DVD Burner

InfraRecorder

Christian Kindahl's InfraRecorder is a GUI for CDRTools. It "supports all of the common features that a good burning application should have, and it works with all types of CDs and DVDs including dual layer discs" but "It does not support Blu-Ray discs or HD-DVDs." "It even includes full command line support like CDBurnerXP. With InfraRecorder, you can burn and create images with support for bootable discs, author rewritable discs, and create audio CDs and video DVDs. The interface is clean and simple without a lot of extras to make things confused." (Best Free CD-DVD Burner)

InfraRecorder does not have some advanced options.and is not as helpful as ImgBurn: it does not give much assistance, important information is in the manual, dialogs and warnings are often cryptic, and the interface is inconsistent. For example, sometimes the instruction to insert a particular disk is in its own pop-up window but other times it will be in the title of the current one.

If you read other users' comments you will see that they either love it because it works flawlessly or hate it because it converts their disks into coasters. It seems likely that CDRTools has problems working with some burners which would explain why I had consistent problems on my test system . Even so, I still recommend that you try it out because it is native 64-bit and will probably work for you.

Imgburn

Imgburn "is the most powerful free burning, as no other software comes close to its advanced features and options." However, "ImgBurn's advanced features  may confuse you if you just want to do a basic burn. The welcome menu provides quick access to some common tasks, but other basic features such as erasing a re-writable disc are not immediately visible." Caution: ImgBurn is now bundled with the OpenCandywrapped installer. (Best Free CD-DVD Burner)

Ashampoo Burning Studio

Ashampoo Burning Studio "is still simple and intuitive to use. For power, simplicity and file backup. … If you want a program that focuses on burning discs quickly and easily with quality and a minimum fuss then this could be the program may well suit your needs." (Best Free CD-DVD Burning Software)

I evaluated the free version but you can also install a much later version for a time-limited (30/40 day) trial. I recommend you do two things when installing Ashampoo Burning Studio. First, select "Custom installation" so you can uncheck the Ashampoo toolbar and search. Second, do not accept the upgrade offer when you run Ashampoo Burning Studio for the first time. The upgrade is for a time-limited trial of the latest version which has a large download of more than 300 MB. If you decide to uninstall it you may have to remove the free version also.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit CD and DVD Emulator

MagicDisc

"MagicDisc, also known as MagicISO Virtual CD/DVD-ROM … allows you to run many types of CD/DVD images without burning them onto CDs or DVDs. It also allows you to create CD/DVD images from CDs/DVDs and save them into various formats including ISO, BIN/CUE, NRG, UIF.This program with a simple interface supports up to 15 virtual disk drives. Other features are available such as compress ISO, NRG, CUE, MDS and CCD formats into UIF format, or decompress UIF format into ISO format. The feature for burning images to disks is not supported."  (Best Free CD-DVD Emulation Software)

Gizmo-Drive

Gizmo-Drive is rated best in its class, Best Free CD-DVD Emulation Software.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit CD and DVD Ripper

HandBrake

HandBrake is rated best of class as a DVD Ripper. It "has a relatively small file size for all the features that it offers. Despite the slow speeds it transcodes … the transcoded video is surprisingly good quality for the amount of time it takes to rip. However, if you have a graphics driver installed that supports Open GL, it will take a rather small fraction of time to transcode the content. Handbrake produces an MPEG-4 file which is compatible with a wide range of media players. Note that you’ll need to have the right codecs installed for the type of file you wish to convert". For many of us the most useful feature is the "preconfigured profiles for Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple TV. It also provides numerous video and audio parameter settings for advanced users to alter the file size and video quality accordingly." (Best Free DVD Ripper)

Handbrake's main deficiency is that it does not convert copy-protected DVDs. So it can rip some but not all DVDs.

 

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Windows-Disk-64bit-82-58.png 5. Best Free Windows 64-bit Disk and File Tools
 

 

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Disk Defragmenter

The applications recommended in this category use the Windows API (Application Programming Interface) for defragmentation. This means that even if the program crashes Windows should be able to repair or recover from any problems.

