Mozilla releases Firefox 7.0, improves memory usage

By on September 27, 2011, 11:30 AM

Mozilla has released the final build of Firefox 7.0 for Windows, Mac and Linux today. The latest stable release is said to correct an issue that has plagued the browser over the past several iterations, resulting in a faster and more responsive web experience.

Firefox has been plagued with memory leak issues for years and the team at Mozilla finally addressed this in Firefox 7. MemShrink is an initiative that began in June to eradicate the browser's memory inconsistencies.

One aspect of MemShrink is better Javascript garbage collection. It's said to work more frequently now and should free up more memory when multiple tabs are open. This also means you can leave the browser running in the background and it will automatically free up unused memory, something that many previous versions were not capable of.

Users should expect Firefox 7 to be more stable than previous releases. This has to do with fewer OOMs, whether due to address space exhaustion or otherwise. This will result in fewer crashes due to mishandling of OOM or aborts.

Mozilla developer Nicholas Nethercote claims that Firefox 7 uses less memory than the past three versions, between 20 and 50 percent less in some instances.

Other minor changes include dropping http:// from the awesome bar and shading the sub-domain section of a URL a lighter grey. Firefox Sync now processes password and bookmark changes faster as well.

You can download a copy of Firefox 7 by clicking here. More adventurous users can try Firefox Aurora v8 or Firefox v9 (Nightly) although these are only recommended for experienced users or developers.

User Comments: 40

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Guest said:

Finally a version of Firefox that won't hog all my ram.older version have used up 1gb of my ram with only 3 tabs open

Guest said:

Firefox is now the second fastest browser, behind Opera. Chrome being the slowest of the 4 mainstream browsers. See speed tests:

Night Hacker Night Hacker said:

Very nice, this is long overdue.

Guest said:

Finally a quick fox. Firefox 6 version had a lot of problems with add-ons. Now 7 is great.

Nima304 said:

This is amazing. Barely using any RAM now.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Fixing the RAM issue years ago would have been nice. Now its fixed when you can get 16GB of RAM for $90.

Siavash Siavash said:

Nice, reduced mem usage around 10% for me.

Guest said:

Checked out the FF 7 and it is quite lean and fast, Love it.

Guest said:

Just updated and still uses 1GB of RAM...:-(

Guest said:

Finally a version of Firefox that makes bold unsubstantiated claims about using less memory.

Guest said:

It's as bloated as ever on my Win XP laptop... had been hoping for some dramatic or even noticeable reduction in memory usage, but if anything, it takes up more memory than before.

Guest said:

See the speed results on Lifehacker. If you're not getting the same results, try a clean install and reconsider some of your extensions as one or two of them may be the culprit. Firefox 7 is blazing fast for me with Adblock Plus of course. Definitely putting Chrome to shame.

Guest said:

Who cares about memory usage? 16GB is less than $100...

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Who cares about memory usage? 16GB is less than $100...

Not all systems support 16GB or have systems with readily upgradable memory. Memory upgrades from a number of OEMs is tantamount to highway robbery. Likewise most people aren't running new systems, a number with "only" 4GB or even less. On the other side of the coin having a stupid huge amount of tabs open and or certain add ons will eat memory like nobodies business.

So having a smaller footprint is better for everyone, and lets the FF dev team say "okay we did something to help, it's your turn add-on devs to optimize your code/memory usage."

Or so we hope.

Guest said:

The 'buy more RAM because it's cheap' argument is bs.

If it's so cheap, then these people wont mind paying me for my RAM upgrade. No?

Then be silent.

1977TA said:

Not sure what you Guests got going on, I'm running 5 tabs various sites Win7 FF7 is only using 125megs, on a POS Dell work laptop. If it's using 1 gig you might have some other issues going on with your system.

Guest said:

3 tabs open, a few addons installed (noscript, adblock, flashblock come to mind). 340MB usage. Depends on the sites and addons you have...

gobbybobby said:

FF always been a massive memory user, particually with lots of add ons or tabs, downloaded the new update, performence better, and not getting the stupid adobe flash plugin crash anymore.

