Firefox 52.9 uses too much RAM

wither 3

Vista Guru
Gold Member
For some reason, when I launch Firefox, it uses a modest amount of RAM but, if I just let it set without using it, it eventually uses at least 3 GB out of 4 GB available and the system is basically unusable without a restart. Most extensions and add-ons are disabled. Anyone have an idea what's going on.
 

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Vistaar

Vista Guru
Multiple tabs open?
 

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townsbg

~~тσωηsвg~~
Vista Guru
Gold Member

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wither 3

Vista Guru
Gold Member
I agree with Vistaar that having too many tabs open can cause this problem. However, that doesn't seem to be it.

I'm running in safe mode, as identified in the first link provided by townsbg. Didn't know that all those options existed.
 

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Vistaar

Vista Guru
Try disabling Norton.
 

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lmacri

Vista Pro
Hi wither 3:

Try following each of the steps listed in the support article Troubleshoot and Diagnose Firefox Problems.

I would actually start with the final step in that support article and scan for malware, just in case your browser has been infected with a cryptojacker that is using your computing resources to mine Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency. If you antivirus doesn't detect anything run a second-opinion on demand scan with Malwarebytes Free v3.5.1 (the legacy version for Win XP and Vista, download from the FAQ article <here> or from https://downloads.malwarebytes.com/file/mb3_legacy) to look for any malware or PUPs that might have been missed by your antivirus.

A clean reinstall of Firefox as instructed in STEP # 4 should solve the problem if your Firefox installation is corrupted. Use a fresh copy of the ESR v52.9.0 installer from Directory Listing: /pub/firefox/releases/52.9.0esr/win32/ (choose the subfolder for your region and language e.g., the /en-US subfolder for the English-US installer Firefox Setup 52.9.0esr.exe) . A clean reinstall of the Firefox software will not remove your Firefox user profile that is stored a hidden folder at C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profilename> so none of your browser extensions, bookmarks, etc. should be affected.

Step # 5 is a browser refresh, which will create a new user profile and remove your browser extensions without deleting other items like your bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, cookies, etc. As a precaution, I always back up my bookmarks at Bookmarks | Show All Bookmarks | Import and Backup | Backup before refreshing my browser. However, you said that starting Firefox browser in Safe Mode in STEP # 3 (now called Troubleshoot Mode in newer Firefox versions) with your browser extensions and graphics hardware acceleration disabled didn't solve your high RAM usage so it's less likely, but not impossible, that a browser refresh would solve your problem.

Note that if you reach STEP # 4 and a clean reinstall of Firefox doesn't help, I would suggest you skip over the browser refresh in STEP # 5 and go straight to STEP # 6 to create a fresh Firefox user profile (i.e., by closing Firefox and starting the Profile Manager manually as instructed in the support article Profile Manager - Create, Remove or Switch Firefox Profiles). If you test with a fresh profile (i.e., no extensions, bookmarks, cookies, etc.) and your problem disappears then you can try the browser refresh in STEP # 5 after re-starting Firefox with your old (default) profile. Even better, skip the browser refresh and just export your bookmarks from your old profile, import your bookmarks into your new profile, and then use the Profile Manager to set your new profile as the default. If that solves the problem then start reinstalling your browser extensions one-by-one and test to see if one of your extensions is consuming increasing amounts of RAM over time.
 
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wither 3

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Just wanted to mention that I stayed in Safe Mode for FF most of the day yesterday and it didn't use as much memory. As mentioned by Vistaar, having multiple tabs open seemed to cause most of the increases that I did see. This is going to take a while since I don't have time to be screwing around with it on a consistant basis. I have lots of other things to do.
 

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townsbg

~~тσωηsвg~~
Vista Guru
Gold Member
lmacri has some good suggestions, especially the AVS scan. Although hasn't support of them mostly dropped off? That's the risk with continuing to use an out of date, unsupported system that never really had too many users to begin with. No reason for third party software manufacturers to keep their software current and updated.

If you create a new profile there are some files that you will probably want to recover. Having just rebuilt my own profile due to an issue I know that this works in general. I don't know how much of it applies to 52.9. Keeping these files will allow you to retain browser history, passwords, bookmarks, and site settings. Profiles - Where Firefox stores your bookmarks, passwords and other user data | Firefox Help Although if your profile turns out to be infected you might not want to do that.
 
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lmacri

Vista Pro
Just wanted to mention that I stayed in Safe Mode for FF most of the day yesterday and it didn't use as much memory. As mentioned by Vistaar, having multiple tabs open seemed to cause most of the increases that I did see ....

Hi wither 3:

If firefox.exe consumes less memory in Safe Mode then that usually points to a problem with one of your browser extensions and/or graphics hardware acceleration. The support article Troubleshoot Extensions, Themes and Hardware Acceleration Issues to Solve Common Firefox Problems for more information.

