Yes! 64-bit Firefox for Windows on its way

Firefox users who run the browser on Windows systems have two options currently when it comes to running it as a 64-bit application. They can either run the 64-bit Nightly channel version of the browser or use a third-party build such as Pale Moon which is offered as a 64-bit version as well.

If you look at Firefox's main competitors you will notice that Internet Explorer is being offered as a 64-bit version and that Google Chrome is already available as a 64-bit version as well.

A recent update to the 64-bit Windows page on the Mozilla Wiki website suggests that the organization plans to release a 64-bit Firefox Stable version for the Windows operating system in the near future.

There you find listed reasons why Mozilla wants to make available a 64-bit build for Windows. According to the page, at least 50% of users who run Firefox on Windows use a 64-bit version of the operating system.

download firefox 64-bit windows

In addition, development is listed as mostly complete and engineering work that needs to be completed resolves to testing, making sure the installer works and plugin compatibility work.

Mozilla plans to roll out the 64-bit in phases:

  1. Phase 1: A separate 64-bit installer is provided and users are informed about it on the browser's what's new page. 64-bit builds are served from that moment on to users who opted-in. The majority of plugins and binary add-ons won't work in this phase.
  2. Phase 2: A universal installer that supports both 32-bit and 64-bit. Flash support is provided either via 64-bit Flash or Shumway, and add-on support is improved.
  3. Phase 3: Auto-update functionality.
Read also:  Block sites on Google Search with Personal Blocklist for Firefox

The proposed version of Firefox for phase 1 is Firefox 37 Stable. This version will be released on 31. March 2015 to the public.

It is planned furthermore to released Aurora and Beta test builds as part of Mozilla's November 9th campaign (10 years of Firefox). Auto-updates are not provided yet though which means that users who are interested in testing these builds need to download them separately from a page Mozilla creates for that purpose.

This is a preliminary timetable which may change depending on how the testing goes and if major bugs are discovered that may prevent the release in March 2015. (via Sören)

Now You: What are your expections for a 64-bit Firefox version?

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Yes! 64-bit Firefox for Windows on its way
Mozilla plans to release a 64-bit version of Firefox for the Windows operating system in the first quarter of 2015.

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Responses to Yes! 64-bit Firefox for Windows on its way

  1. vux777 October 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    Chrome stable is already in version 37
    ...and in 64bit flavor..for a while now
    and the article is referring to like, it is about to come

  2. Nebulus October 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    It is a good idea in itself, but I don't see any real advantages over the 32 bit version...

    • Richard Salles October 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

      I think it enables FF to access more memory (32-bit is restricted to something like 4gb even if you have more installed). Plus, it can better use a 64-bit cpu as well. I may be wrong, so take that with a grain of salt.

      • Boris October 3, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

        I used 64-bit Firefox clones and did not see any improvement.

      • Doc October 8, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

        32-bit programs are restricted to 2GB by Windows.
        Also, 64-bit programs can actually run faster than their 32-bit counterparts, since 64-bit instructions can do twice as much in one instruction.

    • anon October 4, 2014 at 4:55 am #

      I used the 64-bit Firefox fork and see the improvement.

  3. unyk October 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    The bureaucracy works faster than mozilla

    • El-D October 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      The actual reality disagrees with you, but why let that get in the way of a good ribbing?

  4. Pierre October 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    Super !
    They say exactly the contrary of a year ago !
    As all the managers do

  5. cybernard October 3, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    Great now firefox can waste even more memory.

    • Blue October 3, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      ??? Firefox runs as a single operation, while Chrome runs each installed extension and plug-in as a separate process. For me running Nightly 64b, and Chrome DEV-64b, Firefox runs just under 300,000k while Chrome where I have installed the same amount of extensions (15) as in Firefox runs the base program at just over 300,000k and each plug-in runs between 20,000k to just over 260,000k (Ad Block Plus) for a grand total of just over 1,600,000k. So what memory hog are you speaking of?

      The moment I visit a link, the base foot print changes to just under 400,000k - depending on how many extensions are being used on that page? and for each tab I open it adds another 50,000k - 150,000k per tab. To hit over 1,600,000k I'd have to have over a dozen tabs open. I currently run Chrome v39.0.2171.7 dev-m, and Nightly 35.0a1 (2014-10-03) both are 64b versions under Windows 7-64b with hex-core CPU running at 4.1Ghz, 16Gb DDR3 RAM, and a 2Gb nVidia GT610 video card I overclock from stock 810Mhz to 1020Mhz which provides excellent 1080p gaming at 50fps. Maybe it's time to upgrade your hardware?

