Most of the time my Firefox browser will have many tabs open, but at the minimum it will always have gmail and google reader open. This morning my memory usage for Firefox was hovering at 900mb and reached over 1gb. Needless to say the performance in the browser was horrible. Even closing Firefox took about 3 minutes. On restarting Firefox the performance would be better but eventually the memory usage does creep back up again.
I read in a recent blog post from The Windows Club about the free SpeedyFox – this compresses the sql-lite database that Firefox now uses for internal storage. Download the program, quit Firefox and run the small executable – no install necessary. It will show the default Firefox profile but it is also possible to select other profiles in a drop down box. It took about 20 seconds to run on my profile although the more information page mentions it could take 5 to 60 minutes to run.
The author also recommends that the program is also run about every two weeks. This can be done by creating a scheduled task using the case sensitive /default_profile switch or using /profile:name or /profile:path (needed when Firefox portable is being optimized. Slightly more information is available within the Help menu of the program. Note that if you were running this automatically you would have to exit Firefox first – this could either be accomplished using autoit or by just killing the program with “taskkill /im firefox.exe”
After the program was run I relaunched Firefox and the performance is so much better. Granted I’m running from a new launch of Firefox but I was able to stream a Youtube video immediately with no buffering requests, I was able to type this post in the browser without having to wait for the text to catch up with me and so far everything works great (my memory usage is currently up to 126mb with 3 tabs open.
I’m not going to promise that this program will do the same thing for everybody’s browser but it is definitely worth running. Currently the program is Windows only, but a Mac client is in development.