How To “Fix” Firefox Memory Leaks

By | June 9, 2011

How To Fix Firefox Memory Leaks

Suitable for systems with low amounts of memory only.

If, for one reason or another you still experience Firefox memory leaks that seem to affect your web browsing experience, then Firefox Plumber could be the extension you’ve been waiting for.

Although it does not actually solve the issue itself, Firefox Plumber offloads your RAM in favor of the hard drive.

That means if you are running low on memory, you can sacrifice your hard drive lifespan and enjoy the functionality.

While running some tests, PCTechAuthority has concluded that while Firefox Plumber was constantly using 3-4% of the CPU and wearing your HDD, memory usage has dropped from 120 MB to just 1 MB during the Firefox launch.

Alternatively, you can just try different web browser.


[Thanks, Ichan]

About (Author Profile)

Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

Comments (72)

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  1. Adis H says:

    I think this sums it up pretty well:
    Don’t forget to zoom in.

  2. Adis H says:

    *double post fail*

  3. Anonymous says:

    Firefox memory leak fix here:

    You also get a major bump in functionality and performance too.

    • Scorpion3003 says:

      Nice Try, Opera has memory leaks as well. uses a bit more than Firefox. Using a different browser is not going to solve the problem, it’s up to the browser makers to fix those problems. the only thing you can do is report those leaks or file a bug report.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well if you knew how Windows handles memory, you would understand the difference between WHY it looks like Opera is leaking memory and how Firefox IS leaking memory.

        You can’t just look at the memory pool in task manager, it’s MUCH more complicated that than.   Opera whilst not totally leak free is actually very good, it’s also very good at using unused memory and giving it back to Windows when needed.

        • Anonymous says:

          Do not give us the “Opera uses memory efficiently and releases to thee OS” crap.

          Why does your statement only apply to Opera when other browsers use 1/3 as much?

          And this is not only bound to Windows. The program needs to give back the memory as soon as its closed not when it feels like it.

          • Anonymous says:

            “Do not give us the “Opera uses memory efficiently and releases to thee OS” crap.”

            Why would he not give you the facts?

          • Anonymous says:

            Because it is not.

            Have you even used Opera ?

            Have you followed the forums?

            (Sorry you can’t as Opera Mods Delete them as soon as they are opened)

          • Anonymous says:

            Most threads about memory use are made by people who don’t know what they are talking about. They have 4 GB RAM and are complaining because Opera uses 200 MB.

            It’s the same story in the Chrome and Mozilla forums. People have some baseless idea about memory usage, and complain about both Chrome and Firefox. The fact is that these people don’t have a clue, so using them as a basis for saying anything about memory usage is just silly.

            Opera mods delete them? Just had a look. Plenty of threads about that. Of course, most of the ones I looked at are exactly what I thought: People complaining without there being a reason for it.

            But now the question is: Why are you lying about Opera deleting threads as soon as they are opened? This is evidently not the case. There are lots of threads discussing memory usage.

            Liar, liar, pants on fire.

          • Anonymous says:

            Ahh man. Believing in the bull that Opera feeds it’s consumers. SO you are telling me if I have 8gigs of ram it is totally acceptable for Opera to leak 1GB? Even use 400MB. That is totally unacceptable. Nothing uses ram like that. It’s a browser  (fine Internet Suite) for Gods sake.

            Give it a minute it will disappear soon. I do not know about you @kramsno:disqus but Il’ve been following Opera threads a long time and as soon as there is any flack they bring in the nerd force.

          • Qa says:

            This is a direct attack to the person, not the message he brings (like he did). Ventilating one’s disdain towards Opera users is not to be confused with a discussion about a specific beahavior.

          • Qa says:

            Mmh, bad phrasing. With (like he did) I meant to indicate he attacked the persoon too.

          • Anonymous says:

            Please cry somewhere else. There were no attacks from the both of us. If you are the kind of person that takes offence to every little remark then you leave no choice but to rate this PG-13. 

          • Qa says:

            Oh, ok. You are a liar, a troll, a whiner and a retard. But, please, don’t consider this as a personal attack. Now go to bed, it’s well past 7.
            Please reply as much and as lengthy as possible, I won’t be reading it.

          • Anonymous says:

            @c1d4b3c454f18442503a87903bbc117f:disqus  And the true colours finally come out. Thank you for your input. Bye bye Hypocrite.

          • Anonymous says:

            Heh. You are clearly a bit slow. He was being sarcastic. It was a response to your claim that there are not personal attacks, so he pointed out, in a sarcastic way, that the things he called you were not personal attacks according to you.

