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Firefox runs four or five processes that consume so much memory that my computer eventually crashes. Is this normal? What can I do about it?

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When Firefox opens it starts with four or five running processes. As I use it, the memory consumed by these processes continuously grows until each one is running > 200,000 K of working memory. Eventually I get a warning that the computer is almost out of memory, and if I continue the computer freezes and I have to reboot the system. This has been going on for about six months -- never happened before that. Why does Firefox require so much memory, and why does this problem seem to be getting worse? Thank you.

When Firefox opens it starts with four or five running processes. As I use it, the memory consumed by these processes continuously grows until each one is running > 200,000 K of working memory. Eventually I get a warning that the computer is almost out of memory, and if I continue the computer freezes and I have to reboot the system. This has been going on for about six months -- never happened before that. Why does Firefox require so much memory, and why does this problem seem to be getting worse? Thank you.

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  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:61.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/61.0

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Shadow110 1072 solutions 14836 answers

Helpful Reply

Hi, up to total of all processes of 2gig is about max. Most of the time it should top out at 1.5gig. Each Extension uses roughly 25meg each.

To be Checked and turned off unless needed for accessibility : Please : go to the Firefox 3 Bar Menu --> Options --> Privacy & Security panel and under Permissions check (put a tick in the box) the setting to Prevent Accessibility Services from accessing your browser.

Multi-Processor Support : Go to the 3 Bar Menu then Options --> General --> Performance and untick everything. change the recommended size lower then see how it runs. Note: 1 = No Multiprocessor = slow again. Try 2 Restart Firefox after making these changes please. Note : Hardware Acceleration is for Video Card, Monitor to see if remain off or to turn back on.

Only Disable as last resort.

Multi-processor Can completely disable it this way in about:config : dom.ipc.processCount set to 1 browser.tabs.remote.autostart = false browser.tabs.remote.autostart.2 = false

Only move to esr if low ram and old system.

Firefox Extended Release Version : Firefox ESR does not come with the latest features but it has the latest security and stability fixes.

If do please :

Optimize Win7

Please let us know if this solved your issue or if need further assistance.

Hi, up to total of all processes of 2gig is about max. Most of the time it should top out at 1.5gig. Each Extension uses roughly 25meg each. '''''To be Checked and turned off unless needed for accessibility : ''''' Please : go to the Firefox 3 Bar Menu --> Options --> Privacy & Security panel and under Permissions check (put a tick in the box) the setting to Prevent Accessibility Services from accessing your browser. '''''Multi-Processor Support : ''''' Go to the 3 Bar Menu then Options --> General --> Performance and untick everything. change the recommended size lower then see how it runs. Note: 1 = No Multiprocessor = slow again. Try 2 Restart Firefox after making these changes please. Note : Hardware Acceleration is for Video Card, Monitor to see if remain off or to turn back on. Only Disable as last resort. '''''Multi-processor Can completely disable it this way in about:config :''''' dom.ipc.processCount set to 1 browser.tabs.remote.autostart = false browser.tabs.remote.autostart.2 = false *http://kb.mozillazine.org/About:config Only move to esr if low ram and old system. '''''Firefox Extended Release Version :''''' Firefox ESR does not come with the latest features but it has the latest security and stability fixes. *https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/switch-to-firefox-extended-support-release-esr If do please : *https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/back-and-restore-information-firefox-profiles *https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/export-firefox-bookmarks-to-backup-or-transfer Optimize Win7 *https://www.howtogeek.com/334594/stop-complaining-that-your-browser-uses-lots-of-ram-its-a-good-thing/ *https://support.microsoft.com/en-ca/help/15055/windows-7-optimize-windows-better-performance *https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/11728-optimize-windows-7-a.html *https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-ways-to-speed-up-windows-7/ Please let us know if this solved your issue or if need further assistance.

Question owner

Thanks for the info. I have implemented the two changes you listed before "only as a last resort" and I'll see how it goes.

Further question: The desktop computer I am using is about 5 years old and has 4 gb of RAM. Does that make it an "low ram and old system" computer that should be switched to Firefox ESR?

Thanks again. One of the things I like about Firefox is how helpful people are here.

Thanks for the info. I have implemented the two changes you listed before "only as a last resort" and I'll see how it goes. Further question: The desktop computer I am using is about 5 years old and has 4 gb of RAM. Does that make it an "low ram and old system" computer that should be switched to Firefox ESR? Thanks again. One of the things I like about Firefox is how helpful people are here.
Shadow110 1072 solutions 14836 answers

HI, yes very much so as the standard for getting a new CPU is with 16gigs, minimum even with companies pushing only 8gig. Look to the future 5 yrs and what will be needed then. Not what is needed now if buying.

