My Experience with Firefox 1.5 & Memory Leak Problems

Well I’ve been using Firefox 1.5 for quite some time now, so I thought I’d write a little bit about it, and let you know if it’s worth upgrading from 1.0.7.

The first thing I noticed was greater memory usage, this may have been due to some of the extensions, but from what I’d read a lot of it was to do with the way Firefox cached images, and didn’t release the memory after the tab was closed.

After a day or so of use…my memory useage often looked something like this:

Firefox Memory Leak

This is indeed quite insane.

That’s around 2GB of memory, including what it’s used from the page file, obviously something is wrong there.

I did see it improve slightly with an update to the Adblock extension, (d3 nightly 40 had a memory leak).

I’ve just updated to today, so I’ll have to see if that makes it any better as it states in the release notes that it fixes some memory leaks.

I did notice a few minor leaks on 1.0.7, but nothing like this.

I didn’t have any problems upgrading from 1.0.7 extension wise, it told me which extensions weren’t compatible and helped me check for updates, everything I really wanted was available so that was great. I don’t use all that many extensions now, namely:

  • Adblock
  • IE View
  • Tabbrowser Preferences
  • DictionarySearch
  • BBCode
  • Google Pagerank Status
  • Download Manager Tweak
  • Bugmenot
  • Disable Targets for Downloads

One of the first things I noticed about 1.5 was it was considerably faster at opening new tabs, loading new pages and rendering HTML. It was quite an improvement over 1.0.7 (and it should be, with the amount of memory it uses!).

Something that really annoyed me about 1.0.7 was fixed aswell, the fact that when you had a pop-up window (like the comments on a blogger blog) and you opened a new link, it opened in a tab you couldn’t click could only access it by using CTRL+TAB. In 1.5 a tab is actually shown, even in a pop-up which is good!

Firefox Tab

I’ve also noticed 1.5 does seem to be more stable with less random crashes and disappearing acts.

The update system is a lot more robust on 1.5 aswell, especially for the browser itself, for the 1.0.x series, you had to download the whole 5.8MB installer everytime you wanted to update a minor version..

Now the upgrade is slipstreamed and Firefox automatically downloads a small differential patch that installs itself without having to download the whole installer. It works just fine, I’m writing this via Firefox installed via the new upgrade mechanism.

Other than that there’s not a hugely noticeable difference between 1.5 and 1.0.7, I held of upgrading to 1.5 for quite some time to make sure it was ok before I did.

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9 Responses to My Experience with Firefox 1.5 & Memory Leak Problems

  1. Fuckstress February 3, 2006 at 1:18 pm #


  2. hedonistics anonymous February 3, 2006 at 1:55 pm #

    i downloaded tab mix plus because according to the reviews, it is suppose to be better and less buggy compared to tabbrowser.

    you can try fasterfox extension for faster browsing.

    Extensions i absolutely cannot live without is flashgot and pdf download. great for extreme downloaders and pdf viewers like me! 🙂

  3. xlx February 3, 2006 at 2:10 pm #

    I noticed that too when I checked my task manager – Firefox 1.501 used up 150mb of my 256mb ram. I think the best firefox version is still 1.0.

  4. Dabido (Teflon) February 3, 2006 at 3:11 pm #

    FStress – those aren’t Ladybugs, they’re elephants.
    [He says with KY’s impending wrath being forthcoming] 🙂

  5. lionel February 3, 2006 at 8:04 pm #

    Actually, I noticed a huge difference when I upgraded; it’s faster and much more stable. Big ass improvement for me.

  6. Chris Chong February 4, 2006 at 2:29 pm #

    Never really thought about memory usage until you mentioned it – I can’t say for sure if the same problem occurs in the Mac OS X version of Firefox 1.5, since it’s already updated itself to

    In any case, Firefox seems to be fine, although it seems to require more processor time and memory than Safari 2.0.3 (OS X’s bundled browser) – even when idling.

    Firefox also takes a bit longer to render most pages and doesn’t have the same silky-smooth window scrolling as Safari. But unlike Safari, Firefox tends to render more pages correctly.

    Interestingly, the gamma and saturation of the viewing windows for both browsers appear to be slightly different – something I’ve not really noticed before either…

    Firefox is my browser of choice, but there’s still room for improvement – especially in terms of speed.

    For more details, view this screenshot.

    Take note that it’s typical of OS X to allocate huge amounts of virtual memory for even the tiniest applications.

  7. Intensecure February 4, 2006 at 11:30 pm #

    Same here, hate the memory leak, which can be huge! Now I’m trying IE7 RC2, but hey, guess what? Your blog “breaks” IE7! It keeps repaginating and reloading the page every few seconds – give it a try!
    Any idea why?

  8. jack0 February 5, 2006 at 3:16 am #

    i noticed 1.5 memory & cpu usage as soon as it release.. tryed a few day.. and reinstall back 1.0.7
    now this patch.. hummm…
    let us know of the memory update thingy ok

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