Firefox 56: automatic 32-bit to 64-bit upgrade
Mozilla started to upgrade Firefox 32-bit installations on Windows to the 64-bit version of the web browser when it released Firefox 56 in late 2017 to the public.
While stable 64-bit versions of the browser have been available for Linux and Mac OS X for a long time, the same could not be said for the Firefox 64-bit version for Windows in 2017 and earlier.
While Mozilla offered as 64-bit development version for those in the know, a stable version was not provided for a long time
Mozilla started to release Firefox 64-bit for Windows in December 2015 to the release channel. This was first an optional download that users had to seek out, but has since then been made the default.
The organization revealed in August 2016 how it planned to make Firefox 64-bit on Windows the default for compatible systems, and migrate the 32-bit population on 64-bit architecture to the 64-bit version of the browser.
The plan back then involved integrating the 64-bit version in the Firefox stub installer, making it the default in early 2017 in that installer, and shipping Firefox 64-bit as the default later that year.
Starting with Firefox 55, which was released in August 2017, 64-bit Firefox were the default option on Windows. This was only the case however if the Windows device supported 64-bit and had at least 2 Gigabytes of memory.
Migration from 32-bt versions of Firefox to 64-bit on Windows started with the release of Firefox 56. in September 2017.
Starting with Firefox 56, Mozilla started to upgrade Firefox 32-bit installations on 64-bit versions of Windows to 64-bit versions of Mozilla Firefox.
The same limitation -- a minimum of 2 Gigabytes of RAM and at least Windows 7 -- apply.
The main reason why Mozilla decided to migrate Firefox users on Windows to 64-bit versions is that running a 64-bit copy of Firefox decreases the out-of-memory crash rate and improves security.
Downside is that 64-bit versions of Firefox use more memory than 32-bit versions of the web browser.
Mozilla published some stats that highlight these improvements and changes:
- About 8% of Windows users run systems with 2 Gigabytes of RAM or less,
- The content process crash rate of 64-bit Firefox installations on Windows with 2GB of RAM is the same as on 32-bit systems on systems, and 20% less on systems with more than 2 Gigabytes of RAM.
- The browser process crash rate of 64-bit Firefox installations on Windows with 2 Gigabytes of RAM is the same as 32-bit versions of the browser, and about 20% less on systems with more than 2 Gigabytes.
- The 64-bit plugin process crash rate is 50% less on 64-bit systems with 2 Gigabytes of RAM, and 80% less on systems with more than 2 Gigabytes of RAM.
Additional information on the migration to 64-bit Firefox on Windows is available on the Mozilla Wiki website. (via SÃ¶ren Hentzschel)
Two questions about the installation of Mozilla Firefox 56 on a 64 bit Windows 10 proffesional.
About 6 to 8 months ago I did install the 64-bit version Mozilla Firefox on main 64 bit Windows 10 professional version 10.0.15.063.
But after the “upgrade” from Mozilla Firfox 32 bit version to a Mozilla Firefox 64 bit even with all main add-ons not installed (or activated), (Main) the Windows10 system 64 bit professional crashed time after time.
This makes me wonder when with the new Mozilla Firefox 56 release is it still possible when your (in this case main) system is crashing all the time to “downgrade” to a Mozilla Firefox 32 bit instalation on a Windows 10 64 bit computer system?
Does the new install of the Firefox 64 bit version not leaves a lot of Firefox 32 bit behind?
Is it not much better (Cleaner) to completely remove your Firefox 32 bit version and install after your cleaning all the dead links a fresh Mozilla Firefox 64 bit version, because of all the dead links you’re leaving behind?
“Does the new install of the Firefox 64 bit version not leaves a lot of Firefox 32 bit behind?”
There’s not files everywhere with Mozilla products. The install folder and the user profile(s). That’s all.
I’d suggest removing the 32-bit first. Profiles are not removed during FF uninstall. Then install FF 64-bit.
This is perhaps what will be performed by the 32-bit to 64-bit upgrade but personally I prefer clean installs.
Regarding your first question, I’m afraid I have no idea.
I think this is what the automatic updater does. Of course, if you can start with a new profile, it is always the best thing to do, even before a normal update :)
The same happened about two months ago to Chrome on Windows (with more than 4 GB of RAM) and I think everything was fine. IMHO sooner or later they will update all users on x64 Windows to x64 edition, no matter the RAM available.
First of all thanks for your response on one of main two questions.
