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Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

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New Contributor

Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

I have 16GB of RAM, and according to htop, Firefox is using about 6.5% of that, and libflashplayer is using about 3.5% of that. So in total firefox is using over 1.6GB of RAM, with about 15 tabs open, and all but 3 of them are using no plugins. This is just ridiculous. I've noticed that ever since Firefox 4, memory usage has been increasing exponentially, especially since about Firefox 11. This isn't just on Linux, but on Windows 7 too.

I would like to know why this is? In 2006 I had a Pentium 3 mobile at 1GHz and 192MB of RAM, on Windows XP, and with a couple dozen tabs open, my system barely touched the swap. Why does half the number of tabs take 10 times as much RAM?

To put this into perspective, I can run two complete OPERATING SYSTEMS, doing something like compiling firefox, inside of 2 VMware instances while using the same or less RAM. What gives?

This isn't just a bug that I'm experiencing, it happens accross all builds and all recent versions, across all systems; anything more than three or four tabs use stupid amounts of RAM.

12 REPLIES
Site Moderator

Re: Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

Create a new profile as a test to check if your current profile is causing the problems.

See "Creating a profile":

If the new profile works then you can transfer some files from an existing profile to the new profile, but be cautious not to copy corrupted files to avoid carrying over the problem.

New Contributor

Re: Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

Thanks for the reply. This has been done every time I have installed a new Linux distro on my computers 3-4 times a month for the past few months, and three times on Windows. It never makes a difference. Loading an old one also makes no measurable difference.

Grand Master Contributor

Re: Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

New Contributor

Re: Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

"GPU Accelerated Windows 0/2 Basic Blocked for your graphics driver version. Try updating your graphics driver to version <Something recent> or newer. Vendor ID ATI Technologies Inc. WebGL Renderer Blocked for your graphics driver version. Try updating your graphics driver to version <Something recent> or newer."

I've never had any luck getting it working under Linux. BUt just to be sure I disabled it, and there is still no difference. It's not a memory leak as Firefox is still using the same amount of RAM when I close it as when I open it to all of the pages I had open.

New Contributor

Re: Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

>has 16GB ram >uses FF >still complains

Grand Master Contributor

Re: Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

Are you sure all your graphics drivers are updated, refresh the db in your package manager (like Synaptic) and mark all upgrades.

New Contributor

Re: Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

I'm using Catalyst 13.8 Beta straight from AMD because I'm using xorg-server 1.14 on arch.

Grand Master Contributor

Re: Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

Are you using 32 bit or 64 bit Firefox? Can you test the 64 bit version?

nightly.mozilla.org

Site Moderator

Re: Firefox is using beyond-excessive amounts of memory while doing almost nothing.

Is Firefox actively using this memory or only reserving it as virtual memory?

You can check the memory usage on the about:memory page.