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Memory problems (/questions/967643)


For a long period of time (I'm sorry, I can't remember exact dates, but this problem is over the course of a couple years that it began, and in the past couple months it's gotten significantly worse.) I've had Firefox consuming large amounts of memory. Several years ago it was generally only half a gigabyte when this problem started, and my main annoyance was that flash would occasionally crash. But now over the past several months the issue has only gotten worse, as firefox typically consumes 1 gigabyte to nearly 2 gigabytes of memory sometimes with as little as 2 tabs open.

I generally have a maximum of 10 tabs open, 6 on average, which as far as I've seen from others using other internet browsers is actually not an incredibly high figure. If the memory troubles are starting up, closing flash heavy tabs like youtube or some advertisement heavy sites does seem to help, but it never, and I really mean never, fully alleviates the issue, it just decreases the amount of memory usage somewhat, slows the growth of memory usage until I visit a few more sites.

I run Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, have an incredibly huge amount of bookmarks (if that's the issue I'll cry), and am in the bad habit of only turning my computer off every few days. If I do not turn my computer off, close firefox when it's having memory troubles, and then re-open it when task manager claims the processes ended, the memory troubles start much faster than if I restarted my computer. I do not have many plugins or add-ons, primarily just java, flash, silverlight, and a few other things floating around. I have tried disabling all of them except flash several times and the problem still persisted. I admittedly, have never tried disabling flash player. All of my plugins and add-ons are up-to-date. I have followed the troubleshooting instructions such as booting up in safe mode to no avail.

I hope you can help, I really don't want to leave firefox and find some way to transfer my horrendous amount of bookmarks. Thanks much.

Also, on a side note, it is hilarious that your troubleshooter add-on does not have its author verified.

Modified by bakanethe

Chosen solution

If you are happy with setting


to a value of 10 instead of the default 50 and it helps that has to be good.

Your install of Firefox does not seem to be working as expected; or you are visiting a site that is somehow creating problems; but unfortunately memory issues are notoriously difficult to troubleshoot.

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Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 11.9 r900
  • ActiveGS Emulator 3.6.1307
  • npsitesafety
  • Next Generation Java Plug-in 10.45.2 for Mozilla browsers
  • Adobe PDF Plug-In For Firefox and Netscape 11.0.05
  • 5.1.20913.0
  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in Web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • Unity Player 4.1.2f1
  • iTunes Detector Plug-in


  • Firefox 25.0.1
  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:25.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/25.0
  • Support URL: https://support.mozilla.org/1/firefox/25.0.1/WINNT/en-US/


  • ActiveGS 3.6.1307 (activegs@freetoolsassociation.com)
  • AVG SafeGuard toolbar (avg@toolbar)
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  • Rikaichan Japanese-English Dictionary File 2.01.130701 (rikaichan-jpen@polarcloud.com)
  • Troubleshooter 1.1a (troubleshooter@mozilla.org)
  • PasswordBox (firefox@passwordbox.com) (Inactive)
  • Skype Click to Call ({82AF8DCA-6DE9-405D-BD5E-43525BDAD38A}) (Inactive)


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Modified Preferences

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  • browser.cache.disk.capacity: 358400
  • browser.cache.disk.smart_size.first_run: False
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  • User JS: No
  • Accessibility: No
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
622 solutions 8016 answers

Helpful Reply

Hi bakanethe, Sorry about the problems.

You have obviously been thinking it through and trying the obvious things. Your memory usage sounds unreasonable, and obviously Firefox should not crash.

You mention it crashes so please paste into your next reply 5 crash IDs. These begin 'bp-

If we get lucky the Crash reports may hint at a solution. If we are unlucky they will not. They may even have failed and be empty due to memory problems !

We can try to get developers involved if necessary and try to solve the reasons for this, but it will be a bit of a slog trying to do that. We may even just solve the problem relatively quickly by taking Firefox to a state more akin to a new install without actually discovering the precise cause of the problem.

I doubt bookmarks will have any significant bearing on this issue. It would not do any harm to check out the state of those however. Download and run the add-on places maintenance, probably another with the author not verified ! as its by a Firefox engineer

It is possible to use it to produce a short log file paste the text of that into your next reply please.

If you can get your head around using Firefox with multiple profiles it may make it easier trying to troubleshoot and test your problem if we do not get clues from the crash reports. I will add some background info about that as a separate post.

Oh and thanks for starting your own thread, it does make it a lot easier to try to solve rather than having multiple questions in a single thread.


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  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
622 solutions 8016 answers

Using multiple profiles is not something we shout about on this forum. It is I think considered too advanced. It does have some dangers in that you may accidentally delete profiles for instance. It is however possible to manually backup profiles, and that may be a good precaution to take. I would also strongly suggest that you follow this good practice (At least until you are proficient enough to manually recreate and modify profiles)

  1. Normally use the locations suggested by Firefox
    It is easier and safer
    • Always use an empty folder
      Other contents disappear when the profile is removed
    • Never nest profiles within each other
      As above,delete mother, lose child also
  2. Do not rename profiles
    Confusing, profile names and folder names mismatch
  3. Do not delete profiles
    Just remove shortcuts if not in use. Delete the wrong one and you lose settings, passwords & bookmarks etc

Uses of multiple profiles include

  • Testing, with clean or temporary profiles
  • Different users, or different work type within the same OS account. That may include different bookmarks files &/or a different set of addons.
  • Running multiple Firefox versions &/or multiple instances of Firefox simultaneously.

There are other methods of creating profiles but the best is probably to use Firefox's built-in profile manager.

Read up some of the articles, and if you want to try anything and are unsure post back.

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10749 solutions 96724 answers

Helpful Reply

Does running Firefox in Private Browsing mode has any effect?

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Question owner

Well, I tried a few new things, and I did find something that seems to have come up with a solution. I had to modify my history settings so that firefox would only remember the last 10 pages I visited in my current session instead of the default 50. It so far has helped immensely, and although I still do see in the background memory usage slowly creeping up, it is much much slower and I haven't run into any new problems yet.

Thanks for the suggestions! If anything new comes up I'll keep you posted, but if nothing new comes up after a week I'll mark this problem as solved.

Was this helpful to you?
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
622 solutions 8016 answers

Chosen Solution

If you are happy with setting


to a value of 10 instead of the default 50 and it helps that has to be good.

Your install of Firefox does not seem to be working as expected; or you are visiting a site that is somehow creating problems; but unfortunately memory issues are notoriously difficult to troubleshoot.

Was this helpful to you?
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