If having multiple tabs open is the main culprit then the obvious solution would be to reduce the number of tabs you keep open at any one time. That being said, I've never seen my own FF ESR v52.9.0 browser consume all my available memory and freeze my Vista SP2 machine in the manner you're describing. Your problem might be due to a buggy or corrupted extension, but I wouldn't exclude the possibility that you have a malware infection or a corrupted Firefox installation or user profile as discussed <above>.

When you say multiple tabs, how many tabs are you opening at the same time, and do any of these tabs have embedded videos? If your problem occurs when you visit web pages that have embedded media you could also try disabling autoplay of HTML5 videos to see if that reduces your memory consumption.

There are settings in the interface of newer versions of Firefox to do this (Settings | Privacy & Security | Permissions | Autoplay | Default For All Sites) but in FF ESR v52.9.0 I believe you must go into the advanced settings at about:config and change media.autoplay.enabled to FALSE as instructed in the Feb 2018 How-To Geek article How to Prevent Videos from Autoplaying in Firefox. Just note, however, that some sites might still continue to autoplay videos after this preference is set to FALSE (see Martin Brinkmann's warning in the June 2015 ghacks.net article How to Disable Auto-Playing Flash and HTML5 Videos), while blocking autoplay can sometimes cause problems starting videos on other sites (see cor-el's Dec 2016 comment in the Mozilla Firefox forum thread How Can I Disable Auto-play for Video Content?).

... I don't have time to be screwing around with it on a consistant basis. I have lots of other things to do.

We all have other things to do. If I'd known you were too busy to troubleshooting your problem I wouldn't have wasted my time posting suggestions in the first place. I'll be stepping out of this thread now. :really:
 

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wither 3

Vista Guru
Gold Member
lmacri has some good suggestions, especially the AVS scan. Although hasn't support of them mostly dropped off? That's the risk with continuing to use an out of date, unsupported system that never really had too many users to begin with. No reason for third party software manufacturers to keep their software current and updated.

If you create a new profile there are some files that you will probably want to recover. Having just rebuilt my own profile due to an issue I know that this works in general. I don't know how much of it applies to 52.9. Keeping these files will allow you to retain browser history, passwords, bookmarks, and site settings. Profiles - Where Firefox stores your bookmarks, passwords and other user data | Firefox Help Although if your profile turns out to be infected you might not want to do that.
It's not a virus issue. So happens, Malwarebytes finished it's scan as I was last posting. Norton is always on and is the most reliable and least intrusive anti-virus out there, in my experience. I don't install all the products such as VPN and Ransomware products it has.

When I rebooted after a day of Safe Mode, FF apparently went back to my original settings since it gave me back my bars (which were removed in Safe Mode). I used it all day yesterday and it didn't use anywhere near as much memory as it was. Maybe that fixed it. Will continue using it and, if the problem comes up again, I'll follow the instructions in the link you provided and follow up.
 

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Vistaar

Vista Guru
As mentioned by Vistaar, having multiple tabs open seemed to cause most of the increases that I did see.
All tabs are not created equal. One or more webpages that you are in the habit of keeping open is probably extremely JavaScript-heavy (Facebook? YouTube?). Unfortunately, the JavaScript engine in your browser is more than 4 years old, and its ability to cope with such websites has declined considerably in the years since Imacri or townsbg actually used it. The simplest solution is to change your browsing habits. Upgrading RAM from 4 GB to 16 GB might also do wonders for Vista x64 on today’s internet.
 

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wither 3

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Thanks. You're correct. My mobo only supports 8GB but I get the point. I think it would be truly difficult to find the right DDR2 to get to that but I've never looked into it.

So happens, that I had 6 tabs that I normally use open in it all day yesterday and the memory usage was more like I would expect. It looks like simply going to Safe Mode changed something such that when it went back to normal, it's behaving properly (that statement will probably bite me in the ass).. I looked at plug-ins and add-ons and everything looks the same as before I tried Safe Mode.
 

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Vistaar

Vista Guru
It looks like simply going to Safe Mode changed something such that when it went back to normal, it's behaving properly (that statement will probably bite me in the ass)..
I find it difficult to imagine how that could possibly make any difference. :think:

I hesitate to mention anything that might be regarded as advanced, but if others are similarly afflicted, they might want to investigate Force "multiprocess mode" in FF 52. That is mainly a Windows XP thread, so you should pay particular attention to VistaLover’s posts.

Unfortunately the usefulness of this old browser will continue to decline. As I have mentioned before, you are just one deprecation away from being unable to display YouTube’s homepage. (That goes for Chromium 49-based browsers as well as Firefox 52-based browsers.) Some of the XP diehards at MSFN are turning to Chromium-based browsers from China (which is probably where today’s average Vista user lives). Meanwhile, an extended kernel for Vista x64 makes it possible to use recent versions of Chrome or Firefox (although 88.0.1 is the highest Firefox version that currently functions properly).
 

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wither 3

Vista Guru
Gold Member
This is the first time I've heard of v88.0.1 being a working version in Vista. None of the others involved have mentioned it here or in other threads concerning browsers. Where did that come from?
 

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Vistaar

Vista Guru
True, the extended kernel has rarely been mentioned at this forum and I regret bringing it up, especially since you already have a better solution. You have often mentioned having one or more Windows 7 systems, so you could use a better browser whenever you want to. Too bad that Chrome and Edge will probably end support for Win7 in 6 months (and my guess is that 8.1 will also be dumped then). Chromium already requires SSE3, which might bring an end to Chinese backporting for the benefit of XP users (no sense going to tremendous effort if it won’t run on most XP hardware anyway). Still, Firefox might support Win7 for a few more years, and it might be several years before Win7 diehards find themselves using a version that has been out of support as long as your 52.9 has.
 

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Jody Thornton

Power User
True, the extended kernel has rarely been mentioned at this forum and I regret bringing it up, especially since you already have a better solution. You have often mentioned having one or more Windows 7 systems, so you could use a better browser whenever you want to. Too bad that Chrome and Edge will probably end support for Win7 in 6 months (and my guess is that 8.1 will also be dumped then). Chromium already requires SSE3, which might bring an end to Chinese backporting for the benefit of XP users (no sense going to tremendous effort if it won’t run on most XP hardware anyway). Still, Firefox might support Win7 for a few more years, and it might be several years before Win7 diehards find themselves using a version that has been out of support as long as your 52.9 has.
May I ask why you regret bringing up the Vista extended kernel? I've not tried it, nor intend to, but it appears amazing what they have running on Vista.
 

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Vistaar

Vista Guru
May I ask why you regret bringing up the Vista extended kernel? I've not tried it, nor intend to, but it appears amazing what they have running on Vista.
Welcome back Jody! I’ve not tried it either, since my old Vista system is x86 (and in need of refurbishment that it may never get). So there is really no one at this forum who could offer the kind of support that a guru might require. The year-old thread at MSFN is unreadably long, much of it is obsolete, and developer win32 seldom posts anymore. He tried to move the project to Eclipse a few months ago, but he was later banned there. He seems to be busy with other things now and not as enthusiastic anymore. The extended kernel seems to appeal mainly to bright young gamers for whom gaming on an unsupported OS is a game in itself (in many cases they have newer versions of Windows that they could easily use). A good YouTube video was posted last year, but it is now outdated in certain respects. Oh, one cannot run scannow because it would “repair” you back to vanilla Vista. And then there’s the matter of software ending support for Win7 and 8 these days. Still, someone just might want to try it.
 

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wither 3

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Well, I think I figured out what's causing the problem. I also said that my statement would come back to bite me.

I had those same 6 tabs open after I commented and after a while the memory usage had gotten to about 1.5 GB. I cleared history and the cache resulting in little or no effect. I then started closing tabs one at a time with little change until I got down to my e-mail and a new tab. When I closed e-mail, the usage dropped by around a half. Yesterday, I let it run all day with a new tab only and the usage was at what is normal, which is about .25 GB. My e-mail has advertising which includes graphics. The advertisements change about every 30 seconds. Each time they change, the usage goes up a little bit and stabilizes until the next ads come up. Kind of strange since the amount of cache in use is very small compared to the changes in memory usage.

By the way, why is there always two instances of firefox.exe*32 running? Same thing happens in Opera.

I don't use either Chrome or Edge on my Win 7 systems. I'm still using IE 11 and have to beat back Edge once in a while. If I took the time to figure out how to customize Edge with the toolbars, etc., like in IE, I probably wouldn't have a problem using it.
 

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Vistaar

Vista Guru
You did not specify your e-mail, but Gmail is certainly known to be challenging for old browsers.
By the way, why is there always two instances of firefox.exe*32 running? Same thing happens in Opera.
With Firefox 52, one process is the UI and the other is the web content. I’m not an authority on Opera, and you might be the last person on earth who is actually using a 2016 version forked from Chromium 49. Chrome generally creates a separate process for each tab, and Firefox also moved in that direction after they ended support for XP and Vista.

I wonder if your version of Opera installed its own cipher suites for TLS 1.2? I’m quite certain that Chrome 49 did not, and is therefore no more useful for https websites than your IE9.
 

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wither 3

Vista Guru
Gold Member
I was messing around and found that both Opera and SeaMonkey (offshoot of FF) exhibit the same memory usage problem. I hadn't noticed it on Opera previously but I don't use it as much as FF. I might have a chat with EarthLink on this issue.

I noticed that Opera does use a .exe for each tab that's open. Didn't check it for SeaMonkey.
 

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    MSI GTX 560 TI Twin Frozr
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