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Firefox Using a Ton of Memory

By papercut_2008 ยท 11 replies
Mar 25, 2008
  1. I've read that it's normal for Firefox to use a ton of RAM, but is there any way to limit how much it uses? When i'm running it, it will use upwards of 94% of my RAM, and slows my computer to a crawl. I've tried disabling add-ons, but that only postponed it.

    * Dell Inspiron 1520
    - 2Ghz Core2
    - 256MB 8600M GT
    - 1GB RAM
    - Vista Home Premium (32)
  2. Whiffen

    Whiffen TS Rookie Posts: 235

    Thats weird, Firefox can use a lot at times but I haven't ever seen it do something like that. I also have 1GB of memory, or ram, which I think gives a total of 1,046,956 K. Firefox for me uses up 55,000 K of that, so thats about 5% of my memory.

    Try doing some of these things.


    If that doesn't work,


    Maybe even a fresh install of Firefox could help.

    Its probably a good idea, unless you need the information, to go into tools in Firefox and click Clear private data every once in awhile (select cookies too ;D)

    I hear that Mozilla's Firefox 3 beta uses less memory if you wanted to try that as well.

  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    accessing Techspot, my FF is using 39mb :)

    evaluate from a clean environment;
    1. reboot
    2. start Firefox from a command line
    3. look at the Taskmgr for memory used

    get a command prompt and enter
    "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" http://www.google.com
    notice, mine is installed in Program Files -- adjust the above to match your install location.

    Use the google URL, as this is very light weight page and loads very little and therefore
    will not be influenced by scripts, links and 'junk'

    This will be your baseline environment for FF. Other sites WILL load a ton of other

    Please document your home-page and the Addons you are using.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    Is it reproducable? How quickly do you get to that usage? That amount is entirely unacceptable.

    If it happens over the course of hundreds of tab opening and closing and over a couple days then I'd say thats just par for the course when you run Firefox. I'd say give the latest beta of 3 a shot and hope your extensions work, supposedly FF3 is much better about not going crazy with your RAM.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    try using a program like freeram pro.
    it's free.

    I haven't had any issues with FF using obscene amounts of ram, but I also use FR pro.
  6. papercut_2008

    papercut_2008 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 51

    Does FR Pro work w/ vista? the site doesn't list it.
  7. papercut_2008

    papercut_2008 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 51

    beta seems to be holding steady for now. peaked at about 150mb under extreme testing (opening a bunch of pages at once), and hovers at about 50-60mb.
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    I would guess it was some addon or a plugin that leaked memory.

    It is perfectly normal and desirable to use almost all of your RAM at all times. What would be the point of it if it just sat there doing nothing? It is only when actively running programs are forced to use the swapfile when problems start.
  9. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    This memory problem in Firefox has been ongoing in the three years I've been using Firefox. Each time I update, I hope it will improve but it has not.

    When I see it getting close to or over 100,000KB, I close and reopen to about 48,000KB.

    This has been discussed over and over but continues. I haven't been able to pin it down to anything specific, including length of time it's open.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    Please describe how you test the symptom and SPECIFICALLY which urls you access.

    Do you open each to a new TAB or a new WINDOW?
  11. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    FYI, I have 11 tabs going now in Firefox and memory is 94,000KB> I open homepage with 6 tabs and there's no correlation between the number of tabs and the memory use that I've been able to find.

    " it will use upwards of 94% of my RAM" I have a feeling that she is looking at the CPU usage given on the bottom of the Task Manager. CPU and memory usage are not the same. Memory is determined by looking in the memory column and it is given in KB, not %.

    I am using 100% of my CPU now with the 11 tabs in Firefox and my email minimized. Mixing up the CPU use and memory is a common problem. Just note the units of measurements and you'll know what's being referred to.
  12. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    Firefox is a derived product from the original Netscape source code. Both have had
    a history of memory leaks! :(

    The recent 2.x versions are massive rewrites with an eye to solving this issue,
    so there are cases where I would expect:
    • FF 1.x browsers to have significant issues with memory
    • FF 2.x to be better
    • and some release 2.z to solve this issue
    The problem with memory leaks is one has to find the exact sequence that causes the
    problem and with such rich html, scripts, and css, the permutations are phenomenal .
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