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Google automatically switches 32-bit Chrome to 64-bit

Google automatically switches 32-bit Chrome to 64-bit

The latest stable release of Google's Chrome browser will automatically switch to the 64-bit build for anyone running the 32-bit version on a 64-bit Windows box with more than 4GB of RAM.

Google has announced that it has begun automatically switching those who run the 32-bit version of its Chrome browser on a 64-bit Windows install to the matching 64-bit version as a means of improving performance and security.

When running a 64-bit operating system, the best performance comes from running applications also compiled for a 64-bit processor. It's not a requirement, however: With the right 32-bit libraries installed, any 64-bit operating system is free to run 32-bit - or even 16-bit and 8-bit, should libraries exist - code. Doing so, however, typically locks users out of more advanced features of their processor and reduces performance, while for software as notoriously memory-hungry as Google's Chrome browser can also restrict each thread to a maximum of 4GB of RAM regardless of how much is installed in the system.

From this week, however, the days of 32-bit Chrome on 64-bit Windows are numbered. Following release 58.0.3029.96, which is being rolled out now for automatic download and installation, Chrome will detect if it is running a 32-bit version on 64-bit Windows and check to see if the host system has more than 4GB of RAM; should that prove to be the case, Chrome will automatically download and install the 64-bit build and upgrade itself in-place, migrating users without notification.

'In order to improve stability, performance, and security, users who are currently on 32-bit version of Chrome, and 64-bit Windows with 4GB or more of memory and auto-update enabled will be automatically migrated to 64-bit Chrome during this update,' explained Google's Chrome staff in a blog post. '32-bit Chrome will still be available via the Chrome download page.'

Thus far, Google hasn't indicated plans to force similar upgrades on other operating systems - likely as 32-bit-on-64-bit installations of Chrome on macOS and Linux are significantly less common.

12 Comments

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jcb121 4th May 2017, 11:47 Quote
now it can have all the rams
edzieba 4th May 2017, 12:54 Quote
I view 32bit Chrome's limitation to 4GB as a feature, not a bug. Forcibly prevents the memory leaks from eating up all 16GB.
Cheapskate 4th May 2017, 16:37 Quote
Thanks. I always like to know that my Mom's laptop is going to crap out. At least this time I already know why.
2017, and we still don't have enough memory to open a web page, FFS.
jrs77 4th May 2017, 16:38 Quote
Very bad move there. Never change anything automatically. There's alot of users, who chose to use the 32bit version intstead of the 64bit, due to plugins and whatnot.

But what would you expect from these big companies anyways... they're all similarily as bad and don't respect their customers.
B1GBUD 4th May 2017, 17:34 Quote
Can someone explain how it's supposed to improve security?
dstarr3 4th May 2017, 18:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
Can someone explain how it's supposed to improve security?

Chrome uses so much memory because it sandboxes each individual tab. If you run out of memory, Chrome might stop sandboxing tabs, making them much more vulnerable to attack. If you expand the memory available to Chrome, it can sandbox more tabs.
TimB 4th May 2017, 18:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
I view 32bit Chrome's limitation to 4GB as a feature, not a bug. Forcibly prevents the memory leaks from eating up all 16GB.

Even a 32bit app can eat up 16GBs of memory when it has leaks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Very bad move there. Never change anything automatically. There's alot of users, who chose to use the 32bit version intstead of the 64bit, due to plugins and whatnot.

But what would you expect from these big companies anyways... they're all similarily as bad and don't respect their customers.

Sometimes the only way to affect change is to force it. Plugin developers have had over a decade to make the move to 64bit.
jrs77 4th May 2017, 19:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimB
Sometimes the only way to affect change is to force it. Plugin developers have had over a decade to make the move to 32bit.

Sometimes change isn't needed.
Gareth Halfacree 4th May 2017, 21:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
Can someone explain how it's supposed to improve security?
Where to start? Data Execution Prevention (DEP) by default, whereas it's disabled by default for 32-bit applications; Structured Exception Handling Overwrite Protection (SEHOP), again on by default for 64-bit applications and disabled by default for 32-bit applications; beefed-up Address Space Layout Randomisation (ASLR) with a massively bigger address space to hide things in; Kernel Patch Prevention (KPP), or PatchGuard; Code Integrity checking; and to quote Microsoft on the benefits of 64-bit Edge, "When Microsoft Edge runs on a 64-bit PC, it runs only 64-bit processes, which are much more secure against exploits."
Dr. Coin 4th May 2017, 22:47 Quote
I have no strong opinions on this move by Google, but I am wonder what would happen following a system upgrade where a computer goes from less than to more than 4 Gb of RAM? Will Chrome auto switch versions?
wolfticket 6th May 2017, 15:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Coin
I have no strong opinions on this move by Google, but I am wonder what would happen following a system upgrade where a computer goes from less than to more than 4 Gb of RAM? Will Chrome auto switch versions?
It'll probably just switch versions the next time it silently updates.

http://forums.bit-tech.net/picture.php?albumid=78&pictureid=55186
Paradigm Shifter 7th May 2017, 05:44 Quote
Well, I finally switched to 64-bit Firefox the other day (I use Chrome, but not as my daily driver as I just don't like it very much) so I won't be sorry to see Chrome switch too.
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