If you utilize Windows built-in ReadyBoost and install a third-party defragmenter then don't be tempted to disable the disk defragmenter built into Windows Vista and 7. If you do, you will greatly reduce the effectiveness of ReadyBoost, the mechanism that monitors files accessed during the last 5 boots and creates a boot plan to reduce startup time. This boot plan is passed to the Windows disk defragmenter to allow the placement of files used during the boot process to be optimized.

Defraggler

Piriform's Defraggler, like all Piriform products, has a nice clean interface with easy-to-understand features. It "performs a very fast “quick defragmentation” with decent file reorganization but if you perform a complete defrag process, which takes longer, you obtain results that are worthwhile" although not highly optimized like MyDefrag (see below). "Defraggler also supports scheduling, low priority and boot defrag" but does not have a flexible scripting language. (Best Free Disk De-fragmenter)

MyDefrag

MyDefrag is the advanced power option and is the top pick in Best Free Disk De-fragmenter. It is novel in two ways: it uses a defragmentation and file placement engine, JKDefrag; and all activities are carried out by scripts. MyDefrag is effectively the graphical user interface through which you run the scripts.

MyDefrag comes with standard scripts so select the option (including "fast defrag" and "optimize daily") that best suits you. The output from the scripts themselves is unimpressive as it is largely unchanged from JKDefrag. Compared with other products, it uses a more advanced algorithm to optimize the placement of files on the disk. It also has a simple scheduler and scripts can also be run from Windows or other programs,

Note that MyDefrag requires administrator privilege and, if running from the Task Scheduler under Windows Vista or 7 then it is recommended that the SYSTEM account is used.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit File Manager

I've listed these in order of ease of use if you are moving from Windows Explorer.

Q-Dir

Q-Dir is simple and easy to use because it follows Windows Explorer conventions but with up to four panes, each of which can have multiple tabs and tree views. Full drag-and-drop is implemented making it more productive than Explorer. It supports a wide variety of functions and customisations although you really need to refer to the on-line FAQsto get the most out of it. It has a small footprint, and is not resource intensive but "lacks some of the more advanced features available in other offerings in this category. The configuration is mostly limited to window arrangement. The toolbars are appropriately compact, but cannot be customized." (Best Free File Manager)

MultiCommander

MultiCommander by Mathias Svensson is a powerful dual-pane file manager with tree views but without tabs. MultiCommander has many features and supports plug-ins to provide even more. But it also tries to simplify the transition from Windows Explorer by providing "Quick Look'N'Feel Setup" where you can choose to retain Explorer's shortcuts and mousekeys. Just be aware that it doesn't work 100% so one of my favoured techniques didn't work.

Double Commander

Double Commander is a long-standing beta project based on the shareware Total Commander which means it also supports Total Commander plug-insto provide a bewildering array of additional functionality. Out of the box it is a powerful dual-pane file manager with tabs and many other built-in functions and options. The interface was is not very attractive but it is, of course, customizable. I had no significant problem with it even though it is called a beta version.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Folder Synchronizer

FreeFileSync

FreeFileSync has a "very clear and informative interface. The preview is very easy to understand, and file collisions and deletions are more readily recognizable than many other sync programs  If you require a sync program that can copy files that are in use or locked, FreeFileSync has you covered there too!  Unfortunately it only has very basic filters, no auto sync feature, and no direct support for FTP.  My final complaint would be that its help file is a little sparse. Those few flaws aside, I found it to be well designed and easy to use." (Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility.) Caution! Installer is bundled with OpenCandy.

SyncToy

Microsoft SyncToy is a versatile utility that will satisfy all but the most demanding of users. It also runs very quickly despite being based on the .NET framework. The only major things it lacks are the ability to select files from a folder via a standard tree view, direct support for ftp, and a portable version.

