Mozilla finally offering 64-bit Firefox to Windows users by default


Consumer 64-bit processors have been around for a long time now — AMD began selling the Athlon 64, for instance, way back in 2003. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition was released by Microsoft in 2005. I was an early adopter at the time, buying that first-ever Athlon 64 and later running that aforementioned version of Windows.

I say all of that because I am shocked that in 2017 it is considered news if a company starts offering a 64-bit version of its Windows software by default. Well, folks, that is exactly what is happening today. Mozilla will now serve 64-bit Firefox by default to 64-bit Windows users when downloading from the web. In other words, if the user agent reports a 64-bit version of Windows, the webpage will offer 64-bit Firefox first. Users of 32-bit Windows will, of course, still be served the 32-bit Firefox variant.

 “Users on 64-bit Windows who download Firefox will now get our 64-bit version by default. That means they’ll install a more secure version of Firefox, one that also crashes a whole lot less. How much less? In our tests so far, 64-bit Firefox reduced crashes by 39 percent on machines with 4GB of RAM or more,” says Mozilla.

The Firefox-maker further says, “Here’s the key thing to know: 64-bit applications can access more memory and are less likely to crash than 32-bit applications. Also, with the jump from 32 to 64 bits, a security feature called Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) works better to protect you from attackers. macOS and Linux users, fret not. You already enjoy a Firefox that’s optimized for 64-bit.”

If you are currently using a 32-bit version of Firefox on a 64-bit version of Windows, please know that Mozilla will eventually work out a migration strategy to make the transition seamless. If you prefer to upgrade today, you can simply uninstall your current installation of Firefox and then download and install the 64-bit variant.

Keep in mind, if you are not very tech savvy and your current installation of Firefox 32-bit is running fine, you might want to wait — don’t fix what isn’t broke. If you are comfortable with re-installing Firefox, however, it is absolutely worth doing now. As Mozilla says, you won’t just experience potentially better performance, but increased security and decreased crashes. Who doesn’t want that?



Download and install the 64-bit variant