            So not only do you know nothing about memory handling in software, but you aren’t even able to understand simple points like his.

          • Anonymous says:

            Nah you don’t say. That was a response to the last remark. The “Idiot” part. 

            And you sir. Just btch talk. On and on. Can’t you do that in the real world? Go on I dare you to say half the things you’ve said to me to a random, stranger on the street. We’ll see how many teeth you have left.

            (Are you a highly paid engineer by any chance? If you were you would be outraged if your software used 1Gig to translate html, css etc. to a user friendly view. You speak as if you’ve created the term “software”)

          • Anonymous says:

            Ooh, internet tough guy! You must feel very proud of yourself, hiding behind your screen while making threats.

            And you aren’t truly so ignorant as to think that all a browser does is to “translate HTML and CSS”? Today’s sites are extremely complex, with lots of code and advanced techniques. You seem to think it’s just as easy as displaying a plain text file!

            Ignorance is bliss.

            By the way, if I saw you on the street, I would just ignore you like I ignore other crazy people. But on the web, crazy people are posting for the world to see, and that makes it important to correct them from time to time.

          • Anonymous says:

            You are wrong, and you don’t know anything about software or memory handling.

            1 of 8 GB is nothing. The RAM is there to be used. That’s the whole point.

            You may have been following threads, but you are as ignorant as the rest of the people who complain about memory usage when there’s actually nothing to complain about.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m sorry but why do Opera users always defend it’s memory usage? If a software uses 1Gig from an available pool (providing it is not an intensive application) then yes it is a big deal. Call me anything you wish (I wont hold it against you), but Opera has broken memory management period.

          • Anonymous says:

            I notice how you fail to address the actual topic. I have just explained to you how it works, and yet you can do nothing but change the subject and insist that you are right even though you can’t even get basic facts straight.

            If software uses 1 GB out of 8 GB, that is nothing. Memory is there to be used. You are denying this simple, basic fact, and thereby revealing yourself as an ignoramus.

          • Anonymous says:

            You are doing the exact same thing then.

            Please take a step AWAY from your OPERA and look at its flaws. Take OFF the ROSE coloured GLASSES.

            You are contemplating that it is alright for a simple browser to take up 1GIG of SPACE. Listen to yourself. In what world is that right. Ludicrous I tells ya!

            Opera the pig of memory.

            All you are doing is attacking left and right.

          • Anonymous says:

            See, there’s that ignorance again.
            A browser is not just a simple HTML viewer anymore.

            A modern browser has to handle extremely complex code, combining HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and more, and at the same time do it very quickly. It has to store data, remember states, cache DOM structures, etc. Opera in particular was designed to do a lot of caching (which is why it is probably the only browser that allows you to go back instantly most of the time).

            And then there’s the fact that browsers like Opera store closed tabs, and more.

            You are completely ignorant of how memory usage in browser works. That is not an attack. It is a statement of fact.

          • Anonymous says:

            Blah blah blah.

            No your right. Opera is the only browser of its kind. Its a pig (And a good one at that)

            Read further up. I did say that  ” to translate html, css etc.”

            Thanks to Opera an it’s great features. If it weren’t for them other browser vendors wouldn’t have any means to ripoff and improve what they neglect.

            You lack any means of a real argument. Turn around and bark at me all you wish about memory this and memory that. I stand by what I say. It is an inefficient browser.

            You still havent demonstrated that you are a engineer by any means. I don’t understand memory do you?

            (Just don’t be the one tooting that Opera improved memory management by 50% in the next version. You know the one’s that exclaimed how Extensions were bad and now kiss Opera shiny rear because they decided to support it.) It’s Opera business model to brainwash their userbase by the means of FUD because they know that they were wrong.

          • Anonymous says:

            You can keep repeating the nonsense over and over again, but it won’t change the fact that you have no clue how memory handling works.

            And when I expose your ignorance about browser (thinking that they are nothing but glorified plain text viewers? Wow) you write a long comment where you try to derail the discussions yet again.

            Tooting? I’m not tooting anything. I’m preventing other people from being infected by your ignorance.

            Who exclaimed how extensions were bad? Are you drunk or something?

            Brainwash? You have been brainwashed by your own incompetence. And the FUD here is yours alone.


          • Anonymous says:

            Ahh man. You are like a kindergarten kid that just won’t accept anything. All you do is stick to your “FAIL. You don’t know anything about memory. I am a master of memory” bullsht. “I am the messiah that will save joo from the ignorance. HARR. HARR”

            Do you even read? I quoted myself saying that they handle html, css  etc. Sorry if I wasn’t in-depth like you including all the 600 features of javascript. Woop de Doo. Achievement unlocked!

