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Serious performance issues with Firefox 4

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After upgrading to 4.0, I've been experiencing the following:

  • crashes, freezes, impossibly slow loading times
  • with Firefox running, CPU usage is at 80-100% (normally 5-10%)
  • after closing Firefox, firefox.exe continues to run in the background along with several instances of plugin-container.exe
  • display issues where parts of a drop-down menu become transparent or don't display at all (see screen capture here)

I followed similar threads and tried all of the suggested remedies, including uninstalling add-ons or creating new profile, all with no luck.

Modified by helloworld

All Replies (16)

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77 people have this problem and no response from Mozilla? Can someone please explain what's happening? The issues are so bad that I am seriously thinking about reverting to 3.6. Using firefox is like trying to control a browser over remote control on a very bad connection. HELP!!

Image below shows what just 6 tabs did to my system.

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Mozilla people, could you please answer to the serious performance issues on ff4? The performance issues makes this browser non operational, absolutely impossible to use!

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I am Uninstalling FF4 and going back to FF3.6. I hope Mozilla gets this sorted out, I don't want to have to start using Opera.

it would be nice to here about progress...............

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I had the same problem. But I also had a problem with my printers spooler subsytem. After fixing the later problem using Firefox begun working fine :-).


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This is seriously troubling. I work from home and depend on quick internet access for my business. I tried running in safe mode, as suggested in other threads, and it's helped a little, but still frustrating. All the add-on features I think is why a lot of people use Firefox. I'd really hate to go back to Safari.

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I take that back. It isn't any faster in safe mode. Ugh.

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the whole point of firefox was performance, since the mozilla suite was too bloated for a good browser, PERFORMANCE! that should always be the number one concern for firefox, not features, hell you got a whole bandwagon of extensions, features should be the least of your concerns.

but nowadays, the main concern is bullshit, yeah BULLSHIT! instead of making a snappy super efficient browser you guys just give us bullshit, ohh firefox manages memory efficiently, oh its the extensions that dont work good, its the plugins that crash, come on... of course that doesnt help, but anyone can install firefox 4 without anything and compare with chrome or opera or even freaking ie and they all perform faster and are snappier than firefox 4, 3, 2...

jesus i even open chrome (that by the way has like 10 extensions running) just to use the chrome calc extension, yes i open a whole browser just to use 1 extension, thats how snappy it opens, and if chrome sync wasnt such a buggy feature, i would have ditched firefox ages ago, so you guys still have an opportunity for excellence, instead of giving us bullshit!

oh and the comparison videos and articles, come on... firefox 4 without anything takes like 20 seconds to start on a brand new multicore computer!

Modified by fiend

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The problems for me extend to A) not being able to watch content on YouTube, B) unable to display content from a webmail version of Lotus Notes and the most recent C) unable to load some pages and/or complete orders on a suppliers site.

All are happily functioning correctly on IE, Chrome AND Opera.

I'm winding the clock back too, until it can be worked out.

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Eventually gave up on firefox 4 - it was very slow and most of the good features of 3 had vanished so I reverted.

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Please note that on this forum you are talking to users like yourself who have volunteered to help.

Feedback to Mozilla should go to -

For your problems you should work your way through this -

For specific problems you should ask specific questions or try the Search Firefox Help box. This thread is looking a bit ancient.

My Fx4.0.1 works beautifully and you shouldn't expect anything less. But make sure your plug-ins are up-to-date and try disabling third party toolbars.

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What a piece of crap. On my Ubuntu Linux 11.04 machine Firefox 4 just pretty much locks up if left idle at all. On my Windows 7 machine it continually crashes (Firefox has experience an error and will now close). My Mac still has Firefox 3.6 on it and has no issues. I'm uninstalling Firefox 4 and reverting back to 3.6 on the other 2 computers.

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I am not involved with the development of Firefox, but from what I can tell the Firefox team is working hard on addressing the performance problems in their MemShrink project.

Generally, I'd suggest those having problems to try the beta version of Firefox 5 to see if that resolves any of your current performance issues. If all else fails, some people are happy with browsers like Opera and Google Chrome.

As far as crashing goes, the Firefox team is implementing a process-per-tab architecture and improving upon its Eletrolysis project, which should help prevent the entire browser from crashing or locking up and improve speed/responsiveness. Unfortunately none of this helps Firefox users right now, but it's something Firefox fans can look forward to in the near future.

As far as plugin-container.exe eating up your CPU, Flash is usually the main culprit there (but Flash is still necessary!)...but if you'd like to try selectively using Flash (i.e., only use it when watching videos not random ads), I recommend the excellent Flashblock add-on.

In addition to what alan_r said, I'd also encourage everyone to file bug reports if you run across specific issues.

In any case, if you are waiting for an official response from a Firefox developer, then unfortunately it's not likely, but you can still let the people involved with Firefox know how you feel by submitting feedback!

Modified by Isaac Aggrey

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I have forced closure on 3 or 4 - and currently- my Firefox 4.0.1 still has 8 instances of plugincontainer.exe ope most with massive memory involvement.

I get blue screens telling me everything from memory issues to video drivers. These are errors I did not have with previous versions. Firefox 4 is incompatible with major websites I need at work - and now 4.0 is a problem at home .

Guess it is time to uninstall firefox after many years and go to Chrome - I can not keep losing work due to Firefox created crashes .

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I downgraded to 3.6 and I'm much happier. Let's face it -- FF4 is a disaster!

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Hi I hope this is of some help. I've had the same problem.

I've now Disabeled Google Earth plugin And all is well

I don't know what Google was doing, But the brains at firefox need to look into it.

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Do what I did - install Chrome! Works like a treat, and ahead of Firefox in development. I don't know what possessed Firefox to try and just copy everything Google is doing, but that's not a good business model. After a while I realized: why use Firefox instead of Chrome, if Firefox is just going to try to be Chrome? Couldn't be happier with my switch.