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Multiple instances of plugin-container (up to 6) Is adobe Flash exploiting?


With the advent of the "super cookie" in flash, is adobe exploiting the plugin-container for access to flash data? Each time i close and re-open firefox within a 3-4 sec time, I usually have to then access Task Manager and close all instances of plugin-container, up to 6 most of the time. I have tried MemFox and it appears to knock down the mem Usage but does not resolve plugin container in fast close/open. I have created a new Firefox profile with no addons = no difference. current version of firefox = 6.0

Additional System Details

This happened

Every time Firefox opened

This started when...

mostly after v3.6 .

Installed Plug-ins

  • NPRuntime Script Plug-in Library for Java(TM) Deploy
  • Shockwave Flash 10.3 r183
  • Adobe Shockwave for Director Netscape plug-in, version
  • Next Generation Java Plug-in 1.6.0_26 for Mozilla browsers
  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in Web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • Npdsplay dll
  • DRM Store Netscape Plugin
  • DRM Netscape Network Object


  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:6.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/6.0

More Information

WinXp Pro, SP3, Firefox 5.1, and 6.0 = currently.
addons enabled or not.
Addons: using: Better Privacy 1.66. CookieSafe 3.0.5, NoScript,
Zone Alarm Extreme Security v 9.3.
There are (5) zones in the programs list of ZoneAlarm 9.
Here are my firefox settings in ZA extre Sec. :
(1) Trust Level (Super), Access Trusted=yes, Access Internet = yes, Server Trusted = yes, Server Internet = (?) ask, SEND Mail, (X) blocked.
Flash - current, java = current,
thank you.

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This is a known Firefox bug {# 633427], that probably has a rather low priority. Clearing cookies (or History that has the same effect) causes multiple plugin containers to run. This happens even if the plugins are disabled, you will need to remove them if you wish to stop this.

The bug still occurs on Firefox 9, but maybe it will get fixed before Firefox 9 is released as the main current Release.

Question owner

..Even with Memory Fox, I have seen a single instance of plugin container go as high as 100k or more. so here's what i think is happening.

Memory Fox (v7.4) https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/memory-fox/

(see also) image uploaded Adobe Flash Applet - control panel

In Adobe Flash Player you will notice in the image that adobe flash defaults to "Allow sites to save information", use of Fp, history, game progress, saved work, preferences, and computer id data. Way too much with the advent of the super-cookie ! .

(for Super-Cookie info, see.. BetterPrivacy (v1.66 ) (Super-Cookie Safeguard, clears flash cookies, new sneaky type of tracking in adobe flash) https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/betterprivacy/

Adobe flash is exploiting/ or over compensating memusage of plugin container, just my thoughts.

Question owner

Cor-el hits target in known Firefox bug {# 633427]

cor-el: Make sure that you allow the plugin-container process full access to internet in your firewall. Did you try to disable the OOPP by setting all dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.* ... Read more...

>> if Firefox doesn't have full access and Server access with Mail out, it doesn't like that.. On the other hand with Social Media, if you allow all Firefox access it will try to link everything to everything which you don't want to do right ?

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624 solutions 8068 answers

Helpful Reply

If you are using the 'Better Privacy" add-on then you will be able to control and clear the LSO supercookies.

If you look for the Sysinternals (used to be available from Microsoft Site) process Explorer, that will give a clearer indication of what is associated with the plugin container process. You will no doubt see plugincontainer processes being opened for each plugin, not just for FlashPlayer.

If you key in about:memory into the location bar and then hit return, you will get details of memory usage. (With buttons to reduce memory usage and mousover tooltips explaining the entries).

The information will be improved if you try Beta, Aurora or Nightly versions.

Try disabling all plugins, then with task manager or process explorer open clear cookies & history, you will see the plugin containers open, these should obviously not be opening when the plugins are disabled. If you see that effect it is the Firefox bug, and not Flashplayer misbehaving.

Question owner

John, can i ask you, are you saying that each plugin is storing its own information through initializing plugin container?

by the way, thank you for this very good information. I will try and study up a bit.

Question owner

ok. I just installed and took Aurora 8.0a2 for a test drive. Here's my results. I did not incur multiple versions of plugin-container however, the one instance of it revved up to 151k. As well as Aurora to 151k sustained for a while. Aurora pretty much disabled all my addons out of the box. so it was a fair test.

The browsing speed was greatly increased.  

It's reminiscent of the auto manufacturers running the engine extremely hot to burn up hydro carbons. it works but is taxing on the cpu. Still I see a lot of promise. Thanks John99.

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Helpful Reply

I still see multiple instances of plugin container on clearing cookies even in Firefox 8 and Firefox 9 with all plugins disabled. That behaviour is not correct and is the bug that developers will eventually fix.

If you are using the Aurora channel still then you may note in Firefox 8 the About:memory is compartmentalised, so that should determine exactly what is using up the memory, there are figures for separate tabs.

If you are interested in reading up about some of these changes and problems with Firefox and its memory use you may be interested in some of the developer Nicholas Nethercote's blogs e.g. http://blog.mozilla.com/nnethercote/2011/08/09/firefox-7-is-lean-and-fast-2/

Incidentally, although not suggested for most users it is quite possible to have more than one version of firefox installed, use more than one profile, and even run versions side by side. The profile manager UI that makes running multiple profiles relativly easy is being deprecated, but replacement methods will become available. (Standard advice is changing from for instance suggesting new profiles as a troubleshooting method, to suggesting clean re-intalls, and trying to make that easier. If our Firefox KB articles cover only the simpler methods consider looking at Mozillazine KB & forums)

See Use the Profile Manager to create and remove Firefox profiles
That allows you to keep multiple profiles for different versions of Firefox &/or for example testing with different sets of add-ons or profiles installed. (But bear in mind the bug ignores the fact a plugin is disabled when starting up plugin container whilst clearing cookies).

In your case depending what you have running, multiple plugin containers may not be a bug but merely the multiple processes running them. Process explorer and About memory should help you in investigating that.

If you are having problems with Add-ons being disabled, consider downloading, installing and using the Add-on Compatibility Reporter that allows you to install and test Add-ons that are marked as not compatible (some Add-ons may be fully compatible with Aurora channel Firefox versions, but not yet marked as compatible by the Add-on developer).

If you do want to readup or investigate further I hope some of the above info is of help.
Good Luck,

Question owner

Hi John99. Just wondering... if someone has a simple batch file for Task Manager to "End process tree" of Firefox.exe) which automatically closes all plugin-containers with it. That would be handy for now until december 2011. If you or anyone has one or can write one let me know. I'll try, I'm not that good. Each instance would have to be modified for #user#.

(i guess i am failing to see the need of storing addon info every session.)

Modified by mrichardson33

Question owner

aahhh.. i think ive done it. here we go. try this:

Steps to create batch file to End process tree: "Firefox.EXE"

1. create new .txt file

2. copy/paste the following: taskkill /IM firefox.exe 3. Save 4. Rename the txt file - EndFirefoxTree.bat 5. Run from desktop at any time, give it a cute icon if you'd like!.