8 Great tips to reduce Firefox 3 memory usage

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This post is all about reducing the amount of abnormal memory that Firefox uses.Typical memory usage of Firefox reported on Windows OS is around 50MB-100MB depending on number or quality of active plug-ins or themes. But Firefox memory usage depends on your hardware. If abnormal memory usage of Firefox is important for you and you’re interested in optimizing it, follow the tips below. We have tested all of these tips on Firefox3. They really work!

Before Getting Started

OK before getting started I am going to show you the effect of using the tips for reducing Firefox memory usage and compare the memory usage at two states:in default and after using the tips below(from 1 to 6). I have applied the settings below on a computer which has 1GB RAM. firefox-memory-usage
And the picture below, shows the amount of Firefox memory usage after using the tips below (from 1 to 6):
firefox-less-memory-usage

1- Updating Firefox extensions and themes

Themes and extensions could make Firefox use a lot of abnormal memory. To solve this problem, keep Firefox themes and extensions updated. You can also see a list of some Problematic extensions of Firefox and their workarounds here.

2- Updating plugins

Always keep your plugins updated. Specially these ones: Java, Adobe reader, Flash, Shockwave. Because these plugins can cause lots of problems.
Opening PDF files into the Firefox uses a large mount of memory and to avoid this follow these steps:
-go to Tools -> Options -> Applications to a new window appears. Then change the settings as like as the picture below to not open PDF files in Firefox and just save them on your hard disk.
firefox-options-applications

3- Clearing download history

This is a fast way. It is just enough to clear download history by following these steps:
- Tools -> Options -> Privacy
- Leave the check box “Remember what I have downloaded” unchecked. As like as the picture below:
firefox-options-privacy

4- Reduce Firefox memory usage upon minimizing

This tip works when you minimize Firefox.
Type: “about:config” in Firefox address bar and hit Enter:
firefox-about-config
In the appeared window press the button that is labeled I’ll be careful, I promise!
frefox-config-promise
Right click in the page and select: New -> Boolean
firefox-config-rclick
In the new appeared window type: config.trim_on_minimize and press OK
firefox-config-newbooleanvalue
Select True value in the appeared window and press Enter
firefox-config-enterbooleanvalue
Restart Firefox. Then you can minimize it to reduce Firefox memory usage down to 8MB! But after maximizing, the memory usage grows up. Therefore you can use this tip (minimizing Firefox) to reduce the memory usage at the moment and freed about 30MB of memory.

5- Firefox memory cache

By default, Firefox does not use a fixed size memory cache. It uses a percentage of memory and this means more memory on your system=more memory usage of Firefox. So, this could cause your browser to use more memory cache. But you can apply the settings below to have a fixed size of memory usage for your Firefox:
follow these steps:
Type about:config in the address bar and hit Enter. Then in the appeared window click on the button which is labeled “I’ll be careful, I promise”.
firefox-about-config

frefox-config-promise
In the new appeared window type “browser.cache.memory.enable” in the Filter bar just as like as the picture below. Then check the Boolean value under Value category. So, it should be “true” if it is not , change it by double clicking on it.
firefox-config-cachememory
Right click anywhere in the about:config window and select:
New -> Integer
firefox-config-cachememory-newvalue
In the pop-box window Enter: browser.cache.memory.capacity
firefox-config-newintegervalue
*Then you need a number to type in “Enter integer value” pop-up window. The number depends on much memory of your system. Here I have provided a list and you can Enter the number according to this list:
- 256MB of RAM or less: Enter 4096 as the value
- 512MB of RAM: Enter 8192 as the value
- 1GB of RAM: Enter 16384 as the value
- 2GB of RAM: Enter 32768 as the value
and so forth. Just double the number as the RAM doubles.
firefox-config-enterintegervalue
* If you wish to restore the value to the default, just change the browser.cache.memory.capacity to -1 (Negative one)

6- Using RAMBack plugin

There is a plugin that helps us. Its name is RAMBack. RAMBack will cause Firefox to issue an internal notification to free up memory that is otherwise held for performance goals. You can add this plugin to your Firefox after going to this page and clicking on the green button that is labeled Add to Firefox.

7- Restarting Firefox

If your Firefox memory usage is growing up more and more and you need to freed some memory, you can restart your browser to do this. Although it is recommend to use the tip number 4 to be able to freed some memory after a very short time and without restarting your browser.

8- Using Portable Firefox

Well, portable Firefox  has less memory usage and you can use it as an alternative if you really need more free memory! You can also download portable Firefox  here.

Conclusion: How to check your Firefox memory usage on your browser status bar

You can also use StatusbarEx to monitor the memory usage of Firefox. StatusbarEx shows some useful information on statusbar of firefox, such as the memory usage of system & firefox itself, system power status, network speed and so on. To Add StatusbarEx to your Firefox go to this page and click on the green button that is labeled Add to Firefox.

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