Operations are carried out on local and/or remote pre-defined folder pairs. Remote folders can be specified by drive letter or UNC name. You define and name these pairs, files can be included or excluded based on wildcards and/or file attributes, and then when you want to perform a task, you recall one of these pairs and carry out the operation. Syncing can be in either direction and covers all options from complete sync to updating newer files only. SyncToy can also keep track of files you rename and rename those in the sync destination. Overwritten files in the destination can be saved in the recycle bin, in case you need the older version. SyncToy also allows you to preview a sync, that is, view what would happen if the sync operation was executed. This ensures the operation will do exactly what you want before you use it. In addition to the easy to use GUI, SyncToy can also be run from the command line to sync a chosen folder pair or, all folder pairs.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Disk Cleaner

CCleaner

CCleaner is "a product that started off as pretty basic but has continued to improve to the point where it is now very close to the best in its class regardless of price. It's very effective in freeing up disk space by removing unused and temporary files, cookies, Recycle bin entries, Windows hot-fix files, history and cache files in many applications such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari and hundreds of others." (Best Free File Cleaner Utility)

CCleaner is the main tool I recommend to Windows users. Cleaning your disk or system can be scary if you don't know what you're doing. CCleaner helps because it is simple to use, has many options, is relatively conservative in its cleaning, is updated many times each year, and allows you to do much more than cleaning unnecessary files. It also cleans registry entries, wipe disks, manages startup applications, and uninstalls software.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Program Uninstaller

This is one of the categories where a 32-bit application that is 64-bit compatible is unlikely to be satisfactory.  Unless you change your registry settings, a 32-bit application cannot see the 64-bit registry. For this reason I'm only reviewing 64-bit applications. Unfortunately, although the paid version of Best Free Program UninstallerRevo Uninstaller is a native 64-bit application the 64-bit features are not available in the free version.

Comodo Programs Manager

Comodo Programs Manager (CPM) is a simple to use uninstaller which is largely a replacement for Windows Uninstaller. You can uninstall either programs, drivers and services, Windows features, or Windows updates. Even incomplete installs or uninstalls can be removed as CPM accesses a database of products to determine the settings for programs that need to be uninstalled.

If you choose to opt into their Application Contribute Programme then CPM will send Comodo information about programs you install. If you don't opt into the programme then you will not be provided with access to Comodo's database information and you won't see the files and registry keys installed. If you work with the programme then you might be annoyed by the background process to update CPM's database Comodo - it runs far too often in the background and cannot be scheduled.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Data Recovery and File Undelete

Recuva

Piriform Recuva is very easy to use, has a simple user interface, and works quickly. "However, it only works great on straight forward recovery. I found that after formatting the disk deep scan could only locate and recover 19 files out of 106."  (Free Data Recovery and File Un-delete Utility)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Secure File Eraser

Eraser

"Eraser allows you to easily add tasks to securely erase selected files and folders, unused disk space (aka free space), cluster tips (aka slack space), and the recycling bin. Eraser can overwrite the data area with your choice of a variety of random data patterns (14 default patterns and a custom pattern creator). It comes with a very detailed built-in help file. And the forum seems quite responsive to questions and problems. It works with any drive (including IDE, SCSI, and RAID), and with FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS partitions. … In the negative, it was fairly heavy in memory use." (Best Free Secure Erase Utility)

CCleaner

"CCleaner is a unique and useful file shredder because it cleans a number of places where data can secretly lurk. It will help you scrub data left behind by web browsers and other applications (windows explorer, system temporary files, and excess files created by applications/utilities/windows). These are difficult to find and erase on your own, so CCleaner has advantages over other file shredders." I suggest that you read further in Best Free Secure Erase Utilityif you want to know how to get CCleaner to wipe various objects.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit File ZIP and Archive

7-Zip

"7-Zip supports 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP, BZIP2, Z, TAR, CPIO, RPM, and DEB. Even though it handles fewer archive types than some other programs, it is a fantastic program that will fulfill 99% of all your file archiving needs." (Best Free File Archiver/Zip Utility))

PeaZip

PeaZip is an open-source product "which is easy to use and very versatile. It is capable of extracting from archive types including ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, and UDF." (Best Free File Archiver/Zip Utility)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit System Information

Personally, I prefer PC Wizard for hardware configuration and SIW for software configuration..