  6. Smith October 3, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    Great! To bad they aren't focusing more on making the browser more memory efficient. It's a shame. PLEASE IF SOME FF DEVELOPER READS THIS: MAKE THE BROWSER MORE MEMORY EFFICIENT WHEN USING MULTIPLE TABS!

    Thanks in advance!

    • Caspy7 October 3, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

      Last I knew they were beating the other major browsers in this area (and trouncing Chrome) and have been for well over a year.

  7. CHEF-KOCH October 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    64-Bit nightlys exist since 2004 on the ftp-server, so that's not a news at all. The only news is that it will be finally available for all at v37 and I still don't get the point why we need such things in 64-Bit. If you Browser needs more than 4GB you definitely doing it wrong or the browser take to much ram for nothing. I can use 100 tabs with 100x html5 content and it still not reach the 4gb wall. And I'm power user, the normal user not open 100 tabs every time....

    I'm using the nightlys since the beginning and the only problem are the backward compatibility and the installer but I've not understand why that take so long to "fix", the plugin-container already works as a wrapper since v30 or less and it wouldn't be that hard to separate two processes, one for x86 and one for x64. Don't get me wrong but that "x64 feature" is useless and the browser should be more focus on the security (always), it would be better to integrate an downloader database with hips (so no av needed anymore) or something like that but as always, hype is all about ....

    Btw Shumway works already good together with x64, most plugins which have backwards problems only need to change the paths and nothing else (if they are not native x64 ones) to solve the problems and since we can edit the .xpi package (it's only a .zip [just renamed] we also can edit it ourself).

    • Pierre October 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

      You make a confusion between extensions and plugins

    • Nawfel October 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

      64bits does mean more than just supporting more memory. It can provide:

      * SPEED because of more available cpu registers
      * CONVENIENCE FOR DEVELOPERS because of the huge virtual address space available (2 ^ 64) to the application. for example with 64bits, firefox can allocate many Gegabytes of virtual memory (don't confuse it with resident memory (your actual RAM)) without the fear of bypassing the 4GB limit. This enables many optimizations which are not possible in 32bit mode.
      * SECURITY since the big address space available lets the system randomize the location of loaded code which makes cracker's job harder

      • Blue October 3, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

        +1 I couldn't of said it better myself!

    • smotpoker1 October 4, 2014 at 5:07 am #

      Been using Waterfox for a couple of years now. I'm happy with it. In all honesty I thought it was Firefox 64 bit after all it runs on Firefox.

  8. Mike J October 3, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    I think Pale Moon is faster;wish it had innate PDF, though. I open Waterfox to read docs online.

    • Gary October 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

      I also use the 64 bit Pale Moon. Try PDF Xchange viewer. It has a plugin that allows pdf files to open right in the browser. I find that it works better than the native one in Firefox.

      • Mike J October 6, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

        Thanks; I have used Foxit in the past. But the point is NOT to have to install an app when the browser can & should do it.

      • Peter CM October 6, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

        I appreciated reading this. My Pale Moon > Tools > Options > Applications settings for Adobe Acrobat Documents had been set to "Always ask," probably a holdover from when I used Adobe Reader. When that is the case, you are not offered the option of viewing PDFs in a tab. To do that, you have to change the Adobe Acrobat Documents setting to [always] "Use PDF-Xchange Viewer (in Pale Moon)." I'm not sure which setting I'm going to end up with, but it's nice to know I do in fact have the option of viewing PDFs in tabs.

  9. BQ October 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Too late. Moved onto Pale Moon a few ago.

    • Pants October 3, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

      "Too late. Moved onto Pale Moon a few moons ago." - fixed that for ya :)

      • Tom Hawack October 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

        Maybe only a few hours ago?!

        Well now that 50%+1 users have a 64-bit OS good sense is becoming better.

  10. city_zen October 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    "Here you find listed reasons why Mozilla wants to make available a 64-bit build for Windows. According the the page, at least 50% of users who run Firefox on Windows use a 64-bit version of the operating system."

    If "here" in that sentence means "the 64-bit Windows page on the Mozilla Wiki website", I think you should write "there".
    And there's a typo too ("According the the page")

  11. Karl Gephart October 3, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    Unless it upgrades seamlessly like 32-bit (I have a lot of cosmetic customizations via userchrome.css, addons, and scripts), I'll have to really think about the value of going 64-bit. I never noticed any speed-up with Waterfox or Cyberfox using 4GB RAM. It's gonna depend on how the core files are used. Otherwise, it could be a lot of work for something that isn't broken. :)

  12. CHEF-KOCH October 3, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

    > You make a confusion between extensions and plugins

    Well, the plugin-container handle all your external stuff, like extension or plugins, so nothing is confusing.