            Have fun.

          • Anonymous says:

            You thought that handling today’s web pages was like opening a plain text document, but the fact is that today’s browsers are insanely complex, even compared to just a few years ago. It’s not just HTML, CSS and JS either, but all sorts of advanced stuff.

            Yes, you weren’t in-depth, but now you should know better. You should know that today’s browsers are very complex, and have to handle very complex input and output.

          • Anonymous says:

            PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read UP.

            “But all sorts of advanced stuff”

            Care to elaborate. Programmer?

          • Anonymous says:

            You are clueless, and refuse to educate yourself. I have already explained this, but you chose to ignore it.

            Your loss. You can continue to be willfully ignorant.

          • Anonymous says:

            You havent explained anything.

            You have resulted to attack and condemn me. What have you added?

            When I call you out (instead of explaining) you run away and dismiss the question.

            I ask you again “How do you know all this? Are you a software engineer? Do you programme for a living? Do you have indepth knowledge of memory?”

            Why are you doing all this?

          • Anonymous says:

            I have repeatedly explained simple, basic facts, and you have chosen to ignore it.

            Furthermore, you even started threatening me earlier!

            You have not called anyone out. You have only spammed the discussion with your ignorant nonsense.

            I know all this because unlike you, I have a minimum of knowledge, and I have read statements by Opera developers and other browser developers.

            Why I am doing this? Why are YOU doing this?

          • Marah Marie says:

            “You are contemplating that it is alright for a simple browser to take up 1GIG of SPACE.”

            Oh dear God – *flails* – memory does not take up “space”! You were doing OK until that. The program takes up space – on your hard drive – but not the memory it uses (unless you’re counting how it swaps out to hard drive, which doesn’t count, since swap space isn’t permanently assigned to any one external program, like say, Opera). But that aside, you have a good point. But have you looked at Opera lately? It’s bloated. It comes with like 3,000 things almost no one needs or uses these days, so I guess that all uses up a lot of memory.


          • Anonymous says:

            I think you misunderstood. It is taking away 1GB from the available pool of memory. My fault for not clarifying. No. I wasn’t referring to swap space either.

            Yes I am a subscriber to the desktop team. You are right on the ball. It simply has too many features that a) no one uses or b) confuses people entirely.

            They really need to unify widgets, extensions and unite.

          • Anonymous says:

            Since those features don’t increase the memory usage noticeably (removing things like mail wouldn’t cause Opera to use less memory), you are missing the mark as always.

          • Anonymous says:

            You sound like Opera PR. Do you know the issue people had with mail? Do you follow the Desktop Team? Or the forums for that matter?


            READ THE COMMENTS:

            80 ms – +++ MailEngineGlue::Init completed
            80 ms – ++ Mail::Start completed
            80 ms – + Mail
            Why mail if the mail client isn’t activated?

            (Hurry Before they decide to delete it)

          • Anonymous says:

            Opera Next Latest Version (After a warm start / Second Run)

            2011-06-18 06:35:48.890  18 ms – ++++ MailEngineGlue::Init completed2011-06-18 06:35:48.890  18 ms – +++ Mail::Start completed2011-06-18 06:35:48.890  18 ms – ++ Mail

            Deny That.

            Best Case:

            2011-06-18 06:39:29.752 0 ms – +++++ Init Mail Base
            2011-06-18 06:39:29.752 0 ms – +++++ Init Message Id Index
            2011-06-18 06:39:29.752 0 ms – ++++++ Init chat rooms model
            2011-06-18 06:39:29.752 0 ms – ++++++ Init accounts model
            2011-06-18 06:39:29.753 1 ms – ++++++ Init accounts manager
            2011-06-18 06:39:29.753 1 ms – +++++ Init mail root dir completed
            2011-06-18 06:39:29.753 1 ms – ++++ MailEngineGlue::Init completed
            2011-06-18 06:39:29.753 1 ms – +++ Mail::Start completed
            2011-06-18 06:39:29.753 1 ms – ++ Mail

          • Anonymous says:

            Deny what? That is exactly what I’m saying: Features you don’t use won’t affect you in any noticeable way. A couple of ms is not noticeable.

            You are a dishonest liar who misrepresents other people’s statements. Shame on you.

          • Anonymous says:

            But it is still taking resources even though you claim that it will not.

            It’s not a matter of if you can notice the Millisecs but rather if it is taking resources. For the programme to initialize mail means it is taking resources how little they may be.