Guest said:

Ran the Firefox can't access the internet! Yay! >:F

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Who cares about memory usage? 16GB is less than $100...

I know, I said almost the exact same thing hours before you.

@madboyv1 - I get your point. In my post though I was saying that FF has had runaway RAM problems for years and years, and when they finally fix it, huge RAM usage really isn't the problem it used to be. Using a gig of RAM now is much less devastating than it was 4 or 5 years ago.

Guest said:

Beware of Thunderbird 7. Upon upgrade from 6 it wiped all my appointments and tasks. Nice work Mozilla.

aj_the_kidd said:

Could be just me or my system but the last couple of updates seem to have faster load times, so yay

Guest said:

In 1996 I ran Windows 95 with 96MB of RAM. In 1998 I ran Windows 98 with 128MB of RAM which was later upgraded in 2000 to 256MB. In 2002 I ran Windows XP with 386MB of ram which was upgraded in 2003 to 768MB of RAM, then again in 2005 to 1.5GB, then in 2007 to 4GB. I stuck with 4GB when I moved to Windows 7 in 2009. In late 2010 I upgraded to 8GB of RAM.

Lets look at this:

1996 - 96MB

1998 - 256MB

2002 - 386MB

2003 - 768MB

2005 - 1536MB

2007 - 4096MB

2010 - 8192MB

I don't know what you guys are talking about. Do you not see a pattern here? We're not lowering our memory usage, we're using more and more. Get used to it. You're using a FREE software, at least spend a few dollars and upgrade your hardware. RAM is dirt cheap. People getting mad at a company offering FREE software because it's using too much memory, cheapskates.

caravel said:

Firefox 6 Windows XP (at work) here, 1 tab open (this one) using around 220MB of RAM at the moment. 3 add ons installed - noscript, adblock and status-4-evar.

//edit: Firefox 7 Windows XP now, 1 tab open (this one) now using 110MB... same add ons installed.

This is obviously compelling scientific evidence that 7 uses less memory than 6...

No it's not. Firefox builds up a page cache so that you can hit the back button and go back to where you were before... this means that the observation that my firefox is using 200MB and someone else's is using 1GB is irrelevant and pointless - the memory footprint grows as you browse... To check memory usage you would need identical systems with identical add ons browsing exactly the same sites, etc. So really it's all just blahblahblahblah...

//edit2: To prevent Firefox using so much memory go to edit -> preferences (Windows: tools -> options) -> advanced -> network and override the cache management to specify how much you want to use. It also tells you how big the cache currently is.

Tgard said:

Using Firefox 3.6.22 here with 5 open tabs and 23 add-ons. I am using 228,476 meg of ram on Windows 7 64. Where is the problem? Can't imagine it would be much better with FF7, although I am sure it would be a bit quicker on load times as FF6 portable seems to be. I just don't care for the layout of the new firefox's. Have played around lots with FF6 portable and I am still trying to get used to it. Guess I will eventually upgrade or be forced to upgrade, just hope it's not any time soon.

Guest said:

After doing the upgrade to 7.0, I started getting memory usage warnings from AVG. Turns out Firefox is now using 470 - 520 MB ram on the Windows 7 system I use here at work. I'm working on reducing it, but I sure wasn't seeing a MemShrink, lol.... Love Firefox, btw...

Guest said:

Well it wasn't FF's fault of course - turned out to be a couple of misbehaving add-ons that probably weren't following garbage collection rules or something. Now FF is at 68MB...

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Firefox builds up a page cache so that you can hit the back button and go back to where you were before... this means that the observation that my firefox is using 200MB and someone else's is using 1GB is irrelevant and pointless - the memory footprint grows as you browse... To check memory usage you would need identical systems with identical add ons browsing exactly the same sites, etc. So really it's all just blahblahblahblah...