SIW

Gabriel Topala's SIW is portable software that "displays detailed specs for motherboard, BIOS, CPU, devices, memory, video, disk drives, ports, printers, operating system, installed programs, processes, services, serial numbers (CD keys), users, open files, system uptime, network, network shares, as well as real-time monitors for CPU, memory, page file usage and network traffic. It also displays currently active network connections, passwords hidden behind asterisks, installed codecs, and more." (Best Free System Information Utility)

ADVISORY: SIW installs with OpenCandy, a controversial advertising program.

PC WIzard

CPUID's PC WIzard "is a system information utility that is strong in workstation description and benchmarking. It's a well implemented program with a nice multi-panel display with different analysis functions easily selectable using sidebar buttons. Overall it provides a little less system information that SIW but the benchmarking feature makes up for it. Benchmarks can be run on individual parameters such as processor performance, memory and cache speed, video performance and hard drive speed or can be run be for all functions with the single press of a button. In the latter case an overall numeric system performance index is also calculated. Overall PC Wizard is an impressive system utility well suited to those who want to get a better understanding of their PC's configuration and performance. "(Best Free System Information Utility)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Registry Tools

The Best-Free Registry Cleaner category is to be updated soon so I expect more products to be recommended.

The previous editor explains why you need to be careful with Registry Tools:

"It's absolutely essential that you backup your registry before using a registry cleaner. For most users the easiest way to do this is to create a system checkpoint.  An even better way is to use a drive-imaging program to create a snapshot of Windows, which you can use for system recovery if needed. As an added layer of protection, that may actually be more effective than System Restore, consider using the excellent ERUNT utility.

This ever-present risk of problems is why the "best" registry cleaner is the one that causes the fewest problems, rather than the one that finds the greatest number of registry errors.

Thus it is evident, a registry cleaner is - if at all - a tool reserved for the experienced user. The inexperienced may be assured that since the introduction of Windows XP, registry cleaning is no longer a crucial issue for the stability, security and performance of your system. Don't mess around with it!"

I add the following:

You are almost always better off using a disk cleaner to improve the performance of your system.

Another reason why registry cleaning is best reserved for proficient users, the documentation for these programs does not provide enough information about the specific issues they find or the impacts of 'fixing' them.

I will not recommend a registry cleaner that doesn't backup and restore either the entire registry or the changed entries.

32-bit applications are unlikely to be completely satisfactory for 64-bit Windows because they do not have access to the 64-bit portions of the registry.

REGISTRY CLEANER

CCleaner

CCleaner provides a quick and simple registry cleaner that is very conservative but accesses the 64-bit sections of the registry.

Wise Registry Cleaner

Wises Registry Cleaner is very comprehensive but, as expected, did not find the 64-bit application issues that CCleaner did. It is easy to scan and remove issues. Firstly, it allows you to backup the Registry before you start and there is also a restore option.  Secondly, by default, it doesn't check Class Security Identifiers (CLSIDs) or other areas where most Registry tricks are played, although these can be included if required. Finally it divides redundant/invalid entries into two groups: 1) a green tick for those you can remove safely; and 2) an orange exclamation mark for the rest which require closer examination before removing.

REGISTRY DEFRAGMENTER

Adding and removing entries from the Registry means that the registry files can become fragmented and the databases they contain become less efficient to use. You can run a registry defragmenter to remove these problems.

Free Registry Defrag

The previous editor recommended this product but it does not include a registry backup option so exercise caution and before using it either use another registry tool to backup or create a system restore point.  "Free Registry Defrag is a fast, reliable and free tool which is capable of compacting and defragmenting the registry and from version 2.4 onwards includes both 32 and 64-bit versions." 