I would say very much with 4gig of ram. With that low of ram you may want to check other browsers out also like https://www.seamonkey-project.org/

If keep Windows 7 slim and trim and optimized you should be ok. If having issues repeatedly then sign to maybe change.

Welcome and G'luck

HI, yes very much so as the standard for getting a new CPU is with 16gigs, minimum even with companies pushing only 8gig. Look to the future 5 yrs and what will be needed then. Not what is needed now if buying. I would say very much with 4gig of ram. With that low of ram you may want to check other browsers out also like https://www.seamonkey-project.org/ If keep Windows 7 slim and trim and optimized you should be ok. If having issues repeatedly then sign to maybe change. Welcome and G'luck
Pj 42 solutions 869 answers

I'm testing something with my setup and so far it's helping a lot. I saw a post yesterday about changing the Disk Cache Size. I was about to change mine to a higher value than the default '614MB' size, when I got the idea to try the opposite.

It's only been about 12 hours since I changed the 'Disk Cache' to 0 in 'About:Config', but I'm still below 4.5GB of memory whereas I'd usually be well above that by now! CPU is not as active! Disk-crunching activity is less!

The last time I ReStarted my computer was 7 days ago. I'll see how the rest of the day goes, and if I can get through this weekend into next week without having to restart FF.

~Pj

I'm testing something with my setup and so far it's helping a lot. I saw a post yesterday about changing the Disk Cache Size. I was about to change mine to a higher value than the default '614MB' size, when I got the idea to try the opposite. It's only been about 12 hours since I changed the 'Disk Cache' to 0 in 'About:Config', but I'm still below 4.5GB of memory whereas I'd usually be well above that by now! CPU is not as active! Disk-crunching activity is less! The last time I ReStarted my computer was 7 days ago. I'll see how the rest of the day goes, and if I can get through this weekend into next week without having to restart FF. ~Pj

Modified by Pj

Question owner

Interesting. What setting is it in about:config that you modified? browser.cache.disk.capacity? Mine is currently set at 358400.

Interesting. What setting is it in about:config that you modified? browser.cache.disk.capacity? Mine is currently set at 358400.
Chris Ilias
  • Moderator
362 solutions 1959 answers

Hi Mark, 4gigs of RAM should be fine. Could you try the solutions in the following article, and see if any of them help: Firefox uses too much memory or CPU resources - How to fix

Hi Mark, 4gigs of RAM should be fine. Could you try the solutions in the following article, and see if any of them help: [[Firefox uses too much memory (RAM) - How to fix]]
Pj 42 solutions 869 answers

mark.abels said

Interesting. What setting is it in about:config that you modified? browser.cache.disk.capacity? Mine is currently set at 358400.

Yes, It's shown in the image of my previous post. I set it to 0. The memory has climbed a bit since earlier today, at 5.02GB! Before, I'd be in the mid 6.xxGB by now, if not even higher. Once it hits 7GB or higher, that's when I need to shut FF down and ReStart it.

This 0 setting of the "browser.cache.disk.capacity" is definitely stretching my browser session like it did ages ago! Looks like I might be able to breeze through the weekend without a browser ReStart, pending how many other Tabs I open.

If I do my YouTube session tonight, that'll tell me a lot. I got multiple YouTube Tabs pinned. Can I watch YouTube tonight and still get to Monday without a browser ReStart? I'll find out soon enough.

~Pj

''mark.abels [[#answer-1139782|said]]'' <blockquote> Interesting. What setting is it in about:config that you modified? browser.cache.disk.capacity? Mine is currently set at 358400. </blockquote> Yes, It's shown in the image of my previous post. I set it to 0. The memory has climbed a bit since earlier today, at 5.02GB! Before, I'd be in the mid 6.xxGB by now, if not even higher. Once it hits 7GB or higher, that's when I need to shut FF down and ReStart it. This 0 setting of the "browser.cache.disk.capacity" is definitely stretching my browser session like it did ages ago! Looks like I might be able to breeze through the weekend without a browser ReStart, pending how many other Tabs I open. If I do my YouTube session tonight, that'll tell me a lot. I got multiple YouTube Tabs pinned. Can I watch YouTube tonight and still get to Monday without a browser ReStart? I'll find out soon enough. ~Pj

Modified by Pj

cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17687 solutions 160003 answers

What is the size of the Windows page file?

What is the size of the Windows page file?
Pj 42 solutions 869 answers

cor-el said

What is the size of the Windows page file?

A while back, with all this disk-crunching going on, I reduced the Paging File from the recommended 12.xxGB to it's current setting of 3GB. I also have a 5GB (out of 16GB) USB ReadyBoost Drive going. I may try setting the Paging File back to 12GB and see how it performs.

