Firefox slowing you down? Fire up Firefox

Chrome is good, safari is fast and internet explorer sucks, but if you need the best of all worlds, then don’t think beyond firefox. I lately felt that firefox too is becoming a bit buggy and consumes lot of system memory and is slowing me down. Later I learned how to tweak firefox and literally fire it up.
The major reason for firefox slowing down is the amount of plugins add ons and toolbars that we use followed by the extensions and plugins. The major reason for the success of firefox is, it is 100% open source and we can keep improving it. We can download many plugins developed by individual developers to meet our specific requirements. There are thousands of such plugins, but if you keep many plugins, then it can slow firefox down. In this post let us see the major reasons for slowing down of firefox, high memory usage, firefox crashing frequently and firefox not responding (lot of issues with vista OS).
1) The first step is look out for installed toolbars, and if you have any other toolbars other than the built in toolbar, then uninstall them immediately. (go to control panel –> add or remove programs and then check the tool bar and uninstall, In case of vista go to Control Panel –> Programs–> uninstall a program).

2) Check your Extensions and themes:

If you have many themes or extensions installed in firefox, remove the unwanted ones. If you don’t know how to find it and remove it, then follow the steps

Follow these steps to check what is causing the abnormal memory usage:
a) Close your firefox browser
b) In case of older versions of windows click Start –> Run (In case of vista, you can type it directly in the start search)
c) Type in “firefox –safe-mode” (without the quotations)

d)    Just select the options displayed and if you click “Make Changes and Restart”, Firefox applies changes and restarts in normal mode.
e)    If you choose to select “Continue in Safe Mode” no settings will be applied.
f)    If you choose to “Exit” the browser will just exit without saving any settings.

3) Check for plugins:

To check for unwanted plugins, in the firefox menu bar click on tools –> Addons , then you will see this window


In the top of the box you can see plugins and extensions here, you can disable/uninstall all that you don’t want.

4) Clear Download History:

Keeping the Download History can cause extensive usage of memory and this can slow down or freeze Firefox.
a.    Delete the “downloads.rdf” file to clear the download history.
b)    You need to make a little change to the browser setting.  Here’s what you do:
c)    Open Firefox browser.
d)     From the menu bar, click Tools -> Options.
e)    Click Privacy.  Un-check the “Remember What I’ve downloaded” check box.

5) Simple and Important step

Restart you firefox occasionally, if you keep using the firefox window for a long time, then it may lead to slowing down of firefox.

6) Assign Memory Cache on Firefox:

One minor problem with Firefox is, it won’t use memory cache and uses system memory, it is good to assign a fixed memory cache to reduce the usage of memory. How to do it? (If you don’t want to experiment, then stop here. If you are willing to do a bit of technical work, then continue)

  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).

8. 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

If you have done all these stuff you can really speed up the firefox, but before doing anything just make sure that you have the latest version of firefox installed in your computer. Though you will get regular updates, you might have missed on the latest version of firefox. Get it here