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Linux becomes sometimes completely unresponsive when browsing the web with Firefox

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Hi everyone!

When I browse the web with Firefox, it happens that the system becomes completely unresponsive. Some web pages seems to make Firefox using a lot of RAM and write a lot on the hard drive. I cannot actually say much more, because it not even possible to login in a console. The system is too slow and the console login times out... Firefox (or Web Content) writes wildly on the hard drive.

I used the Firefox provided by my Linux distribution (Linux Mint), but also the one downloaded from The problem seems to be less frequent for the second, but it happend nevertheless.

The point is that this problem with Firefox happens sometimes, for example, when I forget the browser open on somehow demanding webpage (like in newspapers where there are a lot of media, graphics, and so on).

A point is also that I cannot replicate this "bug". If now I browsed the same pages that made the mess, nothing would probably happen.

I thought it had to do with the swap, but the system hanged both when the swap space was enabled and when it was disabled.

I saved a copy of the profile (and the cache) after the last crash, if they could be useful. The last time I had actually to force the shutdown of the computer, because there was no way to regain control over it.

Any ideas?

Thank you for your answers!

All Replies (3)

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You can check the Firefox Task Manager (about:performance) and about:memory pages.

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


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Thank you for your answer!

Maybe I could try to reduce the content process limit or disable hardware acceleration. The rest is difficult to test: I have almost no extensions (except for a couple of dictionaries and a search engine). The profile is actually quite new and I had the same problem with other profiles. Actually, when I switched from the Firefox provided by my Linux distribution to the one provided by Mozilla, I created a new profile.

The pages about:performance and about:memory are nice, when everything is okay. The point is that when the system becomes unresponsive, it is really unresponsive. It is not possible to close Firefox or a tab. It is not possible to switch to another window (or yes... you click and maybe after some minutes...). The only thing I can do it to press CTRL+ALT+F1 and wait (some minutes) that the login console screen appears. The press CTRL+ALT+DELETE and restart the computer. The last time this did not even work, I had to force the shutdown and the filesystem (EXT4) had to be repaired.

Modified by brancalessio


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How do I know that Firefox is using hardware acceleration? Not just to have it checked in settings, that it really uses it.


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