This 0 setting of the "browser.cache.disk.capacity" has made a huge difference, so far. I'm just about 24 hours into this now. Memory is at 5.19GB (of 8GB System Memory) and holding up good so far. No rapid climb to 7+GB yet.

I think this has reduced or stopped the Windows pop-up of "Low Memory", but I guess that may be due to my low Paging File setting, in the first place. (I couldn't much go below a 3GB Paging File without 'Low Memory' warning constantly popping-up.)


~Pj
''cor-el [[#answer-1139932|said]]'' <blockquote> What is the size of the Windows page file? </blockquote> A while back, with all this disk-crunching going on, I reduced the Paging File from the recommended 12.xxGB to it's current setting of '''3GB'''. I also have a 5GB (out of 16GB) USB ReadyBoost Drive going. I may try setting the Paging File back to 12GB and see how it performs. This 0 setting of the "'''browser.cache.disk.capacity'''" has made a huge difference, so far. I'm just about 24 hours into this now. Memory is at 5.19GB (of 8GB System Memory) and holding up good so far. No rapid climb to 7+GB yet. I think this has reduced or stopped the Windows pop-up of "Low Memory", but I guess that may be due to my low Paging File setting, in the first place. (I couldn't much go below a 3GB Paging File without 'Low Memory' warning constantly popping-up.) ~Pj
cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
17687 solutions 160003 answers

Best would be not to go below the recommended size of the page file. If you get warnings with only 3 GB for the page file then this is definitely too low.

Best would be not to go below the recommended size of the page file. If you get warnings with only 3 GB for the page file then this is definitely too low. *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_memory *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paging
Pj 42 solutions 869 answers

cor-el said

Best would be not to go below the recommended size of the page file. If you get warnings with only 3 GB for the page file then this is definitely too low.

I'll take a look at the links.

I haven't had a 'Low Memory' Warning since the changed to 0 Disk Capacity, but I haven't been very near or above 7GB in Task Manager yet. (Grin)

I'll probably bump the Paging File up to 6GB and see what happens, and if anything is 'scary' to me in the links you provided, I'll then bump it back to 12 GB. (NLL)

So far, this 0 setting is still on track to be a winner for me. Maybe also with other older, low memory computer users with Quantum?

Had my YouTube session last night. 7 User Channels. The memory did go up, but not as high and fast like it did with the Disk Capacity setting at default (614MB).


~Pj

''cor-el [[#answer-1139942|said]]'' <blockquote> Best would be not to go below the recommended size of the page file. If you get warnings with only 3 GB for the page file then this is definitely too low. *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_memory *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paging </blockquote> I'll take a look at the links. I haven't had a 'Low Memory' Warning since the changed to 0 Disk Capacity, but I haven't been very near or above 7GB in Task Manager yet. (Grin) I'll probably bump the Paging File up to 6GB and see what happens, and if anything is 'scary' to me in the links you provided, I'll then bump it back to 12 GB. (NLL) So far, this 0 setting is still on track to be a winner for me. Maybe also with other older, low memory computer users with Quantum? Had my YouTube session last night. 7 User Channels. The memory did go up, but not as high and fast like it did with the Disk Capacity setting at default (614MB). ~Pj
Pj 42 solutions 869 answers

Memory shot-up earlier when I briefly opened the Stellarium Astronomy program. It neared or topped 7GB briefly. I only took a quick glance.

With iTunes still open, the Memory is still working-out better, by settling down better with Disk Capacity set at 0. It's now auto-backed down under 6GB as of 12:25am, Sunday:

Memory shot-up earlier when I briefly opened the Stellarium Astronomy program. It neared or topped 7GB briefly. I only took a quick glance. With iTunes still open, the Memory is still working-out better, by settling down better with Disk Capacity set at 0. It's now auto-backed down under 6GB as of 12:25am, Sunday:
Shadow110 1072 solutions 14836 answers

Hi, you should be 2gig and below.

Do not run as 0 as your taking away from other programs as well as the OS.

Used to set the swap file and mine is set still the recommended top size in both minimum and maximum. Is a hack from win95 that still works.

I tripled the amount that was suggested here. I do not use sessions or history so is not a bother to me.

Hi, you should be 2gig and below. Do not run as 0 as your taking away from other programs as well as the OS. Used to set the swap file and mine is set still the recommended top size in both minimum and maximum. Is a hack from win95 that still works. I tripled the amount that was suggested here. I do not use sessions or history so is not a bother to me. *https://www.servethehome.com/firefox-is-eating-your-ssd-here-is-how-to-fix-it/

Modified by Shadow110

Pj 42 solutions 869 answers

Pkshadow said

Hi, you should be 2gig and below. Do not run as 0 as your taking away from other programs as well as the OS. Used to set the swap file and mine is set still the recommended top size in both minimum and maximum. Is a hack from win95 that still works. I tripled the amount that was suggested here. I do not use sessions or history so is not a bother to me.