REGISTRY EDITOR

Windows has a registry editor called Regedit but you will be much better off with a product from this category. Again, I advise that you need to know what you are doing which includes creating a Restore Point before you start.

Registrar Registry Manager Lite

"To start with, it works reliably - a great feature for any registry editor. The user interface is simple, the functionality is excellent, and it has a really fast search." (Best Free Registry Editor)

"If you ever need to use a registry editor this is definitely the tool to use." "It includes a host of advanced features such as registry backup, multi-level undo, a lightning fast search, plus lots of information about what particular registry entries actually mean." (previous editor)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit PC Tune-up

There are several types of products that you can use to tune-up and tweak your Windows 64-bit PC. Many tools in this category are covered in Best Free Vista Tweakswhich includes details of compatibility with Vista 64. With the exception of Vista Logon Studio all the applications that work under Vista 64 will also work under Windows 7. An alternative to Vista Logon Studio for Windows 7 users is given below.

SysInternals Suite

SysInternals is now part of Microsoft and the tools remain free and are regularly updated. Most work correctly under Windows 7 and Vista 64. In particular, the three most widely used tools extract and run 64-bit code: Process Explorer, Process Monitor and Autoruns.

At present, Autologon doesn't work, but a suitable alternative can be found here.

Glary Utilities

Some sixteen different utilities are included, covering virtually every aspect of PC maintenance. Although none of the individual utilities can compare to standalone competition, you do have the advantage of having everything in one place.

As this is a 32-bit program, you will notice that one or two of the modules are not fully working, the Uninstall Manager, for example, doesn't recognise 64-bit applications, and therefore cannot uninstall them.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Built-in System Tools

Resource Monitor

Resource Monitor provides access to a host of information about what is using your precious system resources. Resource usage information is available for the CPU(s), memory, disk and network. The level of detail that can be viewed means Resource Monitor is more closely related to the Process Explorer/Process Monitor tools from SysInternals than it is Task Manager. Unlike Process Explorer/Process Monitor, you don't have to be overwhelmed by detail, since you can view information in a way that suits you.

To try out Resource Monitor, click on Start, type resource monitor into the search box, and then click on the Resource Monitor entry that appears under Programs.

For an in depth look at Resource Monitor refer to our article Windows 7 Resource Monitor: New & Improved

Problem Steps Recorder

Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) allows the steps needed to reproduce a problem, or to implement a fix, to be recorded and saved to a file. If you've ever tried to help a friend or family member over the phone, or via email, with a PC problem I'm sure you know how difficult and frustrating it can be. PSR helps a lot.

To start PSR, click on Start, type psr.exe into the search box, and then either click on the psr.exe entry that appears under Programs, or right click and choose Run as a administrator. Note you need to choose Run as administrator if any of the screens you wish to capture are running with administrator privilege.

Once loaded you simply click on the red circular Start Record button to start capturing user activity. Comments can be added during the capture and to finish the session you simply click on the Stop Record button. Once recording has stopped you will be prompted to enter a filename and the whole session will be saved to a ZIP file. The maximum number of screen shots that can be recorded by default is 25. To change this, click on the downward arrow at the right hand end of the PSR dialog box and choose Settings.

The ZIP contains a MHT, mime encoded HTML, format document that includes the screen shots, any comments that were added, and a text based description of the actions that were carried out. This can be opened and edited in any version of Word from 2002 upwards. Alternatively, the file can be viewed using the free Word Viewer, Internet Explorer version 5 or higher,  Firefox with the UnMHTextension installed and Opera version 9.0 or higher.

PSR is not a ground breaking application, but it will help me to assist others much more quickly and efficiently.

PowerShell

PowerShell is Microsoft's solution for automating system tasks. Version 1 was released with Windows Vista and version 2 with WIndows 7. It has two main parts, a command-line shell and a scripting language. PowerShell is the equivalent of the DOS commands and batch files used in early PCs. Naturally it is much more powerful because we now have GUI interfaces and other new features. It is fully integrated with the .NET framework so all PowerShell objects are .NET objects. This provides a powerful ability to interact with your system through: 'cmdlets', .NET programs compiled into a dynamic-link library and loaded by a PowerShell script; PowerShell scripts (.ps1), PowerShell functions; and executable programs.