Thanks Caravel - so many people seem to lose site of that. A majority of the memory usage is based on your browsing habits.

Guest said:

The time you spend complaining on forums and news sites you could be working to make $30 to buy more ram. Lazy cheapos.

Guest said:

Nothing changed in my daily use. Was consuming ~ 500 Mb RAM with version 6, it is consuming ~ 500 Mb RAM with version 7.

pmshah said:

Initially even I reverted to version 3.6 after trying version 4 for just a couple of hours. Then I started reading up on the subject and finally managed to get it to look and feel just like 3.6 with which I was very comfortable.

Only grouse I have is that half the time my addons turn out to be non-compatible. The one I need the most -FEBE - simply does not exit once it is done. Although less frequently - it still misbehaves. Quite often it willsimply go into the background when I close it. I have to use IBProcMan from old times to actually kill the process so that I can start it again when I need it!.

Guest said:

As someone else said above, did it ever cross your mind that perhaps some people have reached their system's memory limit? Unless you didn't know, motherboards don't support limitless amount of RAM.

Guest said:

Sorry but Firefox 7.0 solved nothing.

I'm running a Windows 64bit machine with 16GB of memory so I could care less about memory usage generally but Firefox 7.0 is still using 200mb with all of the plugins disabled.

If it keeps doing it and they don't solve it or at the very least ADMIT there's a problem, I'll switch to Google Chrome or just use MS IE 9.0.

Neither use anywhere close to this Open Source Crap Firefox 7.0 and 6.0 before it.

How does an otherwise good product like Firefox turn into a huge piece of crap within a few months?

Guest said:

Dear Guest before me blaming it on people machines, trust me, I've been doing this for over 30 years and Firefox 7.0 and Firefox 6.0 before it, have a huge problem with memory usage leaks and it's still not been resolved ....

The browser starts out using about 74mb and within 1-5 minutes it's using 200MB or more.

Guest said:

LOL, Firefox 7.0 is now using 310MB of memory.

It starts at about 74mb and just climbs and climbs and climbs. This started in one of the 6.0 updates. prior to the initial 6.0, I had no issues.

The problem I have is they won't ADMIT there's a problem.

I've disabled evry freaking plugion, clear every thing under the sun and still ridicoulous climbing memeory leaks even with 7.0

I never thought i'd ever say this but I'm going back to Microsoft IE 9.0, it's stable and uses about 74mb consistently

Guest said:

Yeah... you might want to try Opera or Chrome before going back to IE. Don't forget that IE is interlinked with the OS, so it will ALWAYS be much more vulnerable than other browsers, no matter how "secure" they make IE itself.

Nefertiti said:

I've had huge issues with Firefox 6: I usually have two windows open with each 5-15 tabs at all times, and no matter how many tabs you close and open, the memory climbs up until changing tabs jams up Firefox for a couple seconds each time. In the process, it would go up to 1.4gb if I didn't close it for two days. Mind you, I had the problem both at work (16gb of RAM) and at home (8gb RAM), and it doesn't matter how much RAM you have in your computer; at some point Firefox itself just can't seem to handle it until it just crashes. So no, buying extra RAM means nothing in this instance.

I've only been on Firefox 7 since this morning, and it's up to 676 mb already, but it's still smooth. Hopefully the issue is fixed, otherwise this could be the beginning of the end for Firefox. I can't deal with it jamming every time I open or close a new tab, it's a nightmare. They are rapidly losing to Chrome, and I suspect this might be the number one reason why.

They REALLY need to step it up, or get eaten up by the competition.

Guest said:

Yes mine too, its using over a Gig of memory and slow...

Guest said:

Firefox 7 seems worse than Firefox 6 for me. Back to getting regular crashes caused by memory leaks. Very disappointing.

Guest said:

i'm using FF8 in Lubuntu 11.10 and it is abyssmal in performance. i keep having to kill it in task manager because inside 30mins it has hogged about 800-950MB ...

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