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Random Total Freezes

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  • 2 have this problem
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  • Last reply by 8bitorne

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For a while now, I've been having recurring issues with Firefox desktop freezing and becoming totally unresponsive. If there's any pattern to what causes it, I haven't been able to notice it; sometimes it happens as soon as I open the browser, sometimes it happens after several hours, sometimes it happens twice in ten minutes, sometimes it happens twice in a few hours (however, I can count the number of days it's happened less than twice in one day in the past few weeks on the fingers of one hand). When the browser freezes, it becomes totally unresponsive - it doesn't fade or display "Not Responding", and Task Manager shows nothing abnormal, but it doesn't accept any input at all, any video or other animated material that may have been displaying freezes, and it can only be "fixed" by force quitting from the task manager and reopening. This is exclusively a firefox issue; other programs open at the same time as the browser freezes are not affected.

The only real lead I have as to what could be going on is that sometimes, things don't freeze all at once, but in a cascading effect. For example, tabs, bookmarks, etc. might not highlight when moused over, but still accept the clicks, or selecting another tab might causes the address bar to display the URL of the selected tab, but the screen displayed in the window will not change. Once these cascading changes start, they generally progress to total freeze before I have a chance to do much with that information (only a few seconds), but it's unusual enough behavior to be worth noticing.

Things I've already tried that haven't fixed the issue:

  • Reducing the number of tabs used and otherwise reducing Firefox's system resource usage has not impacted the problem in any way.
  • Running in Troubleshoot Mode has not had a consistent effect on the problem (the most recent time I did, the browser ran stably for longer than I could stand to use the internet without my ad blocker, but this is only one data point in an already inconsistent spread; prior instances of the problem have occurred in Troubleshoot Mode)
  • Disabling hardware acceleration has not fixed the issue.
  • The issue has persisted through multiple refreshes and at least one full uninstall and clean reinstall.
  • The issue persisted after creating and switching to a new profile multiple times.
  • The issue persisted after renaming places.sqlite
  • The issue persisted after clearing cache and cookies multiple times.
  • The issue persisted after clearing downloads and history.
  • And very likely some other stuff that I'm forgetting, I've been trying to fix this on my own for a while now.
For a while now, I've been having recurring issues with Firefox desktop freezing and becoming totally unresponsive. If there's any pattern to what causes it, I haven't been able to notice it; sometimes it happens as soon as I open the browser, sometimes it happens after several hours, sometimes it happens twice in ten minutes, sometimes it happens twice in a few hours (however, I can count the number of days it's happened less than twice in one day in the past few weeks on the fingers of one hand). When the browser freezes, it becomes totally unresponsive - it doesn't fade or display "Not Responding", and Task Manager shows nothing abnormal, but it doesn't accept any input at all, any video or other animated material that may have been displaying freezes, and it can only be "fixed" by force quitting from the task manager and reopening. This is exclusively a firefox issue; other programs open at the same time as the browser freezes are not affected. The only real lead I have as to what could be going on is that sometimes, things don't freeze all at once, but in a cascading effect. For example, tabs, bookmarks, etc. might not highlight when moused over, but still accept the clicks, or selecting another tab might causes the address bar to display the URL of the selected tab, but the screen displayed in the window will not change. Once these cascading changes start, they generally progress to total freeze before I have a chance to do much with that information (only a few seconds), but it's unusual enough behavior to be worth noticing. Things I've already tried that haven't fixed the issue: * Reducing the number of tabs used and otherwise reducing Firefox's system resource usage has not impacted the problem in any way. * Running in Troubleshoot Mode has not had a consistent effect on the problem (the most recent time I did, the browser ran stably for longer than I could stand to use the internet without my ad blocker, but this is only one data point in an already inconsistent spread; prior instances of the problem have occurred in Troubleshoot Mode) * Disabling hardware acceleration has not fixed the issue. * The issue has persisted through multiple refreshes and at least one full uninstall and clean reinstall. * The issue persisted after creating and switching to a new profile multiple times. * The issue persisted after renaming places.sqlite * The issue persisted after clearing cache and cookies multiple times. * The issue persisted after clearing downloads and history. * And very likely some other stuff that I'm forgetting, I've been trying to fix this on my own for a while now.

