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Firefox 3.6.16 and 4.0 use more than 200 MB of RAM

I recently installed version Firefox 3.6.16 and 4.0 on a few machines. I find it starts out using about 120 MB of RAM. This grows to anywhere in the range of 175 MB to 250 MB within an hour or so. This happens both on Windows XP 32-bit and Windows 7 64-bit machines. It also happens in Firefox Safe mode, which seems to suggest it is Firefox and not the add-ons or extensions.

This seems excessive. Firefox also slows down with the increased memory consumption. The users rarely have more than about five tabs open.

I've seen an untested (by Mozilla) add-on called Memory Fox that promises to reduce memory consumption.

My questions:

* Is this memory usage abnormal in your experience?

* Do you have any suggestions for reducing it?

* Do you have any knowledge and recommendations regarding Memory Fox?

Thanks,
Pete
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Peter Bye
Asked:
Peter Bye
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2 Solutions
 
BillBondoCommented:
I read the plgin-container process messes things up. I disabled it on my machine as a seperate process thru the Mozilla browser itself. I think its in about:config.

http://kb.mozillazine.org/About:config
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BillBondoCommented:
You can stop plugins from loading in a separate "plugin-container" process by setting all dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.* preferences to false in about:config as explained here: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Plugin-container_and_out-of-process_plugins#Disabling_crash_protection 

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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Hi Bill,

I've tried this on one Windows 7 PC. It opened at 54 MB, a big improvement. Let's see how it does for a while.

Thanks,
Pete
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Unfortunately this suggestion does not seem to work. Within 45 minutes Firefox was back up to 235 MB on the Win 7 machine.
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gheistCommented:
Your windows memory usage is on par with Linux.

You can try http://kb.mozillazine.org/Reducing_memory_usage_%28Firefox%29
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QlemoC++ DeveloperCommented:
Well, that is a "feature" of Firefox, which accumulates memory allocated for all tabs and sites you have opened recently. Closing tabs does not deallocate all of that memory, and hence FF's memory footprint is growing. That is one of the reasons I changed to Google Chrome, which has a larger footprint overall, put frees the memory if you close a tab (because each tab is a separate process).
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Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
I appreciate the observations and benchmark comparisons, gheist and Qlemo.

The mozillazine link was not too useful - seems mostly old and general stuff.

It seems, though, that as you both suggest 'it is what it is.' I've seen FF get over 400 MB RAM. And while I visit a lot of sites I use very few tabs. It also seems to come back down although for the reasons you suggest it stays in the 150 MB to 250 MB range most of the time.

I may give Chrome a more-extensive try as well.

I suppose I'll close this and award points now. Thanks for your insights.

Pete
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gheistCommented:
Opera is also quite compact.
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