            Someone that doesnt accept the error of their ways has no right to call someone else a liar

          • Anonymous says:

            Lying again, are you? I have repeatedly stated that any resource usage is not actually noticeable. By showing just how little it actually uses, you are proving my point.

            It is not taking any amount of resources that is actually noticeable. When you start going on about 1 GB RAM, and then whine about a couple of kb here and there, that proves you are really lost.

            Yes, it is a matter of whether it is noticeable or not. If you have 8 GB RAM, something taking up 15K will not be noticeable at all. It has no actual noticeable impact on anything.

          • Anonymous says:

            Oh My God! 80 ms! What a catastrophy! But why are you talking about startup time when the discussion was about memory? Dishonesty, of course.

            Also, you are dishonestly ignoring my point: You won’t notice anything if you remove mail. It might save you a couple of theoretical ms when starting Opera, but that is not noticeable in reality.

          • Anonymous says:

            Actually, those features do not use a lot of memory because they are tiny, and won’t even affect you if you don’t actually use them. What takes up memory is handling complex pages, and being fast at doing so.

            So you are way off the mark here.

          • Marah Marie says:

            Oh noes, I am way off the mark here – but nope, not really. Consider all the crap Opera comes with – Unite – Widgets – Turbo – Dragonfly – email – download manager – script manager – extensive tab/cache management, and so on. My take on it is it’s all interacting/working together poorly, causing memory overruns. Same shit as Firefox: the more add-ons, plugins, chrome and and other crap you pile on the more RAM it uses – period. And on older systems, netbooks and other low-RAM devices, yes, this will make a big, big difference. But thanks all the same for your *opinion*. When you can tell me you’re an Opera dev – and actually prove it – hey, maybe I’ll start taking notes.

          • Anonymous says:

            No matter how small the download size. If you have redundant features that are unlikely to get used it is still bloat. Unlike the other browsers where you get big file size and less features; it doesnt manifest as aggressively in memory as Opera tries to.

            Probably the biggest problem with Opera is the cache management is too aggressive by default. Memory cache setting doesnt do a thing. Turning off that instant back rewind button doesnt do a thing. It is too aggressive by design.

          • Anonymous says:

            No, features that don’t affect you in any noticeable way if you don’t use them are not bloat. The fact is that Opera is smaller than the other browsers despite having more features. That is the opposite of bloat.

            No, those features that you don’t use won’t affect you in any noticeable way. The Opera devs have stated this numerous times, so you are just making false statements.

            You are clueless, so what you consider to be “too aggressive” is irrelevant.

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t really care what you “consider” to be this and that. Your subjective opinions are useless and irrelevant.

            The point is that those extra features don’t actually affect you in any noticeable way, contrary to your false beliefs. This is a fact. You may “feel” that the features don’t belong there, but they won’t actually affect you in any noticeable way.

            If you don’t use them, they won’t “work together”, and the memory usage is tied to handling complex pages. Please educate yourself. The Opera devs have stated this numerous times.

          • Anonymous says:

            Look you are being unreasonable.

            I am providing evidence whereas you just type useless comments.

            Are you saying it takes no amount of memory to initialize mail?

          • Anonymous says:

            You are providing nothing of the sorts.

            First of all, this is a discussion about memory.

            Secondly, you are proving the point. A few ms during startup is not at all noticeable.

          • Marah Marie says:

            You know, you don’t read for context, do you? I didn’t tell you I was “considering” anything; I asked *you* to “consider” the full extent of Opera’s useless bloat  – two different statements altogether, but you see only what you want you to see, which like most other things you pop off with in this thread, is completely rude and inconsiderate of you.

            Similarly, I didn’t say that I “feel” ny features don’t belong in Opera – you’re pulling that out of thin air  – both the word “feel” and how I worded it beyond that. I said there’s a bunch of crap in Opera no one uses and that my *take* on it is it might be contributing to some memory overruns. I based that on my observation that Firefox has more out-of-the-box features than ever before and uses more RAM now as a result.  But I didn’t say anyone should take the extra features out of Opera. I personally don’t give a crap if the Opera devs add more bloat in future releases; I don’t use Opera except to test websites, which brings me to another remarkable point:

            The Opera devs have stated *numerous things* numerous times, so their word is as good as dirt in my eyes. For instance, they have stated numerous times that Opera has the “best” CSS handling of any browser. Bullshit. They have the worst – worse than IE’s. To this day Opera cannot scale font sizes nor position simple little list images correctly. Their engine mimics Trident pre-IE 9 only worse in certain respects, but Opera devs won’t mess with how Opera renders because, hey, they have stated *numerous times* that it has the *best* CSS handling, so they don’t care what anyone says now.

