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Firefox memory leak

  • 10 replies
  • 415 have this problem
  • 219 views
  • Last reply by stephe59

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At the end of my rope with Firefox now. I've tried using Chrome, but it's buggy as hell with some of my sites and logmein doesn't work well on it (I telecommute a lot). IE is pants as well, because... well, it's IE (no extensions, no bookmarks toolbar etc etc)

So - after much experimentation, and using Chrome/Firefox about 50/50 I've ditched Chrome altogether. However, I'm frustrated as all hell that Mozilla appear to be completely ignoring the obvious memory issues that have been plaguing FF for aeons now. 3.6 is unusable after about six hours - memory use constantly rises to around 380Mb, then maxes out one of my cores and the browser hangs completely. That's every signle version of 3.6 I've tried.

3.5.x is a little better - I generally get around 18-20 hours' use out of it before the browser hangs and I have to restart it. I need to leave multiple windows open for various monitoring systems - it's a major, major pain in the arse to have to restart it (especially since it takes about 30 seconds to close it down then kill the (inevitable) hung process in task manager then start everything up again.

I have tried leaving FF open overnight with anywhere from between one to five tabs/windows open - but every single time I check after they've been open about a day, sure as eggs is eggs FF has crashed. I've done all the usual crap (I wasted days if not weeks on it before I got so pisse doff I went over to Chrome) like disabling all add-ons, running FF in safe mode, checking all my plugins are up to date etc etc etc - none of this had any effect.

It's insane - I have the fastest PC I've ever used at home (quad core running at 2.6Gh, 12Gb RAM, Win 7 x64) yet I'm still using a browser that feels and performs like it was written in the stone age.

Since I see dozens of other threads around similar to this - often with boilerplate responses from Mozilla volunteers condescendingly telling people to disable their antivirus client or start stopping processes one-by-one to try and find something else to blame - I don't expect there will be any official assistance or advice, but has anyone else figured out a way to get FF to stay well-behaved after being open for an extended period of time?

All Replies (10)

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Please check whether the issue takes place in Troubleshoot Firefox issues using Safe Mode.

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For me, with something like 30 tabs always open on a win7 64 bit box with 16gb ram, running in safe mode did alleviate the problem. but i do not really want to run in safe mode. Any suggestions on how best to track down what causes Firefox to slow down over the course of hours so that it starts using 1.5gb or more of memory? I was not having this problem 2 months ago, prior to the most recent updates. shall i revert to an earlier build? This is the kind of problem that happened with Firefox 2. There must be a way to prevent a plugin from crashing the thing this way. My guess is Adobe is the problem.

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SafeMode is for troubleshooting.

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ok so far i have determined that it is not one of my Plugins, but it is one of my extensions that is causing the problem. i have many and i need to leave the browser running for long periods to test as i turn them on a couple at a time, and i am not being diligent about it, so this will take awhile.

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I don't think it's one of your extensions, rather it's the entire extension subsystem running on Windows 7 64-bit that is at fault. The only way I can stop Firefox from eating up tons of memory and becoming progressively slower is by disabling all my addons/extensions altogether. Even turning on one will quickly result in memory being leaked and the progressive slowdown that requires me to restart the browser. I have to switch to Chrome any time I want to watch a video or do anything that requires a plugin. I also hate not having the extensions that I switched browser to use.

I expect the problem stems from using this browser with 64-bit Windows 7. I don't ever recall this kind of problem on 32-bit platforms, despite having much less memory. The odd thing is that I so rarely see any memory being used in the plugin_container process, which leads me to believe it's completely broken and losing memory in the main process.

My only hope is that Google releases a more competent extensions API so that my favorite extensions get ported to that superior browser and I can abandon this bloated monstrosity.

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i tried chrome. the one thing i really like about firefox i cannot do with chrome is have a user defined css file so that i can make links underline only on hover. despite the fact that hyperlinking was originally defined as using underline for visual representation, i cannot stand having underlines everywhere, especially on news aggregation sites.

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Upgrade to version 3.6.14 (or later or version 4.x). Version 3.6.14 (just released last night) fixes two memory leaks, one of which was first reported in 2007 (affecting 3.0, 3.5 and 3.6)! Why it has taken nearly 4 years to fix I don't know, but I strongly suspect it is the reason for >300 crashes on my 5 PCs alone over the past few years! Basically if you had a tab open on one of Microsoft's techie pages, it would leak memory. If you left your browser open overnight or at the weekend, you would come back to see it had crashed or disappeared. I don't know whether Microsoft were intentially exploiting this memory leak to cause Firefox users problems so they switched to using Internet Explorer, or whether it is a genuine bug in their javascript code that caused it to exploit this memory leak, but either way, it was convenient for them! ;) Here is one of the bug reports.

Anyway, thanks guys for fixing the leak! (Eventually!)

If this reply fixed your problem, please mark this as helpful!

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I'm sorry, but I re-enabled my extensions and have just tested Firefox 3.6.15 and unfortunately the memory leak still remains. Even while typing this message my text box pauses momentarily occasionally as I type, and Process Explorer tells me that Firefox is using approximately 1GB of physical memory, even after closing many tabs and windows.

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Yep. My story with FF is exactly the same as yours. Tried everything. Nothing works. Consumes memory no matter what until it consumes so much it freezes.

Obviously the FF code developers don't have a clue about how to fix this fatal problem and/or don't care. They're too busy adding bells and whistles. FF is rapidly becoming unusable bloatware that sooner or later is going to simply stop working well enough for very many people to want to put up with it. Too bad, too. Because the addon infrastructure makes it a very valuable browser if the damn thing would actually work.

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Firefox stores your browsing session very frequently (so if at any second something goes berserk, it's all stored in memory). With a lot of tabs open, some with videos, storing takes more time. I learned this through online forums one night when I was as frustrated as you were. I found videos were hanging up every few seconds, and typing into text boxes was taking longer than it would've to chisel it into stone. (I'm running Windows 7) Here's what fixed the problem, and everything's still fine months later: Manually set the session store to a longer interval.

Where I learned this: https://support.mozilla.com/en-US/questions/754854#answer-124266

How to do it: http://www.techmynd.com/firefox-freezes-for-a-moment-after-every-10-sec-fix/

Modified by stephe59