All Replies (13)

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Maybe check for memory related issues. You can check the about:memory and about:processes pages for info about all processes. See also the about:unloads page for info about the tabs.

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I pretty specifically said in my initial post that system resources were totally normal, and that includes memory. No changes in memory usage display when freezes occur or afterwards, plenty of memory is still available, and using about:memory to reduce memory usage doesn't prevent freezes from happening.

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I have some ideas. First I just want to ask to ask how long you've been seeing these freezes for. I usually immediately look at the time frame to see if I've installed anything new like a new antivirus program, new software of any kind really. And then double check that those aren't trying to interfere with Firefox & causing it to freeze. Some of them try to hook into Firefox or interfere with Firefox's connection to the internet. Usually AVs and security software that manages internet connections (like Cisco AMP for Endpoints Connector). I also wonder if it started happening after a Windows update or if it started when you upgraded to version 126.

Also wanted to rule out if any addons were trying to cause this (LastPass has a history of causing high CPU for example) but you did a clean reinstall, multiple refreshes & created and switched to a new profile multiple times. So I feel like you didn't immediately reinstall your addons in these cases and still encountered the hanging/freezing problem when you started those new profiles for the first time. But still I bring it up because when I create a new profile, I tend to add all my custom settings to it & then add a few "must-have" addons after I load the profile for the first time.

And please forgive us if we suggest something you've already tried, sometimes we miss what you've done but we're trying to think outside the box for anything that could lead to a clue about what's causing this.

My gut tells me something is trying to upload or download data in Firefox when the freeze happens. Maybe via the Sync service if you have that enabled. Or, Firefox is trying to save or write data to the disk & freezes when it does it. I would think it could only freeze if it was trying to save a ton of data at once or trying to save data during heavy resource usage (like high CPU). But it doesn't sound like you have a bunch of tabs open or many videos open when these freezes are hitting. Is that right?

Another thought: I was trying to follow how often you experience this. Could you clear that up some more? Is it at least one freeze per day? Or 1 freeze after a few days of being open? I'm trying to detect the frequency of the freezes. I did re-read your post multiple times but I'd still like to drill down & ask for more info to be certain.

I'm trying to figure out if it happens constantly within a single day, only once or twice a day or if it can run for at least a day or two before a unresponsive freeze finally appears.

The days comment makes it sound like its less frequent: ...sometimes it happens as soon as I open the browser, sometimes it happens after several hours, sometimes it happens twice in ten minutes, sometimes it happens twice in a few hours (however, I can count the number of days it's happened less than twice in one day in the past few weeks on the fingers of one hand).

Example of a really hard to solve Firefox problem And take a look at one of our really tough cases of finding out what the hell was breaking video streaming on all the popular streaming sites for one of our users to get an idea of the crazy things that 3rd party programs do to break Firefox & cause us to do a ton of troubleshooting & drive us insane trying to find the cause: "The WidevineCdm plugin has crashed" - unable to use any streaming service

So we're here to help you solve this & brainstorm as much as possible. We don't easily give up but we'd like you to understand how weird & tough tracking these issues down are.

Modified by NoahSUMO

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NoahSUMO said

First I just want to ask to ask how long you've been seeing these freezes for.

It's been a few weeks now. I can't think of anything I intentionally added or changed that would have caused the freezes. If anything, since I started noticing the issue, I've been trying to get rid of anything that I think could possibly be the cause. I think it there was a gap between the update to 126 and the freezes starting, but I won't swear to it.

Also wanted to rule out if any addons were trying to cause this

It's doubtful, I don't have many addons, the ones I do are pretty mainstream, and as I've said, I have had freezes occur in Troubleshoot Mode with all addons disabled in the past. I'm going to deactivate some addons that could potentially be uploading or downloading anything since you fielded that as a possibility, but I'm not expecting much.

Speaking of uploads and downloads, I don't currently have Firefox Sync active on this browser, since you asked.

But it doesn't sound like you have a bunch of tabs open or many videos open when these freezes are hitting. Is that right?

I mean, I do juggle tabs, but I know people who have worse computers and worse internet who are far worse about it than I am and don't have this issue. And I deliberately cut back on that when I noticed the freezes were recurring because I thought it was a possibility and haven't ramped it back up.

I was trying to follow how often you experience this. Could you clear that up some more?

As I said, it's highly inconsistent, but it's multiple times a day far more than it isn't. I'd say it averages two or three times a day, sometimes as high as five if I'm unlucky.

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How large are databases like places.sqlite? See "View Statistics" in "Help -> More Troubleshooting Information" (about:support).

You can create a new profile as a quick test to see if your current profile is causing the problem.

See "Creating a profile":

If the new profile works, you can transfer files from a previously used profile to the new profile, but be careful not to copy corrupted files to avoid carrying over problems.

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Thanks for your quick reply 8bitorne! That's exactly what I was looking for. Off the top of my head, could you keep checking Task Manager while the freezes are happening? Maybe you'll notice another program appear or just idling that'll catch your eye just as it did for the woman who spotted Cisco AMP for Endpoints Connector in the process list & took a gamble and ended its task. Maybe a random kill of a program you're suspicious of while the freeze is happening could magically unfreeze Firefox after its process is killed.

But I'm more hopeful disabling some of your addons could help even though they shouldn't be causing problems this severe. If you could copy the list of addons you have from about:support, I could start searching for any reported issues with them. When I finally heard someone say LastPass was causing alot of high CPU for them, I felt vindicated because that addon tries to do wayyyyy too much & is a honeypot of passwords for hackers to attack.

https://www.ghacks.net/2024/05/20/chrome-extensions-may-slow-down-browsing-significantly/ Another addon that surprisingly impacts performance is DDG Privacy Essentials. I always thought that one was ok. But for some people, it may cause issues. I know the article is about Chrome extensions but their addon code is very similar so I would believe if it cause issues on Chrome, it would in Firefox as well.

Modified by NoahSUMO

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Well, that didn't fix it. I've had two more freezes since the last time I posted here.

Since Noah asked for it, here's my addons list:

Add-ons Name Type Version Enabled ID Add-ons Search Detection extension 2.0.0 true addons-search-detection@mozilla.com Amazon.com extension 1.7 true amazondotcom@search.mozilla.org Bing extension 1.6 true bing@search.mozilla.org Control Panel for Twitter extension 4.1.1 true {5cce4ab5-3d47-41b9-af5e-8203eea05245} DuckDuckGo extension 1.4 true ddg@search.mozilla.org eBay extension 1.4 true ebay@search.mozilla.org Ecosia - The search engine that plants trees extension 4.1.2 true {d04b0b40-3dab-4f0b-97a6-04ec3eddbfb0} Google extension 1.4 true google@search.mozilla.org TTV LOL PRO extension 2.3.7 true {76ef94a4-e3d0-4c6f-961a-d38a429a332b} uBlock Origin extension 1.58.0 true uBlock0@raymondhill.net Wikipedia (en) extension 1.3 true wikipedia@search.mozilla.org System theme — auto theme 1.3 true default-theme@mozilla.org Dark theme 1.2 false firefox-compact-dark@mozilla.org Firefox Alpenglow theme 1.4 false firefox-alpenglow@mozilla.org Light theme 1.2 false firefox-compact-light@mozilla.org

I also checked task manager after both freezes, but I didn't see any particularly suspicious processes and force ending the moderately suspicious ones and the ones consuming comparatively high system resources didn't unfreeze firefox.

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All those addons seem fine. I only worry about Control Panel for Twitter 4.1.1. It looks like an awesome addon that fixes a lot of crazy changes Elon Musk has made to Twitter but I worry that it might be using a lot of resources to make those changes. I'm curious if disabling it for a day or two will allow you to see no more freezes.

If freezes still occur with this addon disabled, turn it back on & disable TTV LOL PRO 2.3.7. I know it blocks ads on Twitch but maybe it needs a lot of resources to make that happen. I really hope we're close to solving these random freezes.

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Another out of the box idea I got was to check the about:studies page. It shows experiments that Firefox is running to test out changes in the real world before they roll them out for everyone.

So I wonder if any of the studies being run on your Firefox might be causing the hangs. Please copy all the studies you see in about:studies & paste them here. I'll research them to see if any of them could cause freezes.

And one more idea I had was wondering if Firefox is acting up with your graphics card somehow. I don't think it would cause freezes but instead visual glitches but you never know these days. Maybe disabling the "recommended performance settings" option could help. See here to disable that: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/performance-settings

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Addons are a no go: Disabled Control Panel for Twitter and had a freeze, disabled TTV LOL Pro and had a freeze, even tried disabling them both at once for completion's sake, but still had another freeze.

That said, I might have something for you? I kept in mind Noah's recommendation about Task Manger processes and have gotten in the habit of responding to each freeze by going down the list of Task Manager processes and killing things as aggressively as Windows would let me, and twice now, it's worked exactly as Noah suspected it would. The thing is, I'm not sure which specific processes fixed things. I'm pretty sure it is what fixed things, because the freezes have no history of getting better on their own, but I don't know what - I always wind up ending multiple tasks before they're fixed, and I'm pretty sure there's a pause before the browser recovers. I've made note of two processes that stood out to me because they had multiple instances running at once, Runtime Broker and Device Association Framework Provider Host, but for all I know it could be something else.

At time of writing, I've just had Firefox unfreeze after killing all three instances of Device Association Framework and two of Runtime Broker. Two instances of Device Association Framework Provider Host are now running while my browser still functions, Runtime Broker has not returned.

NoahSUMO said

Please copy all the studies you see in about:studies & paste them here. I'll research them to see if any of them could cause freezes.

Release - Experiment for Additional Metrics for Product Insights - Rollout•Active Testing out the data and insights capture in the awesome bar. D Discovery of Search SAP Existing EN•treatment-a•Active This experiment displays a message that informs the user that they can use the URL bar to search the internet without having to first navigate to a search site. S SERP Categorization and Consolidated Search Config (US) [Desktop] Relaunch•Active SERP Categorization Consolidated search configuration for desktop and mobile Firefox L Long term holdback 2024 H1 Velocity Desktop•delivery•Active Long-term holdback for H1 Velocity experiments H Highlighting in PDFs - Rollout•Active Feature to highlight text and other content in PDFs S Showing 3rd sponsored tile on the newtab page (Rollout)•Active Rollout adding an additional sponsored topsite tile in new tab. P PHC Rollout•Active Roll out the Probabilistic Heap Checker in Firefox Release. A Address Autofill Desktop ( Pref, Release Rollout )•Active Enable address autofill feature. D Device Migration Q4 Spotlights Remaining Population•Active Prompt to offer users support in backing up their Firefox data to seamlessly migrate to a new device. M Mixed content level 2 roll out (Release 115+)•Active This feature is making browsing more secure by upgrading HTTP connections to HTTPs for mixed content. L Launch Firefox on OS Restart - Treatment A Rollout•Active Mozilla’s Firefox now offers the option to set up an automatic browser launch at the time of an OS login. This will prove to be useful for those that want to get straight to browsing the web again after previously logging off/out for the day. This will also apply to scenarios where the system requires a mandatory restart due to performance and security updates or various application installations. U Upgrade Spotlight Rollout•Active Experimenting on onboarding content when you upgrade Firefox. P Product Insight Telemetry via Server Knobs - Rollout - Release•Active Testing out the data and insights capture in the awesome bar. P Persist Search Term Rollout (Phase 1)•Complete Testing out a prompt and having the search terms stay in the awesome bar. M MozillaAccounts toolbar button default visibility rollout•Complete This experiment measures the impact of showing the Firefox Accounts toolbar button by default for signed-out users. E Extensions Migration in Import Wizard - 117+•Active This rollout makes extension migration available to users migrating from Chrome to Firefox. E Encrypted Client Hello•Active Encrypted Client Hello is a new TLS feature which provides greater privacy for HTTPS connections. C CSV Import (Release Rollout)•Active This rollout enables users to import logins from a CSV file from the about:logins page. B BackgroundUpdate: Enable unelevated installations (Rollout) -- 3-release•Active Update Firefox when it is not running if the application directory can be written (even without the Mozilla Maintenance Service).