            They can keep talking to themselves because I’m not listening anymore; I’ll stick with Firefox’s superior CSS rendering and everything else that’s better, from appearance to cache management to add-ons, thank you very much.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes you see this gentleman above. He know’s the lies of that is Opera ASA

            Ironic that the father of CSS works for Opera

          • Anonymous says:

            I do not know if I laugh or just feel sorry


            “There are some performance and memory usage improvements in this build, the highlight here is a big speed up for parseInt.” (- lol spelt it wrong)

          • Anonymous says:

            What is that link supposed to show?

            Spelled what wrong?

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes I should have known. You are too blinded by the ignorance.

          • Anonymous says:

            You should have known? No, you should have explained what on earth you were talking about, because there’s nothing there that’s relevant to the discussion.

          • Anonymous says:

            Since it is nearly impossible to reply to all your messages, I would give my final reply here.

            You are blinded by the fact that you choose ignorance over truth. You believe a company that has had trouble and often times lied. You have a company that has denied features telling its base how useless or inefficient it is to include, yet include those same features in near releases.

            You are right. You win. In your eyes Opera is the messiah. I can’t do any wrong.

            Ask yourself this. If Opera were really that good then where is the userbase? Majority of it is in Europe. Is it because of Advertising? Or is it because of the simple fact that they ignore their userbase and introduce and fix things when they deem is necessary?

            Your average user just wants to get on the internet. They do not care for extensions, unite, widgets, mail, IRC, Torrent support for just that purpose alone. But let me tell you. They REALLY care about the memory usage.

            That last post linking to the desktop team adds this: “If ram is there to be used infinitely, then why is Opera themselves improving memory usage”? – Contradictory, No?

    • From my personal experience, Opera has the worst scrolling performance out of all web browsers.

  4. Tiago Sá says:

    Opera sucks.

    Firefox could use 10987047507GB of RAM I’d still use it.

    • DWBH says:

      Haters gonna hate.

    • Robson Cordeiro says:

      Chrome FanBoy Troll detected.

      • Tiago Sá says:

        Total fail… Chrome could use 1KB of RAM (it actually uses tons of it, way more than Firefox) and would STILL hate it.

        Chrome is for noobs.

        • Anonymous says:

          Are you still butthurt that Chrome is closing in on your precious FireFox?

          • Tiago Sá says:

            I would use Firefox even if Chrome were to have 95% of the market and Firefox only 3%.

            Oh, wait, I did use Firefox when IE had 95% of the market and Firefox only 3%.

            Chrome is the new IE, man. Face it. If it weren’t for the marketing and bundles and spyware, it wouldn’t be half what it is. And Firefox 4 is proof of that. A hugely improved browser over 3.6 (which, in its own, is better than Chrome has ever been), and still absolutely no change in Firefox’s market share.

            I wish Firefox had only 10% or 5%, so I’d be more secure since fewer crackers would be targeting it.

          • Anonymous says:

            Is Opera really secure due to market share or it’s lack of exploitable bugs?

            Although market share does play a big role in attracting hackers it is only half the story.

          • FForever says:

            Please, read forums, facebook posts by Mozilla. Many FF v4 users are complaining about various bugs, weak performance, memory leaks. For most of people who were searching for simple, fast browser Chrome is the new king, FF v4 is too bloat for them, UI is very intuitive. Thanks god Aza Raskin quited, maybe Mozilla now can improve their unintuitive UI

          • Anonymous says:

            Chrome is a bigger download than Firefox. Chrome is definitely more bloated.

            Bigger size for less features = bloat. Even Google admitted to that.

          • Anonymous says:

            Admitted? Where?

          • Anonymous says:

            Yep. You know you hardly notice since the way they design the installer.

            The sandboxing each memory thing really ticks me off though.

          • Anonymous says:

            Ironically, was because of Google’s advertising push that Firefox got its growth. When Google stopped promoting Firefox, the growth stopped as well.

  5. yao qq says:

    I doubt that this problem can be repaired.The browsers I used, firefox,manthon,Avant browser, opera,chrome needless to say IE all have the Memory leaks. IE>manthon>firefox>avant browser>chrome,chrome is the one has least memory leaks,Avant browser is the second.

  6. Paulius Vaičiulis says:

    I have to say that IE9 uses at least memory for me and is super cool.

  7. David says:

    Alt+F4 solve everything,