    > SPEED because of more available cpu registers

    Not true, the register have nothing much todo with the protocols (which have more effect on the "speed") and if we talking about the program itself, the "new" register extension does not improve something much, as you can see in-games, most games runs in x86 mode same as in x64, there is only a benefit for some rare used stuff. This means the user not get any real benefit from it.

    ALSR and such things are already cracked, and nobody hack a browser, they use things like MITM and such, so we not need it, better protect the protocol and not the browser (as I said with internal AV/HIPS). If you download and check against the md5/sha1 this isn't a high risk scenario.

  13. crazy grump October 4, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    I cannot believe this magic! Next thing I will be hearing is there will be color crt screens and computers the size of calculators. But who are we kidding, that would be like wishing for a phone that doesnt have to connect to the wall or a car that drives itself!

  14. Farmers October 4, 2014 at 1:36 am #

    It's also worth bearing in mind that a 64-bit build can be compiled to take advantage of newer processor features that will in itself make the program faster. The 32-bit build could use many of these features, but for legacy reasons (older versions of Windows) they still don't use them - something they don't have to worry about with 64-bit.

  15. CHEF-KOCH October 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    > It's also worth bearing in mind that a 64-bit build can be compiled to take advantage of newer processor features that will in itself make the program faster.

    As I wrote in the real world it isn't faster at all, because the new extensions does not have much effect on "browsing speed" or the browser itself, you can benchmark yourself with the current nightly's, x86 is for me faster and this "optimized x64 builds" and that's with a x64 processor. It decency how the build was compiled, which settings do you use with that browser and how many extension/plugin/external stuff you load. And of course the is always the backwards compatibility problem which will never be cutted because this will break some extensions. So in the real world there is no benefit from it, it's more theoretically or only in some benchmark which use features that x86 doesn't support. And remember that all new x64 are useless if the cpu can't read it or it needs converted to machine code (which also takes a lot of processing power/speed)
    Don't believe the hype....

  16. Peter CM October 4, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    Both a friend and I have (separately) done quite a few marathon research sessions in Firefox x86, with well over 100 open tabs, that hit either the 2GB RAM limit for 32-bit applications or the 4GB physical RAM limit on our laptops. The ensuing lags, slowdowns, hangs, and (sometimes) outright crashes were no fun. We've disabled or uninstalled most non-essential extensions and learned to keep an eye on how many tabs we have open and how much RAM we are using, but it has definitely put a crimp in our work process. I see a genuine need for 64-bit browsers. The biggest problem is that a lot of developers still seem to be dragging their feet when it comes to releasing 64-bit versions of their plugins. The recent release of Chrome x64 and upcoming release of Firefox x64 will hopefully encourage these developers to get with the program.

  17. Marc October 5, 2014 at 2:41 am #

    I would not think there were that many awaiting the 64 bit version of Firefox, because there are a couple of versions of 64 bit Firefox already available. One is Pale Moon, which eschews the changes which have been turning Firefox into yet another version of Chrome, or Waterfox, which uses the straight code from Mozilla, but uses a different compiler, in an effort to obtain better speeds, due to improved efficiency.

  18. Pierre October 13, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    Do you know if 64 bits nightly will appear in other languages than English ?

  19. XenoSilvano October 13, 2014 at 9:42 pm #


    I am going to have to catch you there on your assertion, that is a common misconception, having 64bit version of a program running on a 64bit system will not necessarily make it run any faster as opposed to a 32bit program running on a 32bit system, simple due to having more bits, however, it will prevent your programs from slowing down due to the RAM limitations of standard 32bit systems.

    In the same vain, claiming that 64bit programs can do things 'twice as fast' as 32bit is not true either, it just means you have 32 extra bits to work with which expands allocatable memory, the only crutch in regards to standard 32bit processes is that they are limited in respect to memory, some people may argue that RAM intensive programs are sped up with 64bit programs but that is only true if you are running it on a 64bit system with more than 4gb of RAM, otherwise, 32bit systems that have been adapted to work with more than 4gb of RAM have been available for some time, the difference in respect to performance between such as system and a 64bit system with the same amount of RAM is none existent (e.g. there is no difference).

    In terms of processing speed, the sort of technology that we use today is not all that far removed from what we were using a few years ago or back in the day in certain respects, the only thing that has really boosted our productivity is the way in which processes are allocated and handled.

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