Regarding your answer to the question concerning what and where is left behind:
I was thinking of not only of the three folders (And are the not only 32 bit reletead folders but will the also can be used by a 64-bit profile and will be the settings in these folders right now be cleanded because there only 32 bit related?) :
C: Users\Main name\AppData\Local\Mozilla
But also I was thinking of:
C:\program files (x86) Mozilla Firefox
So what you are writing to me is that all above-named folders and also
all of the dead links who are left behind will be cleaned by removing before install a 64-bit version?
And all folders and links who I do not know about also will be cleaned?
@Paul(us), you are right to mention,
C: Users\Main name\AppData\Local\Mozilla
I had in mid Roaming\Mozilla because that’s where the user’s Firefox profile(s) is (are) located (by default).
The other two folders are of no concern for the user.
All three folders will remain untouched by the upgrade. If you uninstall FF manually those 3 folders remain as well. They are not impacted by the fact FF be 32- or 64-bit.
The only difference between 32- and 64-bit FF builds is the install folder,
C:\Program Files (x86) Mozilla Firefox\ FOR Firefox 32-bit
c:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\ FOR Firefox 64-bit
I’ve been using 64-BIT since its availability, but I don’t think I’m mistaking with above mentioned. I don’t recall any FF 32-bit file/folder specificity other than the install location.
A: Yes, just install the 32-bit version of choice, if push comes to shove backup the profile and uninstall the 64-bit and reinstall the 32-bit version and restore profile.
A: No, dead links are dead (if any registry wise) and not usable. whne in doubt goto my reply for question 1.
Food for thought: Your instability problems are likely (for sure) due to some addons you may have, Ive gone from 32-bit to 64-bit and goes without saying much of the addons had to find updates or fixes for or in some cases alternatives. result stability 100%
Good time to make this change now that most legacy plugins don’t run on Firefox any more. So there’s little to worry about on the compatibility front in that respect.
Now those folks running XP should be able to better see why support for the OS cannot continue indefinitely. Initiatives like this are somewhat hindered when you have to deal with installations like that.
I would recommend personnaly to do the migration manually now : the automatic upgrade plans to install Firefox 64 bits to program files (x86), cf the “bug” (Chrome do the same)
Manually : you install it from the page
It will install it in program files
Then you uninstall the 32 bits without deleting the historic
and if I remember correctly, Mozilla said in 2015 they would not create a 64 bit browser and would never do so. Then tech users complained so they changed their mind.
So does this mean Opera will be the last “major” browser that pushes folks towards a 32 bit version? Is there any reason that Opera hasn’t followed suit of its Chromium-based cousins like Chrome and Vivaldi and pushed folks towards the 64 bit version?
Opera 64-bit (official) ftp://ftp.opera.com/pub/opera/desktop/46.0.2597.57/win/
Its helps to use some cursory search before typing things at random.
All of you 32-bits just migrate your browser on Pale Moon boat. Will have 32-bit support for all lifetime. I’m not joking :P
I’m all for luddism and reverting to horsedrawn carriages, but is there an advantage to 32-bit, when you can have 64 of them ?
Certainly far less if any than reverting to horse-drawn carriages :)
Not everyone have a 64-bit OS (major reason)
My desktop is an i686 32-bit infrastructure. Despite the good wish for 64-bit, Pale Moon is my/ many others the only GUI Browser salvation.
@Nili, so true. Generally speaking the time of Web software developers is not the time of users, in all areas of computing. There should be back compatibility for at least security updates, and there is with the Firefox ESR builds, but they don’t last forever and, to be honest and I guess you’ll agree with me, it’s understandable. The whole point is to define what is the limit in hardware requirement, and hard to be objective when what some call obsolescence doesn’t meet a user’s well running computer… I’ve known that and am bound to know it relatively soon again.
The way I understand the article, this is about nudging towards 64-bit Firefox those users who are already running 64-bit Windows. It’s not about preventing Firefox users to keep on using 32-bit Windows.
I’m also using a 32-bit x86 machine as well. Of course it’s the last x86 machine that I own but I want it to function as long as it can. Perfectly good hardware that I would like to keep functioning for at least a few more years.
I don’t see Mozilla totally abandoning 32-bit. Not unless it wants to lose even more marketshare.
Hmm, I must ask why we don’t have 54 bit Thunderbird on Windows. That 2GB limit is paint in the ass when you want to archive couple thousand of mail.
Paint in the ass ? Not advisable, whatever your opinion on bitness. Which will never get to 54. I think.