To try out PowerShell, click on Start, All Programs, Accessories, Windows PowerShell, and select Windows PowerShell which will bring up the PowerShell command line interface. If you want to create scripts then see How to open Windows 7 PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE).

If you want to see how useful it is then run the script from Auditing 32-Bit and 64-Bit Applications with PowerShellwhich lists all installed applications and whether they are 32- or 64-bit.

Be aware that, by default, Powershell restricts exectution of unsigned scripts. You can check if this is "restricted" with the command:

get-executionpolicy

and you can change it with the command:

set-executionpolicy remotesigned
 

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Windows-Desktop-64bit-82-58.png 6. Best Free Windows 64-bit Desktop and System
 

 

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Icon Tool

Iconoid

SillySol's Iconoid allows you to change the colour of text associated with your desktop icons. You can also save and restore the position of desktop icons and, optionally, hide and restore icons by clicking on the desktop.

In order to use Iconoid to change the colour of text you must first turn off drop shadows for icon text.  This must be done via Control Panel, System, Advanced System Settings, and then click on the Settings button under Performance.  Right clicking on Computer, and then choosing Properties, will only change settings until you logoff or the PC is rebooted.

IcoFX

IcoFX has become a commercial product but the free version remains available although it is unsupported.

IcoFX "has a wealth of tools and is equipped with more than 40 image effects. … The program allows you to create icons for your programs, setup files, or favicons for your website or blog. It also allows you to convert your favorite images to icons, or icons to images. Conversion between Macintosh and Windows icons are supported. Other features include supporting Vista icons with PNG compression, true color, transparency (alpha channel) and batch processing capability. IcoFX allows you to create icon libraries, extract and patch icons inside the executable files. However, on some executable files which I tried, the former seems work better than the latter." (Best Free Icon Editor and Replacer)

 

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Windows-Security-64bit-82-58.png 7. Best Free Windows 64-bit Security and Privacy
 

 

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Malware Scanner

The boundaries have blurred between security products so I have chosen to include all products in this category except for those that focus on removing malware which are in the next category.

Many of the applications are hybrid 64-bit applications where only the low level kernel mode drivers that interface with operating system are written in 64-bit code.

You can have more than one product installed, but you can have problems if you have more than one product enabled for real-time scanning. The same applies to email scanning.

Antivirus

Microsoft Security Essentials

MSSE or MSE has "great detection rates, particularly for rootkits. Even more impressive is that Microsoft Security Essentials has very few false positives, is light on resources and is good at removal of existing malware.MSE is a great choice for average users because of the minimal user interaction required. It automatically updates and removes threats. … The main downsides are the slow scan speeds and the lengthy amount of time it takes to quarantine malware, though in my opinion these are rather trivial concerns". (Best Free Antivirus Software)

Avira Antivir Personal Edition

Avira Antivir was formerly the Top Pick in its category. "AntiVir is still a top notch antivirus scanner with outstanding detection rates of malware, higher than almost every other antivirus according to tests. AntiVir is still a good choice for a free antivirus scanner, particularly for high risk users. However, there are some minor reservations. First, AntiVir does not include web or e-mail scanning capabilities … it just means that AntiVir won't warn you of infected emails before you open them. … Also, AntiVir contains a rather intrusive advertisement every time it updates." (Best Free Antivirus Software)

Avast! Free AntiVirus

Avast! Free Antivirus "has steadily been improving its detection rates over the past few years and now ranks with the some of the best.Avast has the most features of all the free antivirus with full real-time capabilities including web, e-mail, IM, P2P and network shields, boot-time scanning, and a behavioural blocker … an internet site ratings plugin, script malware protection and a limited (non-configurable) sandboxing feature. …Lastly Avast is also light on resources." (Best Free Antivirus Software)

Many of the protection mechanisms used by Avast rely on interactive Windows services. Support in Windows 7 and Vista 64 for interactive services is intended for use by legacy applications. This places restrictions on the information that can be sent to the user.

