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At times, Firefox may require significant system resources in order to download, process, and display web content. If you are experiencing periods of sustained high resource usage while using Firefox, this article presents some options for you to review.

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  • The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the 'brain' of the computer.
  • The RAM (Random Access Memory) or Memory helps your computer perform multiple tasks at the same time.
  • When your system resources are being heavily used, the overall performance and stability of the computer can be impacted.
  • Depending on your operating system, you can review and monitor resource usage through specific tools. See the Use additional troubleshooting tools section below for more information.

To determine if an extension or theme is causing Firefox to use too many resources, start Firefox in its Safe Mode and observe its memory and CPU usage. In Safe Mode, extensions and themes are disabled, so if you notice a significant improvement, you can try disabling or uninstalling extensions. The browsers I tested include: Chrome 50, Firefox 46, Edge 13.1, Opera 37, and Internet Explorer 11. (I did try a beta of Opera 39 with its power-saving mode switched on much later but ran into an. Fortunately, there’s a couple of steps you can take to get Firefox back on the fast track. Steps to Halt A Firefox Memory Leak. There are some basic steps you can take to help reduce memory leakage in Firefox. These are: Upgrade Firefox. Newer versions of Firefox use less memory by containing memory leaks more efficiently. This situation gets even worse, if there is a bigbrother page displayed. Firefox takes up to 90 percent cpu, in xchange with xorg taking everything they get. Reproducible: Always Actual Results: uses too much cpu. Expected Results: should use less cpu, as its predessor, firefox 1. and mozilla did.

Note: If you send performance data, Mozilla will gather data including memory and CPU usage, which will help make Firefox better for future versions.

Table of Contents

  • 13Use additional troubleshooting tools

The latest Firefox version may include performance improvements. Update Firefox to the latest release.

Firefox may use more system resources if it's left open for long periods of time. A workaround for this is to periodically restart Firefox. You can configure Firefox to save your tabs and windows so that when you start it again, you can start where you left off. See Restore previous session - Configure when Firefox shows your most recent tabs and windows for details.

Firefox may grind to a halt due to operating system issues, such as a pending Windows update, that can be resolved by restarting your computer.

Extensions and themes can cause Firefox to use more system resources than it normally would.

To determine if an extension or theme is causing Firefox to use too many resources, start Firefox in its Safe Mode and observe its memory and CPU usage. In Safe Mode, extensions and themes are disabled, so if you notice a significant improvement, you can try disabling or uninstalling extensions.

  • For more information on starting Firefox in Safe Mode and on how to find which extension or theme is causing your problem, see Troubleshoot extensions, themes and hardware acceleration issues to solve common Firefox problems.

Many web pages have content you don't need, but which still use system resources to display its content. Firefox's built-in content blocking can help save resources by preventing third-party tracking content from loading. See the Content blockingEnhanced Tracking Protection article for details.

Some extensions allow you to block unnecessary content; for example:

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  • Adblock Plus and uBlock Origin allow you to hide ads on websites.
  • NoScript allows you to selectively enable and disable scripts running on websites.
End of Flash support: Like other browsers and Adobe, Firefox is endingended Flash support at the end of 2020. Please see End of support for Adobe Flash for more information.

If Adobe's Flash Player plugin is installed, rendering Flash content in full screen can be accelerated by hardware. This can ease resource usage in case of a dedicated graphics card.

  1. Navigate to a page that shows a Flash video.
  2. Right-clickHold down the Ctrl key while you click on the video player and click Settings… in the context menu. The Adobe Flash Player Settings screen will open.
  3. Click on the icon at the bottom-left of the Adobe Flash Player Settings window to open the Display panel.
  4. Check Enable hardware acceleration is selected.
  5. Click to close the Adobe Flash Player Settings Window.

Each tab requires Firefox to store a web page in memory. If you frequently have more than 100 tabs open, consider using a more lightweight mechanism to keep track of pages to read and things to do, such as:

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  • Bookmarks. Hint: 'Bookmark All Tabs' will bookmark a set of tabs.
  • Save web pages for later with Pocket for Firefox.
  • To-do list applications.

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Firefox hardware acceleration eases memory and CPU usage in many cases.Check in Firefox's performance settings that hardware acceleration is turned on. Also make sure that your graphics drivers are up-to-date.

With Multiprocess Firefox, also called electrolysis or e10s , Firefox runs web content for all tabs separately from the main Firefox process for increased security and performance. Using multiple content processes can further increase performance and minimize the impact of content process crashes. You can modify Firefox's performance settings to change the content process limit.

You can set between one and eight content processes. The default is eight. Having more content processes can improve performance when using multiple tabs but it will also use more memory. You can reduce the number of content processes if your computer is running out of memory.

Having many applications running simultaneously may cause your computer to run slowly and other applications to do so as well. By closing down some of the unnecessary applications, system usage will be reduced.

Firefox stores your data in various files in your profile folder. The file used for saving individual website settings might be corrupt. If you delete (or rename) that file, your zoom level settings will be reset but it could decrease CPU usage.

    • Click the menu button , click Help and select Troubleshooting Information.From the Help menu, select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.
    • Under the Application Basics section next to Profile FolderDirectory, click . A window will open that contains your profile folder.Your profile folder will open.
    Note: If you are unable to open or use Firefox, follow the instructions in Finding your profile without opening Firefox.
  1. Click the Firefox menu and select Exit.Click the Firefox menu at the top of the screen and select Quit Firefox.Click the Firefox menu and select Quit.
  2. In your profile folder, delete the file content-prefs.sqlite. It will be recreated next time you open Firefox.

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The Refresh Firefox feature can fix many issues by restoring your Firefox profile to its default state while saving your essential information.See Refresh Firefox - reset add-ons and settings for details.


There are a variety of troubleshooting tools that can be used both in Firefox and on your operating system to troubleshoot elevated system resource usage.

Firefox tools

  • The Firefox Task Manager (not to be confused with Windows Task Manager) is a great tool to see what tabs and extensions are using the most system resources.
  • The about:memory page allows you to troubleshoot specific issues relating to memory (for instance, caused by a website, an extension, a theme, etc.) and sometimes its button may help you instantly reduce memory usage. For guidance on use of about:memory visit about:memory.
  • Even if you're not a programmer, you can try your hand at some other tools and tips Firefox developers use to debug leaks.

Operating system tools

  • View how system resources are being used by checking the Windows Task ManagerPerformance tab (click on 'More details' in the Task Manager to show all tabs). See this Windows blog post at Microsoft's site for more information.
  • View how system resources are being used by checking Activity Monitor. See How to use Activity Monitor on your Mac at Apple's site for more information.
  • Although it's not included on every distribution of Linux, most versions of Linux have a graphical resource monitor. It's often called System Monitor, but there are other alternatives also available.
  • Running the top command in the terminal will display a list of all the running processes and their system resource consumption.
WARNING: There are a variety of third-party programs that promise to increase your computer's performance. You should exercise caution when installing third-party software and only use reputable software provided by an official source.

If you exhausted all tips in the previous sections and your memory usage is still close to the maximum, maybe it's time for you to add more memory to your computer. Adding RAM will provide a huge performance boost.

If you exhausted all tips in the previous sections and you are still experiencing high system resource usage, it may be time to upgrade your computer. As technology progresses, software is becoming more advanced and requires more powerful computers to run effectively.

I just purchased a brand new notebook for my wife: HPEnvy, Intel i7, 8Gb,250Gb SSD. Fired it up, used the Edge browser to get to Mozilla to grab FF. Full disclosure, we live near the edge of the known world and have a mighty 1.2 mb DSL connection. Almost forgot, Windows 10 Home Edition.

Still, the installer download finished at 6:46 PM. I started the executable shortly after the d/l, it is now 8:28 pm and it continues to say “Now installing.....”. The progress indicator in the taskbar icon indicates that it is at less than 10% complete.

Please advise.

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I am submitting this from my iPad as the PC is otherwise engaged. Thanks for listening.