How to Use a 64 bit Web Browser on Windows
Use of 64-bit web browser on your Windows PC can provide performance benefits according to some benchmarks on your 64-bit version of Windows. Till today, the 64-bit version of Windows doesn’t use 64-bit browsers by default as they are still in their early stage of development. We can expect that most of the software will soon adapt to 64-bit browsers just like Adobe Flash that now supports 64-bit browser.
If you are a Windows user, you may want to read this article to learn about 64-bit web browser and its use on Windows. If you are a Linux user, there is no need to do anything as 64-bit Linux distributions include 64-bit browsers by default.
While the older 32-bit version of Firefox works perfectly, the new 64-bit version of Firefox 8 is 10% faster than previous version, according to ExtremeTech. Even though, Mozilla still does not announced official release of stable 64-bit builds of Firefox but you can run 64-bit Firefox on Windows. The choices you may have are a stable-but-unofficial Waterfox or an official-but-unstable nightly build.
So far, nightly builds of Firefox are offered by Mozilla for testers. Mozilla is constantly updating so the build can break. It is not recommended to use them as your primary browser. If you visit the Firefox Nightly website, it lists only 64-bit builds for Linux and do not mention about any builds for Windows.
If you look for the “win64″ installer, you can find 64-bit builds buried on Mozilla’s FTP site.
A good 64-bit build of Firefox for Windows is “Waterfox“. The 64-bit build is based on the stable release of Firefox unlike the nightly version from Mozilla. If you have already used nighty builds, you can see that the Waterfox offers more stable and big-free experience.
The bad news is, Mozilla has no plan to officially release a 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows in 2012, according to Mozilla technical writer Jean-Yves Perrier.
I believe, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is leading all other web browsers when it comes to 64-bit browsing on Windows. You can find a 64-bit version of Internet Explorer installed by default on your 64-bit version of Windows.
You may face a problem if you actually want to use the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer as your default browser, though. Microsoft wont allow any user to set 64-bit IE as default browser, to avoid any such situation in which a user accidentally set up 64-bit Internet Explorer as their default browser and ends up in facing plug-in compatibility problems.
Windows still allows you to add its shortcut to your desktop or you can also pin the 64-bit version to your taskbar .
You may need to know location of 64-bit IE if you want to set it as your default program for certain file types e.g .htm files. You can locate the 64-bit version at C:Program FilesInternet Exploreriexplore.exe, and 32-bit version at C:Program Files (x86)Internet Exploreriexplore.exe.
If you are a Google Chrome user, there is a bad news for you, Google Chrome only has a 64-bit version for Linux. According to their official website, they do not have any plan so far to build 64-bit Chrome and Chromium for Windows.
Even though, no one has done the work so far but the good news is that it should only need “a small number of tweaks” to compile for 64-bit Windows.
Good news for Opera users is that Opera is almost there to launch a 64-bit version for Windows. It is right now releasing 64-bit development snapshots for Windows. Even though, these are still unstable so don’t try to use them as your web browser. It is now possible to run 64-bit versions of Opera to run 32-bit plug-ins as Opera advertises out-of-process plug-ins as a new feature.
“Opera Next” is branded on all the development snapshots but it also display a black-and-white logo that indicates that the work is still in progress.
64-bit browser always face a Plug-in problem for almost all browsers. 64-bit binary browser compilation is easy but it is difficult to drag plug-in developers along. Even though, most popular plugins like Java and Flash now supports 64-bit browsers, but many other plug-ins still do not support 64-bit browsers. As older versions of Flash and Java do not support 64-bit browsers, you may have to install latest versions of both.
To download, you can visit the Adobe Flash Player download page in a 64-bit browser. If you install a 64-bit version you can also find a 32-bit version for your 32-bit browsers included.
To download Java as a Java user, Go to manual download page and you can download a 64-bit build of Java from there. The 64-bit build of Java also includes a 64-bit plug-in. If you want to use both 32 and 64-bit browsers on your computer, you have to download and install separate Java Packages for both.
I hope you will find it interesting to work with 64-bit version of browsers after reading this article. Feel free to provide us your feedback in the comments below!!
via How-To Geek