Antispyware

SUPERAntiSpyware

SUPERAntiSpyware (SAS) free version "does not support real-time blocking, scheduled scanning and some other features." but it is a very good on-demand scanner which won't conflict with real-time protection. "In addition to its focus on detecting and removing spyware infections, this program deals with trojans and other types of threats such as diallers, keyloggers, worms, rootkits, etc." (Best Free Trojan Scanner and Remover; also Best Free Adware-Spyware-Scumware Remover),

"The interface is simple, updates are speedy but it still installs a start-up item which doesn't actually do anything at all. The scan speed is twice to thrice that of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and the detection is less than half of it. The removal also left a lot to be desired". (Best Free Adware/Spyware/Scumware Remover)

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) "is an on-demand scanner which can be used to find and remove trojans, along with other malware such as viruses, worms, rootkits, diallers and spyware. While it will never win any prizes for its user interface, the program is intuitive and simple to use. … Other features include: multiple-drive scanning;  quick scanning; ignore list; quarantine, to hold threats prior to deletion or restoration; along with various settings to enhance performance of the program. FileASSASSIN is also included to enable deletion of locked files. Another plus point is MBAM rarely causes any conflicts with other anti-malware utilities. (Best Free Trojan Scanner and Remover)

"The interface is very simple, … The scans are very fast and detection is first class." (Best Free Adware/Spyware/Scumware Remover)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit On-demand Malware Scanner

I have separated specialist on-demand scanners from the other products which all provide on-demand scans as well. The free products listed here are more likely to be portable scanners. Portable so they can be used in a hurry and run from a disk or USB stick to check an infected system. Free so you can detect a problem but not free to remove it. Although they usually have an option to trial the removal component before having to buy the full-version.

The scanners listed here use a range of scanning technologies which can improve your detection rates if you use all of them: cloud-based (usually require a broadband internet connection to be useful), behavioural, and signature-based.

Hitman Pro

Hitman Pro uses a cloud-based scanner that has free detection. The removal option is only free for 30 days but that 30-day period doesn't start with the first scan, it starts when you first repair your system. You can install it or leave it portable. When installed, it can be configured it to run a daily scan. The scan runs very fast. Hitman Pro identifies files that need to be checked then uploads them to Cloud Scan where five scanners are used from IKARUS, PrevX, G Data, Emsisoft and Dr. Web. On my system it only uploaded a few files for scanning. Later scans were even faster because no new files were identified. Hitman Pro can also identify tracking cookies for deletion. ('gets a quick mention' in Best Free Anti-virus Software)

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

Emsisoft Anti-Malware free version provides a 30-day free trial of the full version which then downgrades to a freeware scanner and 'does not provide other features such as file guard, behavior blocker and surf protection'. The scanner is signature-based so when it runs it will download the latest signatures. There are four scan types: Quick (it is), Smart (much slower as it scans all programs), Deep (very slow scanning all files) and Custom. (Top Pick in Best Free Trojan Scanner and Removeralso 'gets a quick mention' in Best Free Antivirus Software)

SUPERAntiSpyware Portable

A portable version of SUPERAntiSpyware which is reviewed above. It has four scan types: Quick, Critical Point, Complete, and Custom. The Custom scan appears to be the most flexible of any of these products. The Rescue Scan feature allows SAS to 'rescue' CPU cycles from malware hogging the processor.

HouseCall

Trend Micro HouseCall is an installer that doesn't openly install its malware scanner - it stores it in your user appdata\local\temp folder. So it may look portable but it isn't. It has three scan types: Quick, Full and Custom. Because it is so slow I would choose a faster scanner to intitially detect suspected infections. There are postiive reports of HouseCall having excellent detection. On the other hand there are reports of malware halting HouseCall's download and I've experienced the old problem with the scan stopping while "listing processes". As Trend Micro do not openly support their software this is a significant negative.