I'm confused with your reply.

The '0' setting is in FF 'About:Config' for 'Browser Disk Capacity' that for me was set at 614MB.

My Windows-7 Pro Paging File recommended setting calls for 12GB on my 1TB hard drive (it's not an SSD) that has 168 GB remaining. I reduced the Paging File to 2GB initially a while back to help reduce heavy disk-crunching activity, but quickly got 'Low Memory' Warning pop-ups.

So I then set the Paging File to 3GB. I still get a few 'Low Memory' Warning pop-ups when my Memory usage gets very near or above 7GB.

So far, no 'Low Memory' Warning pop-ups since I set the 'Browser Disk Capacity' to 0. I'll probably still bump-up the Paging File to 6GB, maybe the recommended 12GB, if need be.

Am I misunderstanding something on what you posted?


~Pj

''Pkshadow [[#answer-1140281|said]]'' <blockquote> Hi, you should be 2gig and below. Do not run as 0 as your taking away from other programs as well as the OS. Used to set the swap file and mine is set still the recommended top size in both minimum and maximum. Is a hack from win95 that still works. I tripled the amount that was suggested here. I do not use sessions or history so is not a bother to me. *https://www.servethehome.com/firefox-is-eating-your-ssd-here-is-how-to-fix-it/ </blockquote> I'm confused with your reply. The '0' setting is in FF 'About:Config' for 'Browser Disk Capacity' that for me was set at 614MB. My Windows-7 Pro Paging File recommended setting calls for 12GB on my 1TB hard drive (it's not an SSD) that has 168 GB remaining. I reduced the Paging File to 2GB initially a while back to help reduce heavy disk-crunching activity, but quickly got 'Low Memory' Warning pop-ups. So I then set the Paging File to 3GB. I still get a few 'Low Memory' Warning pop-ups when my Memory usage gets very near or above 7GB. So far, no 'Low Memory' Warning pop-ups since I set the 'Browser Disk Capacity' to 0. I'll probably still bump-up the Paging File to 6GB, maybe the recommended 12GB, if need be. Am I misunderstanding something on what you posted? ~Pj
Pj 42 solutions 869 answers

It's Sunday, 10:30pm EDT. All is good with the FF 0 Disk Capacity Cache setting.

Here's two more Task Manager captures. One shows where I opened up Windows Media Player, to play a 72.4GB Animated GIF, then I closed the player. The memory shot-up past 7GB. Earlier, The same happened with the Stellarium program.

The next image shows where the Memory is sitting right now, as of 10:33pm EDT. No way could I have gone this far with the default FF Disk Capacity Cache setting.

So, the question is, why is having the default Disk Capacity Cache setting chewing-up more memory vs the 0 setting that's allowing a much longer stretch of running FF before a memory-clogging reset is needed?

It's Sunday, 10:30pm EDT. All is good with the FF 0 Disk Capacity Cache setting. Here's two more Task Manager captures. One shows where I opened up Windows Media Player, to play a 72.4GB Animated GIF, then I closed the player. The memory shot-up past 7GB. Earlier, The same happened with the Stellarium program. The next image shows where the Memory is sitting right now, as of 10:33pm EDT. No way could I have gone this far with the default FF Disk Capacity Cache setting. So, the question is, why is having the default Disk Capacity Cache setting chewing-up more memory vs the 0 setting that's allowing a much longer stretch of running FF before a memory-clogging reset is needed?
Pj 42 solutions 869 answers

FireFox Session Update:

More good news.

This is shaping-up to be a personal record-breaking Quantum FireFox session for multiple days, maybe WEEKS? (LoL)

I keep plugging along, going to sites, opening/closing programs and I can't get FF to hog the remaining memory. It gets near or above 7GB at times, but the next time I look at Task Manager, the memory settles back down to under 6.5GB (Grin). I'm over 10 days for my Windows 7 session without a ReStart/ReBoot. No Windows 'Low on Memory' pop-ups either, just yet.


~Pj

FireFox Session Update: More good news. This is shaping-up to be a personal record-breaking Quantum FireFox session for multiple days, maybe WEEKS? (LoL) I keep plugging along, going to sites, opening/closing programs and I can't get FF to hog the remaining memory. It gets near or above 7GB at times, but the next time I look at Task Manager, the memory settles back down to under 6.5GB (Grin). I'm over 10 days for my Windows 7 session without a ReStart/ReBoot. No Windows 'Low on Memory' pop-ups either, just yet. ~Pj