Firefox 64-bit Needed for Windows7 – NOW

I remember when I decided to move to Firefox over Internet Explorer. IE6 was not cutting it and Mozilla was showing promise. Add to it all the security issues for some projects I was working on and the plugins to test code. I never thought I would move away from Firefox at that point.

Until Windows7 64-bit.

Everyone talked about how Firefox crashed, and in all reality, I didn’t see that problem. That was until I hit 64 bit mode. Firefox is still a 32 bit application, so I expected a few crashes during the inception.

Then the crashes started happening a little more than usual. I would be working – especially on a page that housed Flash – and the system would stop responding. I would restore what I was working on, but the same process would happen again within minutes. Just the other day I had the browser crash 6 times in an hour – halting my work every time.

Add to it the memory it starts to eat up. I pulled up Task Manager and watched how – while I was doing nothing in the program – the system was allocating more memory for it. Now you might think that it was because of Flash or a plugin I had installed, but I turned off all plugins and was on my homepage – which is a page I created with nothing but HTML links.

I decided to look for a 64 bit version of Firefox. One area said they are not even thinking of going 64 – at least not until version 4. I did find the alternate projects to FF 64. I installed a program called “Minefield”, which made me nervous to begin with. Who names a testing platform “Minefield”?

Alas, it wasn’t any better. I had no Adobe flash and it crashed within a few pages.

I don’t get it. It’s the only 32 bit program that crashes on a regular basis. I even tried compatibility mode, but the browser would still stop responding.

The big issue was the memory hog it became. I went to the about:config option to try and find a key that would limit or release memory. There was none that I could find. I might have overlooked it – anything is possible. But as far as I know, nothing to change how it works memory.

I didn’t think this would be a big issue for Mozilla. 64 bit OS has been around for a couple years now, and they have Firefox 64 for Linux and Mac users. But not for PCs

Therefore, for now I am using Chrome on the main system. Since the laptop is still 32 bit Windows XP, Firefox will be the browser of choice on that machine. It doesn’t crash there. I personally don’t like Chrome, but if I had to order the browsers I would use and like, it would be Firefox, Chrome, Opera, IE and then Safari.

Still, I implore Mozilla to get on the 64 Bit kick and get this browser out. I also want you to try and figure out why Firefox eats memory like a high scoring Pac-Man game. I like the plan of going to the ribbon style menu, but if it still causes crashes, I’ll have no choice but to switch off Firefox. After all, I cannot start working in a browser that might stop responding, especially if I am in the middle of writing a blog post.

How I’m installing Windows 7

I have been really pondering this issue since the beginning. I have a relatively new machine that I installed less than 2 months ago: It’s working pretty nice in Windows XP land. However, it was a futile effort, because it was going to be assimilated to the new version once it came out. So the preparations were taking place since day 1.

The biggest thing was to back up the system. Now the old machine was cleaned up, and now it serves as part of the backup process. I also use an online service to backup important files off-site. It does the backup in the background and like I said – It’s off-site, so if the drive dies, or anything happens in the home, I can restore that data.

Finally, I used an Imaging program to make a duplicate copy of the C: drive as it is. The C: drive is only the Operating system. The data is on the D: drive, which is backed up via the off-site and old machine. This will just allow me to bring the computer back to the last thing I did on XP.

However, there is one more step here: I will switch out my C: drive with a fully blank hard drive. A SATA 80 GB drive is where the OS gets housed. By swapping the drive, I will have a clean drive separate from the XP partition. Further, I don’t want Windows7 to do anything to the XP side just yet – therefore I will be disconnecting that hard drive completely.

There is another partition I have, and that is a Ubuntu setup. Next week, the newest version of Ubuntu will be coming out, therefore I will be creating a new partition at that time. 3 separate hard drives for 3 Operating systems.

Now you might have a different setup, or don’t care to do 3 Operating systems, but I would highly suggest that if anything – get another drive to replace the one in your computer. It’s a great way to keep your old OS intact and when it’s all done, it can be added to another machine as a spare hard drive.

There is one more thing about this install – 32 bit or 64 OS. The new version of Windows7 comes with both. I got a computer that will work in 64 bit mode, the reality will boil down to whether the programs and hardware I run will work in the 64 bit OS. I will be starting with the 64 bit version and make the assessment to whether it will satisfy my need. Further, if I put on the Virtual XP mode, I should be able to run the programs that don’t work right in Windows7.

This process will be happening in the next 24-48 hours, once all the scheduled events will be taken care of. I don’t foresee any problems, but if I do have them, I have a full backup system in place. I also have a way to get back to normalcy if I need to.

Why Not Virtual XP on Ubuntu?

Last week Microsoft announced the upcoming Windows7 will have a Virtual XP option. You will then be able to use programs that do not work in the new OS.  So why shouldn’t Ubuntu do the same?

XP In UbuntuQEMU is a Open Source Machine Emulator. It is set so you can install another OS on a virtual window in Ubuntu. You can put on another instance – maybe an earlier version of Ubuntu or any version of Microsoft software.

So instead of upgrading to Windows7, you can install the Linux based Operating System, then put on an instance of XP to run programs. It will then allow you to finally have both systems for the full experience.

Of course, if you do this, your XP copy should be a legal one.  But if you were not moving your Office to Ubuntu because there were some programs that don’t work in that system, now you don’t have any excuse. Not all machines would get that virtual machine – only the ones that need XP functionality.

The best part is you get an OS, OpenOffice and a whole host of products to get business done.