Firefox is causing 100% disk utilization on Windows 10 Pro PC
Beginning about a month ago, I started noticing that Firefox was causing disk utilization on my Windows 10 Pro PC to go up to 100 % disk utilization and stay there for 2 or 3 minutes. My PC was timing out on other applications. Eventually it would return to normal levels but as I'd continue to use it and open additional tabs and windows of Firefox, the problem would repeat and get worse.
As time went on, I started getting to periods where the PC would become completely unresponsive and the disk utilization would to to 100% and stay there for 10+ minutes. I'd be forced to do a shutdown/restart but that might take as long as 15 minutes to shutdown.
Firefox (64 bit) v107.0 is what's currently installed on my system. My PC is a Dell Precision desktop with 16 GB of memory and a 1 TB WD Blue SSD for the C: drive.
I did try the Firefox refresh but that had no effect.
I started using Chrome and do not have any disk usage issues with it. I've also used MS Edge as well and disk utilization stays at normal levels, even with 10 or more tabs or windows open simultaneously.
I searched online and have seen complaints about Firefox causing this problem but all those are from 3+ years ago. Nothing recent. One fix suggested uninstalling the 64 bit version and going with the 32 bit.
All Replies (3)
Firefox may use disk for caching during active browsing, for downloading, or if its memory usage is very high Windows may do a lot of writes to the swap/page file. If we assume that this is not caused by a huge download (you probably would notice because Taskbar icon gets a colored bar on it), and it isn't while you are actively loading pages or media yourself, then that would point to possible background uses.
Troubleshoot Mode Test
Could you test in Firefox's Troubleshoot Mode? In that mode, Firefox temporarily deactivates extensions, hardware acceleration, any userChrome.css/userContent.css files, and some other advanced features to help you assess whether these are causing the problem.
If Firefox is running:
You can restart Firefox in Troubleshoot Mode using either:
- "3-bar" menu button > Help > Troubleshoot Mode... (before Fx88: Restart with Add-ons Disabled)
- (menu bar) Help menu > Troubleshoot Mode... (before Fx88: Restart with Add-ons Disabled)
and OK the restart. A small dialog should appear. Click the Open button (before Fx88: "Start in Safe Mode" button).
If Firefox is not running:
Hold down the Shift key when starting Firefox. (On Mac, hold down the option/alt key instead of the Shift key.) A small dialog should appear. Click the Open button (before Fx88: "Start in Safe Mode" button).
Note: Don't use the Refresh without first reviewing this article to understand what will be deleted: Refresh Firefox - reset add-ons and settings.
Assuming Windows lets you do this, could you compare these:
(A) Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc), Details tab
You can click the Name column to get all the Firefox.exe processes together.
(B) The About Processes page
In Firefox, type or paste about:processes in the address bar and press Enter to load that page. It should show the same processes as the Windows Task Manager, along with information about what that process is doing in Firefox.
Can you spot either a problem process on the About Processes page -- whether a website or related to an add-on -- or do you find any Firefox processes in Task Manager that are NOT on the About Processes page?
Thanks for your suggestions. I tried them and didn't really see anything that stood out as an issue.
Comparing Firefox with Chrome and Edge, they all create a bunch of processes.
I finally decided to uninstall Firefox. I saved the bookmarks first. Then went to the Firefox Profile folder and renamed the profile files by adding .save to the end of the names. Same thing with the profiles and installs .ini files.
I then launched Firefox and imported the bookmarks files.
I've been running Firefox as I would normally and so far the issue has not re-occurred.
Prior to this re-installation, I had a number of extensions installed, mainly for doing screen captures of web pages and a couple of general utility type extensions.
The only extension I've re-installed is Roboform, which I use extensively.
I guess you could say I "weenied out". Rather than do the long trouble shooting route, I elected the easier route of mostly starting over.
Thank you for reporting back!