It’s funnier even if you understand French (bit=bit but bite=dick). LOL!
Paint (in the neck as elsewhere) is not a bad idea as well. “Quel taaaalent !”
Clairvaux, you are a poet, playing with words as others with bubble-gum. Delightful!
64-bit (you meant to say instead of 54-bit) will be coming to stable version users around Thunderbird 55, nightly users already can have official 64-bit Thunderbird builds.
look down the bottom
and theres also v56 in other directories.
If you prefer to wait, then wait, but it is on the way.
It is amusing to me that Mozilla now pushes everyone to 64bit when their initial stance was, you do not need 64bit, there is no advantage to 64bit speed wise. Which at the time I thought was complete bullshit.
Now that you mention it I do remember such declarations. Is often stated as necessary what we have to offer and unnecessary what we lack to provide :)
Compare the discussion then to the discussion now and you’ll notice that nothing much has changed:
Except of course that they lost ~60% of their user base in those five years. And not all of it was due to Google’s aggressive pushing of Chrome.
– Except of course that they lost ~60% of their user base in those five years. And not all of it was due to Google’s aggressive pushing of Chrome.
I’d say most of it was, though. Money talks.
I have 12GB RAM. Since upgrading to a clean latest FF x64 I got multiple “Not enough RAM” crappors and unexpected closings of FF. WTF!
Mozilla is getting as bad as M$ forcing crap on us we do not want :(
Firefox is supposed to be about “Choice” not “do what we say because your too stupid to make your own decisions and only we know what’s best for you!”
The PC in my living room is our media center. This is it’s main purpose. We use Plex as a front end to organize several Terabytes of locally stored media files. Although Plex is an awsome GUI for organizing a Media collection, it’s built in media player is crap and it no longer natively supports external players due to monetization efforts.
Luckily some nice person created “PlexExternalPlayerAgent” and put it on Github. But, it only works with the 32 bit version of Firefox.
So, if I’m forced onto 64 bit Firefox, that particular PC is made mostly useless to me :( FU Mozilla!
I’ve already submitted an issue on Github but there’s no guarantee the author even monitors the software any more. These are just people making stuff for themselves and kindly sharing it.
If Mozilla just let “ME” decided what software “I” want to run on “MY” computer, there would be no problem :(
Just checking what Mozilla has to say about the subject :
Objective : make 64-bit Firefox the default version for new and existing eligible users to reduce our OOM crash rate, increase performance, and improve security (ASLR). Users are eligible for a 64-bit default if they are running 64-bit Windows 7+ and have at least 2 GB RAM.
So this does not change things a bit (isn’t that funny) for people using 32-bit Windows. It’s all right to regret a decision by a software publisher, but throwing a tantrum just because Mozilla changes something in Firefox in order to make it crash less often strikes me as somewhat puerile. It seems to me we’ve gone very far in the way of entitlement. After all, nobody here paid for Firefox, right ?
Software and hardware do change all the time, and this may make some pieces of a setup stop working with others. That’s how personal computing has been going since the beginning, and it’s a small miracle that anything at all is compatible with the rest, and mostly stays so.
I paid a hefty amount of money for Microsoft Office 2003 in its time, and I’m still using it for various reasons. I wouldn’t dream, however, of complaing that it’s not updated anymore. It’s been 14 years, for Christ’s sake. So I use it unpatched, and accept the risk. Similarly, I’ve got a stack of written floppy disks in my cupboard, and I don’t expect to be able to ever read them again. That’s not a “scandal”, or a worldwide conspiracy by greedy corporations to prevent me from using diskettes. It’s just the way it is.
Nothing I read here leads me to believe that the discussed move by Mozilla takes anything away from the vast majority of Firefox users. On the contrary, it seems to me this will enhance the user experience, or be neutral, for most (all ?) users. So if you’re in a very specific situation where you absolutely need to run 32-bit Firefox on 64-bit Windows, well, maybe you could accept that your browser won’t be updated anymore ? Or maybe you could take advantage of the early warning, in order to adjust something else in your configuration ?
Nobody signed you a piece of paper stating that this computer of yours will run untouched and unchanged for the next century.
I think you’ve perfectly well resumed the situation, Clairvaux.
I also note your comment above, Clairvaux July 22, 2017 at 6:04 pm #
“The way I understand the article, this is about nudging towards 64-bit Firefox those users who are already running 64-bit Windows. It’s not about preventing Firefox users to keep on using 32-bit Windows.”
