Reduce Firefox memory consumption

April 21, 2007

Thanks Zolved.com

Most of the time, Firefox doesn’t use abnormal amount of system memory, however it does sometimes due to other sources, like number of plug-ins, themes and extensions. It is also highly recommended that you have the latest version of Firefox as the memory usage is minimized. If you want to download the latest copy of Firefox, click here.

Follow these steps to check what is causing the abnormal memory usage:

1. Check your Extensions and Themes

If you have a number of Extensions and Themes installed on your Firefox, try to minimize them, remove those which are not in use or you don’g really need. You can check it by opening Firefox in safe mode. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Close your Firefox browser.
  2. From the desktop, click Start > Run.
  3. Key in, firefox -safe-mode.
  4. You’ll see a new window called “Firefox Safe Mode“.
    • Just select the options displayed and if you click “Make Changes and Restart“, Firefox applies changes and restarts in normal mode.
    • If you choose to select “Continue in Safe Mode” no settings will be applied.
    • If you choose to “Exit” the browser will just exit without saving any settings.

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2. Check the Plug-ins

Firefox Plug-ins consume memory when in use. It is always important to check and update your plug-ins to the latest version. It is also good to uninstall all those plug-ins that are not in use.

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3. Clear Download History

Keeping the Download History can cause extensive usage of memory and this can slow down or freeze Firefox.

  1. Delete the “downloads.rdf” file to clear the download history.
  2. You need to make a little change to the browser setting. Here’s what you do:
  3. Open Firefox browser.
  4. From the menu bar, click Tools -> Options.
  5. Click Privacy. Un-check the “Remember What I’ve downloaded” check box.

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4. Restart Firefox Periodically

There might be a constant increase in the memory usage if you are using Firefox for a long period of time or handling multiple sessions.

  1. Consider restarting your browser periodically so that it can maintain a constant memory usage.
  2. Download and Install Session Manager Extension, which would save the current text data, history and cookies. It allows you to maintain the opened web pages when Firefox is closed.

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5. Assign Memory Cache on Firefox:

Firefox doesn’t use memory cache and uses system memory by default, it is good to assign a fixed memory cache to reduce the usage of memory. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Key in about:config in the address bar.
  3. Key in browser.cache.memory.enable in the Filter field.
  4. Ensure the value of the above item is set it true, if not, double-click on it to set it to true.
  5. Right-click in the browser and select New -> Integer from the pop-up.
  6. Key in, browser.cache.memory.capacity, click OK.
  7. You need to enter a value here and that value depends upon the RAM your computer has.
  8. if you have:
    1. 256MB RAM – Enter “4096“.
    2. 512MB RAM – Enter “8192“.
  9. Note: If you have 128MB or less RAM then you need to upgrade your RAM. It is not very expensive.

Important: If you want to restore to default settings then change browser.cache.memory.capacity value to -1 (minus 1).

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6. Release Memory when Firefox is minimized

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Key about:config in the address bar.
  3. Right-click in the browser and select New -> Boolean from the pop-up.
  4. In the popup box enter config.trim_on_minimize. Click OK.
  5. Select True and then click OK.
  6. Restart Firefox.

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