Reducing Your Memory Usage In Firefox

There has been a lot of talk about how to optimize Firefox to run the most efficiently. CNet’s most recent article goes through some helpful tips but doesn’t jump into many details. Here I am going to explain which extensions have memory leaks or will slow down Firefox’s performance.

First, before I dive into the main topic there are a few things that you should change in your Firefox settings if you really want to optimize this. Just follow this tutorial that I put together.

Okay, now let’s talk about the extensions. This is the point that you may want to turn your head because I am about to bring some truth to some of the most popular extensions.

  1. IE Tab 1.0.7! Yes, it is true that one of the most convenient extensions has a memory leak. I can’t say that I am super shocked by this because how efficient can it be to run Internet Explorer in Firefox?
  2. Session Saver has a known memory leak.
  3. ForecastFox 0.8.5 also has a memory leak…and that very disappointing since most Firefox users have this sitting in their toolbar (so what is the weather like by you :) ).
  4. Filterset.G Updater AND FlashGot used in conjunction will produce a memory leak.
  5. FasterFox doesn’t have a memory leak specifically, but it will not help your Firefox performance. It does help your browsing performance but if you decide to keep this extension at least make sure you don’t have prefetching enabled.
  6. Tabbrowser Extensions doesn’t have memory leaks either but will definitely slow Firefox down and it has many conflicts with other extension. It can even stop Firefox from being able to startup! A better alternative is Tab Mix or Tab Mix Plus which offer the same set of features. If you don’t need all the features of Tab Mix Plus then just use Tab Mix to lower the memory usage a little.
  7. Please check for updates to ensure you are using the most recent version of the following extensions: Adblock, AdBlock Plus, NoScript, Search Keys 0.7.3, Thumbs 0.6.2 — each of these extensions HAD known memory leaks but they have now been fixed.

That is about it for the most popular Firefox extensions that have been tested. Another important thing to do is upgrade to Firefox if you haven’t already. This build has fixed two memory leaks that were very common: leak when selecting and leak from global scope polluter. The latest trunk also has a long list of memory leak fixes so keep your eyes peeled for a new release of Firefox.

UPDATE: It appears that in the Digg posting of this article that the author of ForecastFox made a comment:

We know Forecastfox 0.8.5 has some memory leaks. We are planning on doing a full leak analysis for 1.0. In the mean time, I’ve been actively working on resolving some of the leaks, and I think I’ve made some good progress for our 0.9 release.

Also, while the current build of IE Tab is up to 1.0.8 there is no mention that they fixed the memory leaks in this updated build.

UPDATE 2: Tracy wrote in and said that a good alternative to ForecastFox is Weather Watcher. I didn’t even think of mentioning that but this is the software that I run on my computer. It is not an extension for Firefox but takes very little RAM and is FREE!

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Firefox Memory Usage Thread
Reducing Firefox Memory Usage