While 32-bit applications will run quite happily on a 64-bit operating system, only true 64-bit programs will take full advantage of it. They don't suffer the same memory restrictions and application performance usually gets a small speed boost as a result.

But where can you find 64-bit apps to go with your 64-bit OS? Look no further. We've put together a top 10 list of 64-bit apps, ranging from media players to web browsers, each one optimised for 64-bit systems. Check out our recommendations and see if any of your software needs an upgrade...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

VLC Media Player

Download VLC Media Player

VLC

This is the media player that can play anything – DVDs and video CDs, MP3, MOV and FLV files, DivX and H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC video, even Cinepak, Theora and Real Video.

In its 64-bit incarnation, VLC Media Player looks just as scruffy as the 32-bit original. But there's no better multimedia all-rounder, a Swiss Army Knife for media playback that beats switching between standalone Windows Media Player, QuickTime and DivX software.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Internet Explorer 10

Download Internet Explorer 10

Internet Explorer 10

Once the king of web browsers, Microsoft's Internet Explorer has suffered as the popularity of rival software (Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome) has grown. But with IE 10, Microsoft has got back into the game, improving the speed of its web engine.

It has also made the browser more secure by isolating tabs from each other – which also means that if one crashes then it shouldn't take down the rest. The 64-bit edition arguably offers the best version and it's noticeably faster than Internet Explorer 9.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WinRAR

Download WinRAR

WinRAR

If you've used the compression option baked into Windows, you'll know that it offers handy but basic file-shrinking functionality at best. A better option is the venerable WinRAR application. Launched back in 1993, this capable data squeezer can create compact RAR archives and open a wide array of other file types, including ZIP, CAB, ARJ, LZH, TAR, GZIP, ISO and 7-ZIP.

Recently updated with a new, more efficient algorithm plus 256-bit AES encryption, WinRAR is an essential app and is available in 32- and 64-bit versions.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Paragon Backup and Recovery Free Edition

Download Paragon Backup and Recovery Free Edition

Paragon

This 64-bit app answers the question: "How do I transfer the contents of my computer to another hard drive in the easiest way possible?" Paragon Backup and Recovery Free Edition speedily copies every directory and every file on a specified hard disk, including your operating system (so there's no need to reinstall it if you're upgrading your primary HDD).

The latest version of the software features full support for Windows 8 and embraces USB 3.0, solid-state storage and hard drives with over 2TB of space.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Microsoft Office 2013 - Professional Plus

Download Microsoft Office 2013 - Professional Plus

Office 2013

If you use your computer for business, then it's difficult to work without a copy of Microsoft Office installed. Like it or not, the world relies on Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and while there are some good alternatives (OpenOffice and Google Drive spring to mind), compatibility is ensured and formatting is retained when you work with Microsoft's software.

Still not sure? Take the 64-bit version of Microsoft Office 2013 for a test drive by downloading the 60-day demo.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

iTunes 11

Download iTunes 11

iTunes

While Apple's iTunes software isn't the slickest media player/manager available (in fact, you could argue it's downright clunky), it's the gateway to an unparalleled digital store filled with the latest music and movies, TV shows, books, apps and podcasts.

If you're running a 64-bit system, you might not know that there's a dedicated 64-bit version of iTunes available. It doesn't improve the ageing look and feel, but it does give Apple's software a little speed boost.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TeamSpeak 3

Download TeamSpeak 3

TeamSpeak

This clever communications system enables multiple users to talk to each other via VoIP chat – the online equivalent of a conference call. TeamSpeak 3 is aimed primarily at gamers, who can use it to maintain a group voice connection when playing tactical multiplayer games.