How to reduce Firefox memory usage

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By now you are probably using Firefox, and if you are staying up to date, you are using Firefox version 3. It is far superior to Internet Explorer in many ways.

One downfall of Firefox is that it uses more than its fair share of memory. I don’t know why Mozilla has not taken care of this, but they haven’t. But you can solve this little problem on your own, by using the free program called Firefox Ultimate Optimizer, available here (just choose the free download – there is no need to pay for the faster download).

What does it actually do? I will show you by the numbers on my own computer.

With Firefox running, I hit Ctrl + Alt + Delete and open the Windows Task Manager. When you click on the “Processes” tab, it lists everything that is running on your computer and how much memory each process is using. Here is what mine looked like, before I installed the Optimizer:

As you can see, Firefox is hogging 161,116 k of memory.

Then I installed the Firefox Ultimate Optimizer and ran it. Of course, the Optimizer program itself will use some memory. But look at this difference:

Firefox is now using less than 2000k, and the other program is only using about 1000k. Overall, I have reduced Firefox memory usage by a whopping 98%. That’s huge!

When you download the program from the link above, it will be in .zip format. Open the zipped folder, and drag the 3 items inside to some other folder (you might want to make an “Optimizer” folder in My Documents, and keep it there).

Once you have them moved, just double click on the file called “Firefox Ultimate Optimizer” and it is now running. When it is running, you will see a tiny orange icon down in your system tray. Right-click on that icon, and choose “Start with Windows” so that it runs all the time.

UPDATE: I have received several emails from readers who have tried to install this program, only to be confronted with an error message. The message tells them that they need to install Microsoft’s .NET product. This is a foundation of class libraries and support files that enables programmers to make programs work. I did not realize this was required, because I already had it on my computer.

You can download the .NET framework free from Microsoft, here. Then go back and install the Firefox Optimizer.

This week’s video is a typical summer scene – kids having fun swimming in a lake. They are also having some fun “blobbing”. This is where one person sits on the end of a large inflatable object, and someone else jumps on the other end, launching the first person into the air. This time, I think she got a little more height than expected.

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August 18th, 2008

Just tried to download the free above mentioned program and the link is broken (to the free one). I’ll try again later – but maybe they figured out that it shouldn’t be free?

August 18th, 2008

I’m not convinced this will accomplish anything useful. I hunted around the web a little and this program seems to move most of the memory (RAM) used by FF to the paging file at regular intervals. This will, of course, free up RAM (while consuming some processor time) but this is not what you want to do. The goal is not to free up RAM but to keep the RAM as FULL as possible. You want what you’re most likely to need next already in RAM. If what FF needs next after you click on a tab, link etc is in the paging file it will have to be read back into RAM. This takes time. If it were never moved to the paging file it would already be available in RAM and available instantly.
Windows already does an excellent job of moving the least recently used information out to the paging file. If another application needs RAM and some of the FF data in RAM hasn’t been used for a while, Windows will move it to the paging file to make room for the new application.

August 19th, 2008


How does Fire Tune compare to Firefox Ultimate Optimizer? dick fox

Scott Johnson
August 19th, 2008

I have not used Fire Tune – not sure how it compares.