5 November 2019

Thunderbird 64-bitFor 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:

  1. 64-bit apps can access WAAAAY more memory
  2. 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:

Thunderbird - All Downloads
On the next page, scrolls down and find your preferred language. Then, click the Windows-y down arrow with a “64” on it, like so:

Thunderbird - 64-bit Download
After the 64-bit installer is done downloading, close Thunderbird. Then, just run the installer!

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:

Thunderbird - About, Step 1
Next, click About Thunderbird:

Thunderbird - About, Step 2
And… ta-DA! It should show that you are running the 64-bit version:

Thunderbird - About - 64-bit
Aaaaand you’re done. Let me know how it goes if you make the switch!

Get Scottie Stuff!
Upgrade to Thunderbird 64-bit, and go supersonic!
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8 thoughts on “Upgrade to Thunderbird 64-bit, and go supersonic!

  • 5 November 2019 at 12:01
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    Thunderbird is a nice program until you have ~40 GB of mail serverside. For me TB became very slow and often put a 100% load on one of CPU cores. I really loved it but had to switch to browser-based interface in the end. And yeah, I was using 64-bit build for a long time.

    Reply
    • 5 November 2019 at 12:18
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      Ah yes… In that case, I had to delete some old messages, or move them into the “Archives” folder.

      That cleared up the problem for me. Apparently, the Archives folder is sort of “offline” until you access it, which restores Tbird’s zippiness.

      That was on the Windows version, anyway.

      Reply
  • 5 November 2019 at 13:41
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    That was a very quick and easy install/upgrade!, Thank you! 🙂

    Reply
  • 5 November 2019 at 16:29
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    Well i got an error message as soon as I finished the installation saying something like:
    Impossible to connect to the IMAP servor. Maybe you have too many connexions ???

    Reply
    • 6 November 2019 at 18:02
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      Found the solution for the IMAP bug. The problem was with the addons Lightning. I had to remove it and restart Thunderbird and everything seem OK now.

      Reply
      • 6 November 2019 at 21:02
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        Weird… Lightning is supposed to update itself with the new version of Tbird. Also not sure why it would cause a problem with IMAP, but who knows.

        Glad it’s working again!

        Reply
  • 5 November 2019 at 17:18
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    They have Outlook in 64 too, a trillion and a half times better

    Reply
  • 5 November 2019 at 17:32
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    I remember having this years ago on my windows P.C, i then went down the Apple route and totally forgot about it, i just installed it on my mac, works like a charm, thanks for the reminder👍

    Reply

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