How to Make Firefox Use Less Memory Usage

Written by jonah quant
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How to Make Firefox Use Less Memory Usage
Make Firefox use less computer memory by reconfiguring user preferences. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The Mozilla Firefox Web browser allows users to change the default values of hundreds of its configuration parameters. In particular, users can reduce the amount of computer memory Firefox uses to remember the results of previous downloads or of operations requiring substantial computations. The trade-off is that fewer remembered results mean that Firefox will have to recompute results that have not been kept around to save memory.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

    Shrink Image and Email Cache

  1. 1

    Type "about:config" into the address bar, then press "Enter" and click on "I'll be careful, I promise!".

  2. 2

    Type "browser.cache.memory.capacity" into the "Filter" text box at the top of the page.

  3. 3

    Reset "browser.cache.memory.capacity" to a smaller -- but still greater than zero -- value if it currently has a value larger than zero by right-clicking on the filter result. Select "Modify." Enter a smaller positive value -- it represents the number of kilobytes Firefox is reserving -- and click "OK."

  4. 4

    Set "browser.cache.memory.capacity" to a value greater than zero if it currently has value "-1" by right-clicking on the filter result. Enter a smaller value than the one listed in the following list for the amount of RAM in your computer:

    Physical RAM/Memory Cache (in KB)

    32MB/2048

    64MB/4096

    128MB/6144

    256MB/10240

    512MB/14336

    1GB/18432

    2GB/24576

    4GB/30720

    8GB and up/32768

    Click "OK."

  5. 5

    Create an entry for "browser.cache.memory.capacity" to a value greater than zero if the filter returned no result by right-clicking anywhere on the lower half of the page. Select "New," then "Integer" and then "browser.cache.memory.capacity." Enter a smaller value than the one listed in the following list for the amount of RAM in your computer:

    Physical RAM/Memory Cache (in KB)

    32MB/2048

    64MB/4096

    128MB/6144

    256MB/10240

    512MB/14336

    1GB/18432

    2GB/24576

    4GB/30720

    8GB and up/32768

    Click "OK."

    Shrink DOM Page Cache

  1. 1

    Type "about:config" into the address bar, then press "Enter" and click on "I'll be careful, I promise!".

  2. 2

    Type "browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers" into the "Filter" text box at the top of the page.

  3. 3

    Reset "browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers" to a smaller -- but still greater than zero -- value if it currently has a value larger than zero by right-clicking on the filter result. Select "Modify." Enter a smaller positive value -- it represents the number of previously visited pages Firefox is remembering -- and click "OK."

  4. 4

    Set "browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers" to a value greater than zero if it currently has value "-1" by right-clicking on the filter result. Enter a smaller value than the one listed in the following list for the amount of RAM in your computer:

    RAM /Pages

    32MB/0

    64MB/1

    128MB/2

    256MB/3

    512MB/5

    1GB/8

    2GB/8

    4GB/8

    Click "OK."

    Disable Image and Email Cache

  1. 1

    Type "about:config" into the address bar, then press "Enter" and click on "I'll be careful, I promise!".

  2. 2

    Type "browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers" into the "Filter" text box at the top of the page.

  3. 3

    Right-click on the filter result and select "Toggle."

Tips and warnings

  • Follow the process in the "Disable Image and Email Cache" section only if the processes in the previous sections have not reduced Firefox's memory usage to a sufficient degree.

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