I've also had Recommended Performance Settings and Hardware Acceleration turned off this whole time, so that can't be it.

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Just a quick update if anyone's still watching this: still having freezes, they're still very annoying, and I'm still not sure what's causing them. Killing processes in task manager hasn't proven a consistent help; last time I had one I went down the list and ended every task Windows would let me without Firefox unfreezing. I feel like there's still something there because those one or two times it did work are the only times I've been able to fix it without completely restarting Firefox, but I can't consistently repeat it.

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Hey 8bitorne, I'm still watching. Tried to post a reply a few days back but got swamped with work.

I was going to say thanks for sticking with my idea of constantly checking the task manager & trying to see if killing a few innocent looking processes helped during the freezes of Firefox.

Thanks to the 2 processes you found, I was able to do more digging & found that Device Association Framework Provider Host has been known to cause micro-stutters & freezes in a lot of PC games & a few other applications. It seems that process wants to connect via Wifi/Bluetooth to external devices like media servers & TVs, Amazon Firesticks or Chromecasts & when it does, that can cause the freezes.

Some ppl suggest disabling that service or setting it to load manually.

Here's a guide on disabling that service: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/4499-start-stop-disable-services-windows-10-a.html

Below are some of the links I found talking about the trouble it causes:

Very interesting

Source of the problem: an Android TV (HiSense model) connected to my network. Yes. A TV caused this issue. Details: The root cause is the TV generates random UUIDs for UPNP network discovery every few minutes. That means it poses as a new device. This caused windows to add it to the device list (Device Association Framework, aka DAF) as a new device. This means now 1000s of devices (which is the same device) filled the device tree causing it to enumerate forever. Thus the "deadlock".

TaskManager uses DasHost to enumerate devices for some reason, so that hangs.

Bluetooth relies on device discovery, so that also hangs, and Settings app along with it.

Network discovery in File Explorer obviously also needs Device discovery, so that also hangs.

How to solve: Open Services App, find "Device Association Service", right-click it, properties and change Startup type to "Disabled". Then Apply and close.

More related threads:

Modified by NoahSUMO

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So to start at the last point, disabling DAS in Services didn't stop freezes from happening.

That said, the reason it's taken me so long to post here is because I've been making... something resembling headway on the issue, and I wanted to have all the info I could present before laying things out.

I'm a pretty regular user of a family of websites under the PixelPoint(dot)tv banner. It's a bunch of video sharing sites obviously built on the same engine, with the same web layout, identical in every way except the video content they have.

A few days ago I was looking through Task Manager after a freeze and I noticed that there was one Firefox process that was consuming "Very High" power usage despite being pretty average in every other resource. I forcibly ended that task, causing the browser to unfreeze, PixelPoint tab I had open to crash, and no other changes. Next time I had a freeze, I looked for the Very High power usage process again, found it, killed it, PixelPoint crashed, rest of the browser unfroze. I repeated this process a few times, switching to different sites in the PixelPoint family, and they all behaved the same: find the disproportionately high power usage process, kill it, PixelPoint will crash but the rest of the browser will unfreeze.

So, obviously, I closed PixelPoint. That was four days ago, and I haven't had a freeze since.

So, that's it. Those sites were the cause of the freezes. Just leave that site and all will be fine, right?

Well, see, here's the thing:

  • I was a regular user of PixelPoint's sites well before the freezes started.
  • The unusual behavior of the PixelPoint tab's process was pretty obvious, which is why I'm prepared to swear that things did not behave like this when the freezes first started: either there wasn't a very high power usage but relatively low memory and CPU process, or if there was, killing it didn't unfreeze the browser.
  • Combining these two elements: I do not know if this is why the freezes originally started or what changed, and that makes me nervous.

So that's where we stand now: I haven't had a freeze in almost a week, which is nice, but I have no idea what the mechanisms that caused them were or why they started when they did, and I'd like to know that for peace of mind before I can decisively call this issue closed.

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