Indeed. Remains that, as I understand it this time, 32-bit versions of Firefox will cease starting Firefox 56, the only difference being that if the user’s OS is 64-bit the upgrade will be automatic.
Should we complain about Firefox 32-bit no longer updated starting version 56? I cannot say I complain and your argument above is mine. Even if I feel sorry for happy 32-bit systems running flawlessly a 32-bit Firefox who will face a true problem starting Firefox 56.
Not sure I understand you. Are you saying all 32-bit Firefox versions will stop to exist or stop being updated (which is not very different) ?
My understanding is that 32-bit Firevox versions will continue to exist and be updated for users of Windows 32-bits systems. Is that true or false ? Martin’s article is not very clear on this.
I have been using a 64-bit Firefox on a 64-bit Windows for a long time, so the change does not affect me. However, people who are 32-bit on Firefox and Windows are very much concerned. If the rug is pulled under their feet, it means they need to buy and install a whole new edition of Windows, which is a major, major pain in the whatever, right ?
Since Mozilla says only “eligible” users are affected (that is, Windows 64-bit users who have >= 2 GB RAM), I take it to mean that “non-eligible” users can sleep tight, and go on with their 32/32 setup. Right or wrong ? I’m sure some people would like to be set straight on that.
-My understanding is that 32-bit Firevox versions will continue to exist and be updated for users of Windows 32-bits systems. Is that true or false ? Martin’s article is not very clear on this.
I hope that’s the case. At least for the next 4 or 5 years or so…
Yes, Firefox 32-bit will be left untouched, development will continue.
“Not sure I understand you. Are you saying all 32-bit Firefox versions will stop to exist or stop being updated (which is not very different) ?”
You are right again. It was late and I assumed on the basis of the article I had in mind without reading it again.
I see nothing in the article which indicates that 32-bit versions of Firefox will be dropped. Indeed what we know is that users of a 64-bit Windows OS would have (“Mozilla plans to…”) their Firefox 55.x 32-bit upgraded to Firefox 56.x 64-bit.
I see no information regarding 32-bit Firefox builds once Firefox 56 released.
If Firefox stops updating 32-bit builds then users of Firefox 32-bit on Windows 32-bit of course wouldn’t be updated.
If Firefox 32-bit builds carry on then I wouldn’t find the logic in not making it available to users of Firefox 32-bit builds on a Windows 32-bit OS.
I think that’s the way it goes and, again, we are on an hypothetical ground : the article does mention,
“Mozilla plans to upgrade Firefox 32-bit installations to the 64-bit version of the web browser when it releases Firefox 56 later this year.” — That’s “plans to…”.
Thanks for clarifying this, Martin. I would have been very surprised if Mozilla had decided to stop 32-bit Firefox. That would not make any sense. So, we can ratchet down the paranoÃ¯a one notch.
Yes, clear enough. No reason for Firefox 32-bit users to worry.
There was maybe a legitimate concern for users of Firefox 32.bit on a Windows 32-bit OS. Fear not.
For users of Firefox 32-bit on a 64-bit OS, maybe is Mozilla planning “to upgrade Firefox 32-bit installations to the 64-bit version of the web browser when it releases Firefox 56 later this year.” for the simple reason that such users, some of them, might be frightened to upgrade themselves to Firefox 64-bit, aware of issues, 32-bit left-overs etc (as we can read in some of the above comments) when in fact there is nothing special in the very process of switching to a 64-bit build of Firefox.
I am using firefox 42 everything works great. I play with newer versions & not so good. I also use office 2003 with NO problems. Win7 64 bit no updates…no problems ever. ps I never use internet explorer it is removed.
Seems like 64bit Firefox is MUCH slower than 32bit: https://www.raymond.cc/blog/mozilla-firefox-64bit-build-performance-compared-to-32bit/
Not, it doesn’t. To begin with, if you’re really concerned by speed, switch to Chrome or a Chromium browser. That is distinctly faster.
Regarding this blog post :
1. It’s obsolete. It’s been updated for the last time 7 months ago, so there’s no telling when the bulk of it was written. Firefox has moved on since.
2. It does not say anywhere that FF 32 is much faster than FF 64. The conclusion is (was, at the time it was written) : “Itâ€™s difficult to recommend installing any x64 version if you are specifically looking for higher performance. We should see some performance improvements in the future, but Firefox 64-bit doesnâ€™t appear to give you a faster browsing experience at this time.” So, the blog author himself called it a draw.
