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Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby HouseCrowd » Tue May 26, 2009 7:47 am

Thought I'd share this for anyone who experiences the old recurring Firefox memory leak issue.

To be fair to Mozilla a lot of these issues are probably caused by add-ons (I use a fair number of add-ons myself, and I haven't bothered disabling each and every one of them individually to diagnose this), but this issue does seem to get fixed every so often, then another FF update later, it's back again.

I have found that this is a great workaround, and it saves having to restart FireFox each time it runs away with your RAM.

This config makes FF release/trim RAM each time you minimise all your FF windows. This is also good for freeing up RAM without losing pages you are browsing. Just open Task Manager to see the results - I usually see FF memory usage drop from 200MB+ (and sometimes over 600MB!) to around 20MB when minimised :)

This is the setting:
http://kb.mozillazine.org/Config.trim_on_minimize

It doesn't exist by default, so here's what to do to add it:

    1) Go to about:config (in the FF address bar)
    2) Right-click somewhere on the list and select New -> Boolean
    3) Enter config.trim_on_minimize and set its value to True
    4) Restart Firefox

In theory, this should make Firefox slower to minimise/restore, but I find there is no noticeable lack of performance.
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby jefffisher » Tue May 26, 2009 10:11 am

this didn't work for my firefox
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby GrymRpr » Tue May 26, 2009 10:31 am

This Hack & others: maketecheasier.com - 28 Coolest Firefox About:Config Tricks

Always Back up your settings first :wink:
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby Fartingbob » Tue May 26, 2009 10:53 am

My 4GB of RAM laughs at FF's memory leaks!
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby HouseCrowd » Wed May 27, 2009 6:57 am

Fartingbob wrote:My 4GB of RAM laughs at FF's memory leaks!


I have oodles or RAM too, but if you've got a leak, it matters not how much RAM you've got - It'll just take a little longer to fill it. I'm talking about the type of leak that consumes more and more memory by the second even if Firefox is not opening anything new. Also, when Firefox is consuming 600MB+ (and counting), the PC performance will be noticeably affected.

Ignoring such a leak because you have plenty of RAM would be like ignoring a leaky roof because you have a large bucket underneath it. How ever big the bucket, sooner or later it's gonna get full. This config setting doesn't fix the leaky roof, but it does allow you to empty the bucket easily and quickly.


jefffisher wrote:this didn't work for my firefox

Make sure you restart Firefox after applying it, and that you've entered the config command exactly as shown. There's no real noticeable difference in the operation of Firefox afterwards, but you should find that if Firefox is using large amounts of RAM (200MB+ for example) even though you have very few pages open, by minimising it the RAM useage should drop significantly (use Task Manager to verify that it's working).

GrymRpr wrote:This Hack & others: maketecheasier.com - 28 Coolest Firefox About:Config Tricks

Always Back up your settings first :wink:


Good link :toast:

I didn't expect this to be a revelation to be honest - In fact I found a few sites mentioning it myself - but I thought it was worth posting for anyone who hadn't yet discovered it.
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby multivariable » Thu May 28, 2009 12:05 am

Thanks for this one HC. Works good for me. :toast:

My bucket seems to fill straight back up again within a minute or so, though...
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby SwordOfZork » Thu May 28, 2009 12:30 am

HouseCrowd wrote:Also, when Firefox is consuming 600MB+ (and counting)


Does that actually happen to anyone? I use firefox with over a dozen extenions, several plugins, have tons of tabs open, and sometime leave it open for weeks at a time, and 250MB seems to be the worst it ever gets.
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby napho » Thu May 28, 2009 5:09 am

I think that might only work for V2 and earlier.
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby HouseCrowd » Thu May 28, 2009 6:37 am

Nope, works fine in V3 napho :)

multivariable wrote:
My bucket seems to fill straight back up again within a minute or so, though...


Well, if the memory usage is justified and stable, it will. Although, even then, I find this config useful, since it frees up some memory while FF is minimised and not in use. I'm talking about those times when something causes FF to become unstable. ie, when the PC slows down and you can see the memory usage climbing up and up for no apparent reason. When that happens, I just momentarily minimise FF and the memory gets released.

SwordOfZork wrote:
HouseCrowd wrote:Also, when Firefox is consuming 600MB+ (and counting)


Does that actually happen to anyone? I use firefox with over a dozen extenions, several plugins, have tons of tabs open, and sometime leave it open for weeks at a time, and 250MB seems to be the worst it ever gets.


Quite often for me. I use a lot of web developer add-ons though, such as Firebug, FireFTP and the Web Developer Toolbar which do seem a tad buggy at times. I think it also depends on the amount of available RAM you have. The increasing memory consumption seems to hit a ceiling eventually, so if you don't have a lot of available RAM to begin with, you'll never see it hit 600MB+.
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby napho » Thu May 28, 2009 8:03 am

[quote="HouseCrowd"]Nope, works fine in V3 napho :)



At least it works for someone. I used to see it reduce usage from 225MB down to 50 when minimized, now it goes from 300 to 299.
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby SleepyOne » Thu May 28, 2009 8:44 am

For me it typically goes from 150 MB to 10 MB.
Works great IMO :)
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby zbeast » Thu May 28, 2009 12:15 pm

If you look at lots of flash files and movies in the broser.
The cute little fox becomes a fat cow. I've had fox leaks as larget as 1.2 gig's..
When she get's that big .. the program for the most part stops responding, I have to kill it in the
task mananger. I run a lot of plug-in's..
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby hazelir » Sat May 30, 2009 5:21 am

How to get Mozilla firefox in the the quick start bar? I want the mozilla firefox icon to be placed in the quick start bar( i think that;s what it's called). I'm talking about the bottom left of the screen. I want it there. thanks!
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Re: Firefox Memory Leak workaround tip

Postby HouseCrowd » Sat May 30, 2009 7:02 am

hazelir wrote:How to get Mozilla firefox in the the quick start bar? I want the mozilla firefox icon to be placed in the quick start bar( i think that;s what it's called). I'm talking about the bottom left of the screen. I want it there. thanks!


If you mean 'Quick Launch' ... Just drag and drop the icon there.
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