Windows has managed to do a pretty good job of putting together the x64 version’s emulation mode (WoW64) and I’ve had no experiences where 32-bit software wouldn’t run as expected. Device drivers though, is a big one. Don’t you dare go putting x86 device drivers on your x64 machine. However, x86 64-bit systems often lack alternative software to those that are written specifically for 32-bit architectures. So here I am with three solutions that ought to put you on to some brand new, 64-bit compatible freeware goodies. Chances are, those of you who are buying a brand new computer in the next year will be getting your hands on something running a 64-bit operating system. x64 has its pros and cons, but it is the future. Not even the strongest personal complaint about software incompatibility is going to be enough to bring technology to a halt!
Just a note before jumping in: All three of these websites are very trustworthy and I have experiences with them all. Feel free to check their WoT ratings if you’d like a third-party opinion. However, I do not personally support downloading software from anywhere but the software’s original website. Too many websites wrap their downloads with garbage, and though these don’t I’d still recommend that you search up and navigate to the author’s site and download the programs from there. Just a safety practice!
Start64! is one of the most trusted repositories for updated software compatible with 64-bit systems. Those of you who have been really laying it on me about now posting much about OSX will be pleased as Start64! has a whole section set aside for Apple fans.
The site is very easy to navigate, which is something I’ll always be a fan of. The listings are clear, large, and include a short summary of the software.
Each and every listing includes live screenshots and an easy-to-read recap of the program’s features. They make it very clear in just about every specific software’s listing that the software is 64-bit compatible and go as far as to list OS compatibilities overall. If you read my warning earlier (which I hope you did) then you don’t have to worry about Start64! because they send you directly to the website the software originates from for downloads instead of making you jump through hoops.
This website can be a little confusing at first and I’m not crazy over the design and listing layout, but it’ll get the job done. The site is used best when checking their top software listings, or their categorical ones:
- Communication Software
- Developer Tools
- File Management
- Graphic Software
- Internet and Network Software
- Security Software
Software display pages are a little bit “meh” but again, gets the job done. Never been a fan of websites that allow open comments and a bleak rating system, but 64x Software does have a vast range of 64-bit compatible software.
X 64-bit Download has that Download.com feel to it and I’d suggest it for the more novice user. My recommended landing pages would be at their featured and top pages (though I’m unsure of the difference). I’ve used both to find some of the better software listed here.
The site has a lot of information per software, and just as many ads. Gets a little annoying, but this is a safe website.
They’ve got software separated by category and from my experiences I do believe this is a website that features only Windows software. Sorry guys. Downloads are hosted on their servers so consider my warning earlier. Again, safe site but don’t mind me trying to condition you to be a paranoid downloader!
You can find some of the 64-bit architecture’s best software using these websites, but remember that dabbling in the world of 32-bit applications isn’t going to harm your system either. We’ve got a whole lot of articles that can help you find the software you’re looking for.