Another question I answered recently was about Firefox’s memory handling. In this case, Firefox was seeming to go wild in allocating memory — and was building up quite an allocation, too…
Subscriber Catherine asked:
I upgraded to firefox 184.108.40.206 and I have seen an increase in the memory
usage under Windows Task Manager. It shows 138,000k and sometimes more and I
can only download one file at a time. If I try to download two files a box
will pop up telling me to close firefox. I just hit cancel and wait until
the first file downloads and this clears up the box.
I tried IE and I can download up to 6 or more files without waiting for the
first to finish and IE is only using about 26,000k.
Before I upgraded my Firefox, it too only used about 26,000k or so.
Something may be wrong in your installation, or may not be . Firefox will cache information in available memory, and this will show up in the Windows Task Manager as “memory usage.”
Try closing Firefox and reopening it. Then, immediately use Windows Task Manager to check how much memory Firefox is using.
I’m running Firefox 220.127.116.11 and currently have two Firefox windows open, with a total of 15 open tabs in Firefox. Windows Task Manager shows Firefox is only using 59,736K. I’m not having any problems downloading multiple files, either (see 2nd paragraph below).
You can set Firefox’s cache options by:
- For Firefox’s disk cache — Tools/Options/Privacy/Cache
- For Firefox’s memory cache — this one is changed via a hidden Firefox function
There is a hidden Firefox configuration directive that could be your problem, if the value is set to 1. I can download multiple files at a time, but only two. That’s because my “network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server” is set to 2.
You can find this Firefox configuration entry, and the “browser.cache.memory.capacity” which sets the Firefox’s maximum memory cache, and many other dangerous configuration settings by typing
in Firefox’s address bar and then pressing the Enter key. Use the Filter box on the about:config page to find stuff– it’s a real-time filter, you don’t have to click enter.
If you still have problems downloading multiple files, or think Firefox is still taking too much memory, you could always try a full uninstall, delete and reinstall by
- backing up your profiles (see my article on Backing up your Firefox, Netscape and Mozilla Profiles).
- uninstall Firefox
- open Windows Explorer and go to C:\Documents and Settings\[yourUserID]\Application Data\Mozilla
- delete the Firefox directory and everything in it
- reboot (probably not necessary with XP, but why not to make sure?)
- reinstall Firefox 18.104.22.168
- reinstall your profiles
Some other readers responded with information about Firefox problems with Microsoft Outlook, including high memory usage.
In a later response, Catherine wrote
Closing and reopening I get 24,012K
One Firefox window with 15 open tabs shows 78,964K. But once I start downloading a file it goes way up. Once it hit 170,000k)
And, then she wrote again to say it was solved.
Thanks Terry for the info. It worked. I lowered my cache to 5mb and I also changed the options in my downloads history folder to remove files upon successful download. Now I can download as many files as I want and the pages do not freeze up on me. Also, with about 23 tabs open the most my memory usage goes is about 90,000 to 101,00. This comes down as I close my pages. I never had the problem with Outlook. I guess we each get our own special gremlins. 😉
Firefox is my favorite web browser. I use it almost exclusively. I don’t use Internet Explorer for surfing to unknown sites — I use it at Microsoft’s site and for checking web sites I design.