3. Looking at the individual benchmarks (which are nothing more than benchmarks, and might not reflect the actual perceived speed overall), some show that FF 64 is faster than FF 32, some show that FF 32 is a wee bit faster than FF 64 (but there’s no telling whether this is felt in actual usage), and some show that FF 32 is faster. Therefore it’s misleading to say that they show FF 64 as being slower than FF 32 overall.
Anyway, if you have Windows 64, just download both and decide for yourself, with the current versions. That would be significant.
Exactly, 64-bit isn’t slower at all. If anything, on more recent versions the 64-bit version has felt snappier than its 32-bit counterpart. Not only that, but 64-bit provides a bigger layer of security in comparison to 32-bit due to the way 64-bit works.
Ex: JetStream Benchmark Suite
“Although we do our best to ensure you are visiting a safe external source, please refer to the WOT reputation etc.”
Same for all external links. How to trust someone who always give as reference WOT? Seriously.
I tried installing the 64-bit version for myself. It’s relatively snappy, but has a couple problems.
Roughly half of the addons have no icon with them, in the extension listing. There’s no rhyme or reason; some WebExtensions are missing icons, some legacy addons are missing icons, and the same for which have icons. Annoying, but not really a big deal. I’ve filed a bug report on it.
However, in addition, one of my addons is not working, despite being enabled. Undo Closed Tabs Button doesn’t show up on my control bar, or in the customize menu. I have no idea why.
Given no particular immediate need to stay on the 64-bit version, I’ll go back to the 32- bit version.
Sorry if this is off-topic, but is there a 64 bit version of Vivaldi? I cannot find it.
Open eyes when looking at https://vivaldi.com/download/
What happens to Firefox 52 ESR after September 26, considering this is 32-bit and keeping Windows XP and Vista users alive? Will Mozilla be stopping this ESR early (even though it is scheduled to go on to June 26 2018)?
Will Firefox 52 ESR be made into a 64-bit browser, and so not work on 32-bit operating systems like most Windows XP and Vista machines?
What will happen to Firefox’s extensions also, considering Mozilla want them to be created in a different way from November? Will they continue working on 32-bit machines or not?
So many questions that Mozilla need to answer.
Nothing, ESR releases just provide security updates while holding back features, so 32-bit 64-bit ESR same story applies.
Of course all will keep working. It works now, it’ll work a 100 years later. Just don’t update.
I have a laptop, Windows 10, 64-bit, 4GB of RAM, Intel Core i3, 2.30 GHz.
In Firefox 55 I just clicked in the menu, Help > About Firefox, and clicked to update to ver. 56.
It did NOT upgrade me to 64-bit, it still says 32-bit.
So much for Firefox reliability and truthfulness.
I have thousands of bookmarks in hundreds of folders. Now they changed all the folders from yellow to ugly gray! I restarted my laptop, thinking that might help bring back my yellow folders, but it didn’t. I did not find any options in the Firefox menu bars, or by right-clicking to change the color back to yellow. I also entered “about:config” in the browser’s search bar and typed “bookmark” but did not find any option for color. Strangely, the folder icons in my browser toolbar are still yellow, but all the bookmarks folders are gray!
Who in the fuck decided that it was important to change yellow to gray? This is totally crazy!!! Mozilla needs to concentrate its efforts on fixing bugs and improving performance, security, and privacy, and reducing crashes, NOT changing the color of a folder for no purpose. Who are the stupid people doing this shit? Where is the adult supervision?
The folders color change is what I noticed in the first minute after upgrading. God knows what other unnecessary tweaks were made!
I was also just upgraded to 56.0 and there is no sign of the automatic conversion to 64 bit, despite promises on the Mozilla website.
And yes, I also have grey folders now instead of yellow. Seems like someone has too much time on their hands.
I already need to click three or four times more to open my bookmark panel, because of Firefox last upgrade to v.55 (and some add-on I use). Now grey bookmark folders ? Someone needs to be shot.
Bookmark management is already a train wreck in Firefox, now they want to paint it grey to add insult to injury ? This is outrageous. This is Microsofty. This has to stop.
You can simply add a small bit of CSS code to a userChrome.css file as instructed in https://support.mozilla.org/questions/1178010 in order to change colors in 56 and up. This will take less than a minute, and you’ll be amazed to see what it can offer.
Note that Bookmarks Folder Toolbar icons will also change in 57 – this is covered in the script code provided.