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Firewall

Remember that you should never run two or more firewall products side-by-side.  If you plan to switch to one of the products below, ensure that you disable Windows Firewall and any other firewall you have installed first.

Windows 7 Firewall Control

Windows Firewall "is a common choice since it passes all inbound tests (both stealth and open port) and doesn't have many popup alerts. It doesn't require installation, so it's not likely to conflict with your other programs. And many average users wouldn't reliably handle the popup alerts of the best firewalls on the market (especially at their max settings)." (Best Free Firewall)

Access has to be defined for each application using one of four modes; out only, in only, enable all, or disable all. I suspect for many this will not offer a fine enough degree of control.

Comodo Firewall (Comodo Intenet Security)

Comodo Firewall "is the best choice for users seeking a full featured security suite. This latest release is suitable for both lightly-skilled users (still must have knowledge of installed programs) and technically advanced users. Its robust and active HIPS (or application monitoring feature), called "Defense+", matches or exceeds the security performance of pay products. Comodo allows for much control and customization for the curious or the paranoid." (Best Free Firewall)

I recommend that you read our guide, How to Install Comodo, before you install it. Comodo Firewall is one half of Comodo Internet Security which is what you are actually installing. It also includes the other half, the anti-virus component which provides Defense+ (HIPS) and Sandboxing. But you can opt of of installing Geek Buddy (22 MB) by selecting the "Customize Installer" option.

 

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Windows-Internet-64bit-82-58.png 8. Best Free Windows 64-bit Internet and eMail
 

 

 

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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Windows-Network-64bit-82-58.png 9. Best Free Windows 64-bit Network, Website & Server
 

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit FTP Client

Overall, the only 64-bit FTP client I found fails to match the top 32-bit selections in our review Best Free FTP Client. Unless you feel that a 64-bit FTP client is essential I suggest that you look there for the solution best suited to your needs.

Null FTP

Vision Works Null FTP is a cut down version of the paid product. It has the typical local and remote files panes which support drag and drop, and status and log windows which provide details of the current connections and file transfers. It also has two limitations which are likely to affect your decision to use it: only three concurrent transfers and only three FTP servers are able to be defined for quick connection.

 

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Windows-Programming-64bit-82-58.png 10. Best Free Windows 64-bit Programming
 

 

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Programming Editor

Notepad++

Notepad++ "is a popular and widely-used editor loaded with features to make the users' programming more productive, including syntax and brace highlighting for many languages, search and replace using regular expressions, macro recording, and playback. It is also highly configurable through plug-ins, has a wide range of themes and offers multi-language support. Other features include color source code printing, auto-completion, multi-document and multi-view, drag and drop, syntax folding, bookmark, ASCII art display and more." (Best Free Programming Editor)

Bluefish

Bluefish "is a lightweight yet powerful editor running … designed for experienced programmers and web designers, and works as a general-purpose editor as well with the IDE. This program provides options to write websites, scripts and programming codes in many programming and markup languages. Its user interface is complete with toolbars, dialogs and user-customized menus to facilitate insertion of markups and codes. … Other useful features include cold folding, customizable syntax highlighting, advanced search and replace, multiple projects support, integration with external programs to handle advanced text processing or error detection, auto tag closing and matched code highlights for HTML and XML documents, in-line spell checker which is programing language aware and so on." (Best Free Programming Editor)

 

Best Free Windows 64-bit Color Picker

Color Cop

Color Cop "impressed me with its combination of simplicity and effectiveness. It comes with a compact and powerful user interface which takes up very little screen space. A color grabber is provided to drag and drop at any pixel of the screen, and RGB and Hex codes are presented instantly. The front interface provides a built-in magnifier and an active color palette. If you want to adjust a picked color, you can click the ‘custom’ button and call up Windows’ default color mixer. When you right click on the interface a menu pops up with extra features. In this way, the interface is cleverly made small but powerful." (Best Free Color Picker)

 

 

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