For those of us who don’t like webmail because storing all our data in the The Cloud just seems like a Really Bad Idea, the best e-mail program available for puters is Thunderbird.
There’s only one problem: the default version you can download from Mozilla’s web site is still 32-bit.
Firefox – and pretty much every other piece of software out there – went 64-bit a long time ago.
So, how do you go 64-bit with Thunderbird? And why would you want to?
It’s official… ish
Beginning with Thunderbird version 68, the 64-bit download of the program is no longer hidden.
While it’s difficult to tell due to the severe lack of info available, it appears that 64-bit Thunderbird is now “mainstream” or “official” or whatever you want to call it.
I guess that means it’s ready!
Why you want 64-bit Tbird
There’s a lot of nonsense out there about the benefits of 64-bit applications.
There are 2 primary reasons why 64-bit apps are better than 32-bit apps:
- 64-bit apps can access WAAAAY more memory
- 64-bit apps run natively, without the WOW64 “translation layer” than lets 32-bit apps run on 64-bit Windows
Now, generally speaking, both of those reasons are good ones. And generally speaking, it means that the 64-bit version of any application will probably be a bit zippier, even though it might use a bit more RAM.
In fact, when 64-bit Firefox came out awhile ago, Mozilla itself touted that it was faster and crashed 39% less.
Um, yeah. That sounds good to me!
My experience of 64-bit Thunderbird
Well, for starters, I immediately saw that it’s noticeably faster! Switching folders, opening mails, filtering folders with lots of e-mail, compacting folders, repairing folders… everything just zooms.
That’s a welcome change from the increasingly sluggish experience that recent versions of Tbird have brought us.
Even my regular maintenance involving repairing and compacting folders is MUCH faster. You can read more about that trick in my earlier article: Quick Fix: Thunderbird hangs when deleting any message
And as for memory usage, it’s maybe 10% more than before. I expected a huge increase in RAM usage, but nope! It’s quite lean and mean even though it’s 64-bit.
How to upgrade to 64-bit Thunderbird
First, go to the Thunderbird homepage.
Instead of clicking the Free Download button, click Systems & Languages underneath it:
Even though it will appear that Tbird is just reinstalling (including installing itself in the Program Files (x86) directory), it will actually install the 64-bit version over your old 32-bit version.
Your profiles and e-mails should all be just fine when you fire up your shiny new Tbird.
Verify that you have 64-bit Tbird Installed
To check that you actually have the 64-bit version of Thunderbird, first click the hamburger button, and then click Help: