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Why does Firefox version 23.0 for desktops continually use 1.8 GB of memory and more than 50% of the CPU from the moment I start it and eventually hangs?


All versions of Firefox subsequent to version 3.5 would hang regularly after several minutes of inactivity (I have yet to see an explanation for this). I continued using version 3.5 until Mozilla dropped support for it, which I believe was when they released version 5 or 6, at which time I started installing all new versions. Now with version 23.0, Firefox eventually hangs while using it and can only be terminated via the Task Manager or Process Explorer. Also, version 23.0 continually uses 1.8 GB of memory and more than 50% of the CPU from the moment I start it (my start page is the Firefox start page), even if I do nothing else after start-up. I got so fed up with version 23.0 that I uninstalled it after trying to use it for several hours. I reinstalled version 22.0, but the exact same hanging, memory usage, and CPU problems associated with version 23.0 have somehow now carried over to version 22.0.

So I researched what I could possibly do to resolve the problems I'm having with Firefox. Mozilla recommends either starting Firefox in Safe Mode to troubleshoot potential issues with extensions, themes, and hardware acceleration or resetting Firefox via the Reset Firefox feature. Both recommendations require a lot of unwarranted time and effort without any guarantee that anything will be accomplished by either recommendation other than possibly exposing bugs in Firefox. Besides, my add-ons didn't affect any Firefox versions prior to version 23.0, so why should they be a problem with version 23.0? Furthermore, following Mozilla's recommendations wouldn't explain why the hanging, memory usage, and CPU problems associated with version 23.0 are now affecting version 22.0 and why versions prior to the release of version 23.0 didn't have these problems.

For now, I just want to be able to roll back to version 22.0 without all of the attendant problems of version 23.0 and without Firefox being able to automatically update it to version 23.0, or any later version for that matter. Until that happens, Firefox is unusable for my purposes with all of the problems triggered by version 23.0. (Recent versions of Firefox prior to version 23.0 have introduced new problems that I'm not going to get into at this time as long as I am experiencing the latest problems with Firefox.)

My system environment:

I have a Dell XPS 400 desktop computer with Intel Core 2 Duo processors (Intel Pentium D CPU 2.80GHz), 3.00 GB of RAM, and a 250 GB hard drive. My operating system is Windows XP, Media Center Edition, Version 2002, Service Pack 3.

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Google Update
  • GEPlugin
  • Shockwave Flash 11.8 r800
  • Adobe Shockwave for Director Netscape plug-in, version
  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in Web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape "9.5.5"
  • iTunes Detector Plug-in
  • RealPlayer(tm) LiveConnect-Enabled Plug-In
  • RealPlayer Download Plugin
  • RealNetworks(tm) RealDownloader Chrome Background Extension Plug-In
  • RealNetworks(tm) RealDownloader PepperFlashVideoShim Plug-In
  • RealNetworks(tm) RealDownloader HTML5VideoShim Plug-In
  • RealDownloader Plugin
  • Motive Plugin for Mozilla Browsers


  • Firefox 22.0
  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:22.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/22.0
  • Support URL: http://support.mozilla.org/1/firefox/22.0/WINNT/en-US/


  • Adblock Plus 2.3.2 ({d10d0bf8-f5b5-c8b4-a8b2-2b9879e08c5d})
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  • Answers 2.3.54 ({C0D0F6D1-9FC9-4b0a-B485-D5E13AF40D51})
  • avast! Online Security 8.0.1489 (wrc@avast.com)
  • BetterPrivacy 1.68 ({d40f5e7b-d2cf-4856-b441-cc613eeffbe3})
  • BrowserProtect 1.1.3 (browserprotect@browserprotect.com)
  • Dictionary Extension (jid0-raWjElI57dRa4jx9CCiYm5qZUQU@jetpack)
  • DoNotTrackMe (donottrackplus@abine.com)
  • Element Hiding Helper for Adblock Plus 1.2.3 (elemhidehelper@adblockplus.org)
  • Forecastfox 2.2.2 ({0538E3E3-7E9B-4d49-8831-A227C80A7AD3})
  • Ghostery 5.0.1 (firefox@ghostery.com)
  • kwout on Firefox (kwout-firefox@kwout.com)
  • NoScript 2.6.7 ({73a6fe31-595d-460b-a920-fcc0f8843232})
  • Print Edit 9.3 (printedit@DW-dev)
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  • ShowIP 2.0 ({3e9bb2a7-62ca-4efa-a4e6-f6f6168a652d})
  • Simple Timer 1.13 (simpletimer@grbradt.org)
  • StumbleUpon 4.16 ({AE93811A-5C9A-4d34-8462-F7B864FC4696})
  • Thumbnail Zoom Plus 2.5 (thumbnailZoom@dadler.github.com)
  • Troubleshooter 1.1a (troubleshooter@mozilla.org)
  • WikiLook 2.7.0 (wikilook@testpilot)
  • WOT 20130515 ({a0d7ccb3-214d-498b-b4aa-0e8fda9a7bf7})
  • Yahoo! Toolbar ({635abd67-4fe9-1b23-4f01-e679fa7484c1}) (Inactive)


