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  1. #1
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    I'm running FF 3.6.3 on Vista Home Premium SP2. My Firefox has frequent short "hangs" lasting about 0.5 - 2.0 sec. This is very noticeable when displaying videos e.g. in Youtube; the video freezes but the sound doesn't. But anything in FF will suffer from this, even typing. It makes it really painful to use FF sometimes.

    I asked about this in the Mozilla forums and didn't get any solutions, but it might be worth looking there to see more details, see what I've already tried, etc.

    Any ideas? I'm seriously considering switching to Chrome if I can't resolve this.

    Thanks!
    Gary

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fritz View Post
    I'm running FF 3.6.3 on Vista Home Premium SP2. My Firefox has frequent short "hangs" lasting about 0.5 - 2.0 sec.
    One reason Firefox sometimes "pauses" is for cache pruning. There's no such thing as the perfect cache size, but perhaps if you make some adjustments you can find a setting that works better for your needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fritz View Post
    I asked about this in the Mozilla forums and didn't get any solutions, but it might be worth looking there to see more details, see what I've already tried, etc.
    MozillaZine is actually not the official Firefox support forum, but the people there are very good and less overworked than on the official forum.

  3. #3
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    Do you mean Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Network tab -> Offline storage? That's the only cache adjustment I know of. I've raised it from 50MB to 200MB as a test.

    But I doubt that's it, unless FF is in the habit of pruning its cache every 30 seconds or so. The hanging can happen that frequently, even when I'm doing something as non-intensive as typing this response.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fritz View Post
    Do you mean Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Network tab -> Offline storage? That's the only cache adjustment I know of. I've raised it from 50MB to 200MB as a test.

    But I doubt that's it, unless FF is in the habit of pruning its cache every 30 seconds or so. The hanging can happen that frequently, even when I'm doing something as non-intensive as typing this response.
    More likely lack of memory.
    How much ram memory do you have installed.
    What is your OS, 32bit or 64bit?
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

  5. #5
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    4GB. 32bit. Sometimes I load it pretty heavily -- e.g. with VMware running several OSs -- but it does this even with just 8-10 apps running and < 2GB "physical memory in use" according to Task Manager.

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    Probably related: it doesn't usually do this, but today I noticed that Firefox was in some kind of periodic CPU-eating cycle. Every 20-22 seconds or so it spiked one CPU to near 100%, then returned to its normal low CPU usage. The brief lock-ups seemed to correspond with these CPU spikes. Which would make perfect sense, if something is spiking the CPU every 20 seconds -- except it doesn't usually show the spiking behavior (I'm 99.99% sure) but it *always* eventually does the lockups.

    I generally run with at least 10-12 tabs open and I often leave FF up for days at a time. I've noticed that FF's memory usage grows over time -- it's got a 675MB working set right now -- and if I stop and restart it, the memory starts out at a reasonable level again. I think it also reduces the lockups for a while but I have a less-clear correlation on that.

    It takes 40 seconds or more for firefox.exe to actually exit after I kill Firefox. As soon as I killed FF, the CPU spikes stopped in the CPU they'd been in. Some other spikes started in the other core, but not as regular. By the time firefox.exe fully exited, the spikes seemed to be gone from both cores.

    When I started FF up again, the spikes were gone. So were the lockups. For now.

    So something weird is up, but I sure can't tell what it is...

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Could it be that FF cleans out all stored web pages, etc when you shut it down, and that when "I generally run with at least 10-12 tabs open and I often leave FF up for days at a time." the browser cache continues to build? I'm a little more familiar with IE, but now use FF for about 90 % of my browsing. I have set FF up for private browsing so that each time I close it down, it automatically clears all the cached pages. I'm wondering if this would help your situation.

    I know that shutting down windows allows maintenance processes to be completed. Closing IE does so as well. I believe that perhaps this could be a part of your problems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fritz View Post
    Probably related: it doesn't usually do this, but today I noticed that Firefox was in some kind of periodic CPU-eating cycle. Every 20-22 seconds or so it spiked one CPU to near 100%, then returned to its normal low CPU usage. The brief lock-ups seemed to correspond with these CPU spikes.
    I use FF 3.6.3 and have quite a number of extensions installed, and use lots of tabs (have 35 open now), and leave FF running for a day or two or longer. I usually only restart FF when there are add on updates to install (Tool->Addons, extensions tab: Find Updates). In my experience, FF used to have memory problems (memory consumption would grow and grown until FF crashed), but I haven't had that problem for quite some time now. I traced the root cause of my memory problems back to extensions. Have you tried disabling all your extensions and then reenabling them one at a time while seeing how FF behaved? One extension that I used to like is Ghostery - but I have it disabled because of the problems that it caused. (I left it installed in case the developer published an update, so I could see it and install it).

    Also, another thing to thing to check - since the spike is so regular - are any of your tabs set to Reload every xx seconds??

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fritz View Post
    I generally run with at least 10-12 tabs open and I often leave FF up for days at a time. I've noticed that FF's memory usage grows over time -- it's got a 675MB working set right now -- and if I stop and restart it, the memory starts out at a reasonable level again. I think it also reduces the lockups for a while but I have a less-clear correlation on that.

    It takes 40 seconds or more for firefox.exe to actually exit after I kill Firefox. As soon as I killed FF, the CPU spikes stopped in the CPU they'd been in. Some other spikes started in the other core, but not as regular. By the time firefox.exe fully exited, the spikes seemed to be gone from both cores.
    Again, I would look toward the extensions that you are using. I have the SQLite Optimizer extension installed, and it runs a cleanup on the FF database on exit. It doesn't take 40 seconds on my system, it's more like 20-25 seconds.

