Gain control over how Firefox is using your memory

When your computer starts to slug up your initial reaction might be to give up (irascible users will have to resist the urge to smash the computer sledge style).  Sometimes you can fix the slow Fox with a few browser tweaks; however, that doesn’t always do it.  Also I have an insatiable curiosity about the why’s behind things.  Nuking my cache might fix my slow browser but I want to know why that fixed it so I can preemptively stop a future occurrence.

A well known plugin called about:addons-memory might be your panacea.

Thank God for the lucid mind of Nils Maier.  He created a this add-on that displays memory usage statistics about your extensions so you can see the biggest offenders.

Instead of wantonly killing all add-ons to boost browser performance you can now pinpoint resource hogs and make ham out of them.

Here’s how it works:

Head on over to the Firefox extensions page and click the big yellow Add to Firefox button.

The install is quick and doesn’t require a browser restart.

Firefox Memory Extensions

Firefox cordially blocks the installation until you explicitly authorize installation.

Firefox Prevented this site

Clicking Allow, pops open another warning box.  This might seem annoying at first until you realize Mozilla is scrupulously making sure you really trust the plugin author before you install it.  With the preponderance of web related threats and the rise in internet viruses, Mozilla is protecting you because it’s providing another layer to your internet safety.

Wait for the Install button to count down from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then click Install Now

Install Firefox Plugin

The install is so swift and discrete that you might not feel that anything happened… but it’s there you just need to know where to look.

Open a new tab and enter this in the location bar.

about:addons-memory

About Add-ons Memory

You’ll see a pretty little grid breaking down add-on usage.

I think all columns are self explanatory; however the explicit column might need a brief explanation.  This shows you the percentage of memory usage for a given add-on compared to the total Firefox application not just other add-ons.  All these stats work to form a mosaic of your hungriest plugins so you can decide which ones to remove.

When deciding which add-on to kill, pay extra attention to those that have a history of consuming more memory usage over time.

If your memory usage of a particular plugin was 200MB on Monday, 305MB on Tuesday and 315MB on Wednesday then you should be concerned.  This is especially a problem if the memory continues to climb even after closing tabs.

If your add-on is using less than a hundred megs of memory then it’s not really a big deal but 300+MB and growing could be a harbinger of bad news.  I would definitely disable or uninstall such add-ons.

Have you had success using this add-on? Let me know in the comments

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