  • incrementalGCEnabled: True


  • adapterDescription: RADEON X300 SE 128MB HyperMemory
  • adapterDescription2:
  • adapterDeviceID: 0x5b60
  • adapterDeviceID2:
  • adapterDrivers: ati2dvag
  • adapterDrivers2:
  • adapterRAM: Unknown
  • adapterRAM2:
  • adapterVendorID: 0x1002
  • adapterVendorID2:
  • direct2DEnabled: False
  • direct2DEnabledMessage: [u'tryNewerDriver', u'10.6']
  • directWriteEnabled: False
  • directWriteVersion:
  • driverDate: 8-3-2005
  • driverDate2:
  • driverVersion:
  • driverVersion2:
  • info: {u'AzureCanvasBackend': u'skia', u'AzureFallbackCanvasBackend': u'cairo', u'AzureContentBackend': u'none'}
  • isGPU2Active: False
  • numAcceleratedWindows: 0
  • numAcceleratedWindowsMessage: [u'tryNewerDriver', u'10.6']
  • numTotalWindows: 1
  • webglRendererMessage: [u'tryNewerDriver', u'10.6']
  • windowLayerManagerType: Basic

Modified Preferences

  • accessibility.typeaheadfind.flashBar: 0
  • browser.cache.disk.capacity: 358400
  • browser.cache.disk.smart_size.first_run: False
  • browser.cache.disk.smart_size.use_old_max: False
  • browser.cache.disk.smart_size_cached_value: 358400
  • browser.places.smartBookmarksVersion: 4
  • browser.search.useDBForOrder: True
  • browser.startup.homepage: about:home
  • browser.startup.homepage_override.buildID: 20130618035212
  • browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone: 22.0
  • browser.tabs.onTop: False
  • browser.urlbar.autocomplete.enabled: False
  • dom.max_chrome_script_run_time: 40
  • dom.max_script_run_time: 40
  • dom.mozApps.used: True
  • dom.w3c_touch_events.expose: False
  • extensions.lastAppVersion: 22.0
  • font.internaluseonly.changed: False
  • gfx.blacklist.suggested-driver-version: 10.6
  • network.cookie.cookieBehavior: 1
  • network.cookie.prefsMigrated: True
  • places.database.lastMaintenance: 1376438083
  • places.history.expiration.transient_current_max_pages: 80481
  • plugin.disable_full_page_plugin_for_types: application/pdf
  • plugin.importedState: True
  • privacy.clearOnShutdown.passwords: True
  • privacy.clearOnShutdown.siteSettings: True
  • privacy.cpd.offlineApps: True
  • privacy.cpd.siteSettings: True
  • privacy.donottrackheader.enabled: True
  • privacy.sanitize.migrateFx3Prefs: True
  • privacy.sanitize.sanitizeOnShutdown: True
  • privacy.sanitize.timeSpan: 0
  • security.warn_viewing_mixed: False
  • storage.vacuum.last.index: 1
  • storage.vacuum.last.places.sqlite: 1375488335


  • User JS: Yes
  • Accessibility: No
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
624 solutions 8068 answers

Hi musicfan,
Sorry you are having problems with Firefox. Maybe you should have asked earlier and we could have fixed it.

Reading your comments I do not see that rolling back to an insecure Firefox 22 will actually help you much. You are probably best using IE, unless you have also damaged that.

You should not use old versions they are insecure. Security fixes are publicised and exploitable.

Most others will not be having such problems. We are now able to say that with confidence because after developers missed a regression in Firefox 4 telemetry was introduced so that data was obtained. It may be an idea to turn on your telemetry, if you have not already done so, and decide to stick with Firefox.

Trying safe mode takes seconds. Unfortunatly if you are not willing to do even rudimentary troubleshooting there is not anything we can do to help you.