  9. #9
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    I had the exact same problem, FF would hang, spike usage to 99%, every few minutes.

    I ended up disabling/removing all my plug ins, extensions, etc. Naturally I didn't do 1 at a time or pay particular attention to what was there, but I had a lot of cute little things installed.

    The only ones I have now are things like PDF, Flash, Java, just the bare minimum. That solved my problem


    I have also heard it may be caused by a corrupt profile, so you may want to create a new one and see if the problem goes away.


    It is such an annoying problem that I was ready to switch to chrome.

  10. #10
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    I had the same problem, not only with FireFox, but several other apps. I would get (Not Responding) in the Windows (Vista) title bar. The problem went away when I removed McAfee VirusScan and replaced it with Microsoft Security Essentials. Maybe your antivirus software is hogging the CPU.

    Pat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Hamilton View Post
    I had the same problem, not only with FireFox, but several other apps. I would get (Not Responding) in the Windows (Vista) title bar. The problem went away when I removed McAfee VirusScan and replaced it with Microsoft Security Essentials. Maybe your antivirus software is hogging the CPU.

    Pat
    I have the same issue with Firefox frequently hanging with 100% CPU usage. In my case, anyway, it's definitely not related to my anti-malware/spyware/virus software (which happens to be from Webroot). When I first noticed the hangs, I completely disabled my security software, thinking it might be the culprit. It made no difference at all; Firefox still hung and just as frequently.

    --Larry

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Christopher View Post
    I use FF 3.6.3 and have quite a number of extensions installed, and use lots of tabs (have 35 open now), and leave FF running for a day or two or longer. ... In my experience, FF used to have memory problems (memory consumption would grow and grown until FF crashed), but I haven't had that problem for quite some time now. I traced the root cause of my memory problems back to extensions. Have you tried disabling all your extensions and then reenabling them one at a time while seeing how FF behaved?
    Yes, I have. For months now I've only been running with Roboform and a few others -- Java console, Adobe DLM, Tab Mix Plus, I think that was it. I just disabled everything except Roboform and Java, but I've done this before and it didn't help. I've even disabled ALL add-ons, including Roboform (the Roboform toolbar was still there) and that didn't help either. I hope this isn't caused by Roboform. Maybe I should try completely uninstalling Roboform and see if that makes any difference. Except I don't know my passwords.

    It's encouraging to hear that FF **CAN** run without eating up RAM and without the hangs, even with 35 tabs! (You've got me beat, I'm impressed!! ) But I've disabled just about everything and it's not helping. I don't know what else to try.

    Also, another thing to thing to check - since the spike is so regular - are any of your tabs set to Reload every xx seconds??
    Don't think so, though I do usually have a finance.google.com stock chart open. But the spike is NOT normal behavior. It was just something unusual and noteworthy when I posted about it.

    Again, I would look toward the extensions that you are using. I have the SQLite Optimizer extension installed, and it runs a cleanup on the FF database on exit. It doesn't take 40 seconds on my system, it's more like 20-25 seconds.
    It literally takes 45-60 seconds or more for the firefox.exe process to exit, assuming it's been running long enough to build up to 400-600MB of working set. I don't know what's eating up the memory, and I don't know what's running to gradually free the memory. Anybody know if there's some way to find out??

    Gary

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    I have that problem also. It seems to be that it happens when it's accessing/updating the data in it's SQLlite database files.

    A lot of folks swear that if they turn off the options --- Tools --> Options --> Security --> "Block reported attack sites" --- and Tools --> Options --> Security --> "Block reported web forgeries" --- that it helps alleviate this. It may have helped mine a little, but not to my liking.

    I also have a lot of RSS feeds bookmarked, and they have to be periodically updated, which also causes access to these database files.

    It seems that the people designing Firefox and it's database file access haven't heard of multi-threading, because they should be able to update these files in a separate thread and allow the rest of the browser functions to continue unabated.

    Due to this problem I still use 3.0.19 on a netbook. The older versions didn't use SQLlite database files and do not have this problem. I swear it's going to cause a lot of defections if they don't get this fixed.

  14. #14
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    I have this exact same problem and it drives me nuts.
    I am convinced that it is based on extensions or plugins, as it only occurs on one of my Vista x64 systems, the one that I have loaded up with my favorite extensions.

    It also causes pauses while I am typing, such as in this forum reply.

  15. #15
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    There are several problems running around when you are viewing streaming videos in Flash format through Firefox. One is a well-documented Firefox "memory leak" in which they browser does not free up the RAM it is using as a memory cache. This problem increases with the number of tabs, the number of extensions, and the number of tabs with active content.

    Another unrelated issue with videos hesitating or being jittery is Flash Player's caching. You can adjust the Buffer Size in Flash Player to improve performance with video streams. But a lot depends on how fast the bits get downloaded from the server. You Tube is notorious for not delivering a smooth stream, and some ISPs are "prioritizing" or "throttling" certain types of data streams, including video streams. I find that Hulu.com suffers a lot less from this kind of degradation than YouTube, and no wonder, as some ISPs get paid by Comcast-NBC-Universal for prioity access to their bandwidth.

    So, increase your Flash Player Buffer cache, and see if that helps. Unfortunately, the Firefox "memory leak" is more complicated, and no really good solutions have yet come to light. Maybe Firefox 4, due out later this year, will help the situation. And if more sites move from Flash to HTML5 (another new feature due out with Firefox 4), streaming video might work even better in the future.
    -- Bob Primak --

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