Firefox usage/version questions...

Since I have a laptop (Macbook Pro), I tend to leave it on all the time (albeit asleep). Thus, my browser tends to stay open a long time. In that time, its memory usage goes slowly up from around 400 MB to over a gig. I’ve also found that during activity, its CPU usage tends to suddenly swell and spike, going from around 30% to over 100%, usually within seconds. The peak, sustained for about fifteen seconds to half a minute, is usually 150%, but often goes up to almost 180%. During this time, of course, FF is useless.

I’ve since quit and restarted Firefox, and I’m assuming, based on my few minutes use so far, that this alleviates a lot of those problems. So my question here is, does it really make a difference to the symptoms mentioned above, or am I being “fooled”? If it is a “correct” fix, how often should I restart, so the problem doesn’t get so bad? Are the sudden CPU use spikes somehow harmful to the laptop?

Also, is FF14 any good? What’s new, and what’s good/bad?

Thanks in advance!

I don’t know if my experience is relevant to you, as I have a Windows 7 laptop, but I found Firefox 12 unusable without frequent restarts. But I found an old Firefox 3.6 installation file in my download folder, and installed that instead. It works just fine! Except for the occasional website that needs the latest protocols, but those are few and far between. So far.

I find the same issues with Firefox (13.0.1 currently): excessive CPU usage after several hours - perhaps even a day - of browsing. There also seems to be a lesser problem where Firefox will develop a “heart beat” that fires every few seconds where the browser will be unresponsive for some fraction of a second. For example, scrolling down a page rapidly, the scrolling is smooth but gets “stuck” every couple of seconds then resumes as before. Restarting the browser makes it all better for a while.

ETA: this second issue has actually gotten better with new releases of FF; it used to be I couldn’t watch NetFlix at all without the video getting stuck every couple of seconds, but I see this quite a lot less now.

To get rid of the second issue try disabling smooth scrolling, I had the same issue and that fixed it for me.

Well, I was using scrolling as a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. My second example was Netflix stuttering every couple of seconds when the problem was occurring. Basically the browser stops responding/playing/scrolling for a very short time every couple of seconds. I don’t know what triggers this; it does not happen when the browser if first started, and may not start happening for quite a while.

The other thing that helps is to occasionally clear your browser history. That makes it all peppy again for a few hours or days.

This is a good point; I never really had as much of a problem before the upgrade. I might consider this if it goes on for too long. OTOH, a friend says he has to do the same thing with Safari, so I’m not sure another browser would help all that much.

However, I don’t quite have it as bad as others here; my browsing has certainly been fast/good for more than “several hours.” My computer at work needs the quit maybe once a week (given similar symptoms - though I use Google Docs there a lot, and the scripts it uses are often a culprit), so if I can have what I have now with a quit once a week, I can live with that.

As for clearing history… How much of it? There are a LOT of different historical things you can clear, and if there’s one category that’s a particular culprit, I’d love to know which.

What sort of time lengths are we talking here? My Firefox browser is pretty much open all day, every day with no problems. Though it clears all my history when I close it at the end of the day and turn off my computer.

Ah, see, that’s the thing, at least for me; as I said in my OP, I never shut down my laptop unless I absolutely have to (it’s a tossup whether it’s less wear and tear that way or not, so I go for convenience). Thus I never shut down Firefox. It seems that alone causes problems (I only have three add-ons installed and active: NoScript, ABP, and Status-4-Evar), but if shutting the browser down occasionally means I don’t have the CPU spikes, I’m willing to do it.

I used to have that problem with Firefox before version 7, but not much anymore, unless I run a lot of Flash. I’ve thus always assumed the problem was with Flash.

The problem I have with restarting all the time is how dadblasted slow that is. They’re working on that right now, but it’s a very large undertaking, as it’s a complete paradigm shift in how Firefox should work. Part of it has been fix in 13, though–it will not reload all the tabs at the same time, but only reload them after you open them. That’s a life saver.

I just realized I forgot to mention something else that really helps. There’s an addon that adds a Restart option to your Firefox and File menus, as well as enables a restart shortcut (Ctrl-Alt-R on PCs, probably Cmd+Option+R or Ctrl+Cmd+R on Macs). And Firefox will restart exactly where you left off. In fact, this is where the “load on click” functionality I mentioned earlier comes in handy.

The addon is called Restartless Restart. (So named because you don’t have to restart Firefox to install it.) I use this addon so often I forgot it didn’t come with Firefox.

Sorry to bump this, but I just used Restartless Restart for the first time, and it IS nice and efficient! Thanks for pointing it out!

One possible question/concern I have is that FF’s memory usage seems to have gone back up to about 600 MB pretty quickly (it took 6 days to go up to 900+ when I just quit and reopened). Does Restartless Restart do anything that quitting manually doesn’t, or vice versa?