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firefox causes my system to become unresponsive


since upgrading to firefox 20, I have noticed that after about a half hour of use, the browser starts using up all 1.23 GB of available RAM on my system. when this happens, my system becomes frozen (the clock stops) and I usually have to do a cold reboot. with chrome, when memory gets dangerously low, I can free up more ram by closing unused tabs, but closing tabs with firefox doesn't do any good! what can I do to fix the issue?

Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 11.6 r602
  • Version
  • Google Talk Plugin Video Accelerator version:
  • Displays Java applet content, or a placeholder if Java is not installed.
  • Adobe Shockwave for Director Netscape plug-in, version 12.0.0
  • DivX VOD Helper Plug-in
  • DivX Plus Web Player version
  • Office Live Update v1.0
  • Microsoft Office for Mac SharePoint Browser Plug-in
  • Amazon MP3 Downloader Plugin 1.0.17
  • LastPass Plugin
  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • The Flip4Mac WMV Plugin allows you to view Windows Media content using QuickTime.
  • 5.1.10411.0
  • iPhoto6
  • Box Edit
  • Loki Plugin v.
  • Coupons Inc., Coupon Printing FireFox Plugin
  • doubleTwist Web Plugin
  • The Google Earth Plugin allows you to view 3D imagery and terrain in your web browser.
  • RealPlayer Plugin
  • npmnqmp 071706000001


  • Firefox 20.0
  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.6; rv:20.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/20.0
  • Support URL: http://support.mozilla.org/1/firefox/20.0/Darwin/en-US/


  • Add to Amazon Wish List Button 1.10 (amznUWL2@amazon.com)
  • Ant Video Downloader (anttoolbar@ant.com)
  • DoNotTrackMe (donottrackplus@abine.com)
  • Download Statusbar 0.9.10 ({D4DD63FA-01E4-46a7-B6B1-EDAB7D6AD389})
  • Evernote Web Clipper 5.5.1 ({E0B8C461-F8FB-49b4-8373-FE32E9252800})
  • Ghostery 2.9.2 (firefox@ghostery.com)
  • Greasemonkey 1.8 ({e4a8a97b-f2ed-450b-b12d-ee082ba24781})
  • HTTPS Finder 0.85 ({6bdc61ae-7b80-44a3-9476-e1d121ec2238})
  • InvisibleHand 3.8.28 (canitbecheaper@trafficbroker.co.uk)
  • klout 1.6 (kwtr-for-firefox@klout.com)
  • LastPass 2.0.20 (support@lastpass.com)
  • MaskMe 1.11.177 (idme@abine.com)
  • Movie Ratings 1.5.8 (movierating@ronakpatel.net)
  • Personas 1.6.5 (personas@christopher.beard)
  • PriceBlink 3.5.2 (info@priceblink.com)
  • Social Fixer 7.501 (socialfixer@mattkruse.com)
  • Test Pilot 1.2.2 (testpilot@labs.mozilla.com)
  • Troubleshooter 1.1a (troubleshooter@mozilla.org)
  • Tumblr 1.0 (jid0-505z9sfBXZaQjzjmiUDpPsTKvHo@jetpack)
  • Webmail Ad Blocker 3.9.1 (gmailnoads@mywebber.com)
  • WOT 20130129 ({a0d7ccb3-214d-498b-b4aa-0e8fda9a7bf7})
  • Xmarks 4.1.3 (foxmarks@kei.com)
  • DivX Plus Web Player HTML5 <video> ({23fcfd51-4958-4f00-80a3-ae97e717ed8b}) (Inactive)


  • incrementalGCEnabled: True


  • adapterDescription:
  • adapterDeviceID: 0x 863
  • adapterDrivers:
  • adapterRAM:
  • adapterVendorID: 0x10de
  • driverDate:
  • driverVersion:
  • info: {u'AzureContentBackend': u'none', u'AzureCanvasBackend': u'quartz', u'AzureFallbackCanvasBackend': u'none'}
  • numAcceleratedWindows: 1
  • numTotalWindows: 1
  • webglRenderer: NVIDIA Corporation -- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M OpenGL Engine
  • windowLayerManagerType: OpenGL

Modified Preferences

  • accessibility.blockautorefresh: True
  • 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.importBookmarksHTML: False
  • browser.places.importDefaults: False
  • browser.places.leftPaneFolderId: -1
  • browser.places.migratePostDataAnnotations: False
  • browser.places.smartBookmarksVersion: 4
  • browser.places.updateRecentTagsUri: False
  • browser.search.useDBForOrder: True
  • browser.startup.homepage: http://www.myfreecams.com/
  • browser.startup.homepage_override.buildID: 20130313170052
  • browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone: 20.0
  • browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab: False
  • browser.tabs.loadInBackground: False
  • dom.mozApps.used: True
  • dom.w3c_touch_events.expose: False
  • extensions.lastAppVersion: 20.0
  • font.internaluseonly.changed: True
  • gfx.blacklist.webgl.msaa: 4
  • network.cookie.cookieBehavior: 1
  • network.cookie.prefsMigrated: True
  • places.database.lastMaintenance: 1363725507
  • places.history.expiration.transient_current_max_pages: 100664
  • places.history.expiration.transient_optimal_database_size: 161061272
  • plugin.disable_full_page_plugin_for_types: audio/prs.sid,audio/x-ms-wma,application/pdf
  • privacy.donottrackheader.enabled: True
  • privacy.sanitize.migrateFx3Prefs: True
  • security.csp.enable: False
  • security.default_personal_cert: Select Automatically
  • security.warn_viewing_mixed.show_once: False


  • User JS: No
  • Accessibility: No
Amit Kumar Thakur 83 solutions 863 answers

Try disabling graphics hardware acceleration. Since this feature was added to Firefox, it has gradually improved, but there still are a few glitches.

You might need to restart Firefox in order for this to take effect, so save all work first (e.g., mail you are composing, online documents you're editing, etc.).

Then perform these steps:

  • Click the orange Firefox button at the top left, then select the "Options" button, or, if there is no Firefox button at the top, go to Tools > Options.
  • In the Firefox options window click the Advanced tab, then select "General".
  • In the settings list, you should find the Use hardware acceleration when available checkbox. Uncheck this checkbox.
  • Now, restart Firefox and see if the problems persist.

Additionally, please check for updates for your graphics driver by following the steps mentioned in the following Knowledge base articles:

Troubleshoot extensions, themes and hardware acceleration issues to solve common Firefox problems

Upgrade your graphics drivers to use hardware acceleration and WebGL

Did this fix your problems? Please report back to us!