A slow browser can really ruin your day. It can make your entire computer feel lazy and put you in a choleric mood. In my experience, when most people claim their computers are slow, the browser is usually to blame.
Today I want to show you how to use Firemin to optimize the way Firefox handles memory.
Most people open a browser, bang out a few websites and then leave the tabs open. This makes it pretty convenient to pick up where you left off but it can also drag browser performance to a glacial pace.
To see what I’m talking about, check out my task manager in the screen shot below.
Firefox already ousted Chrome and is gulping giant volumes of my delicious memory.
This is often characterized as a memory leak because the amount of memory consumed keeps increasing like the price of gas at the pump. The memory usage numbers inexorably climb higher and higher until the browser is barely functional.
Putting out fires with Firemin
When Firefox is working so hard that it feels like it’s going to spontaneously combust, it’s time to call in the Firemin to cool things off.
Firemin is a program that attempts to obviate memory leaks by running a safe API call multiple times per second which basically tells Firefox to stop being greedy with memory. Windows actually already does this but Firemin runs the API call more often and is arguably more effective.
Some people claim Firemin doesn’t really boost browser performance and so it might not work for you but it’s one of those things that you should try anyway. The worse that could happen is doesn’t work and you’ll just uninstall it. When it used it on my computer I noticed a near immediate performance boost so it worked for me.
No complaints here.
To use Firemin, head on over to rizonesoft.com, scroll to the bottom and click the Download link.
After extracting the zip, make sure Firefox is open and then double click Firemin.exe
And then… nothing happens!
Well actually it does but it’s kind of covert.
Glance over in your system tray and you should see what looks like a tiny globe with an amber fox flowing around it.
Firemin is actively optimizing Firefox for you. To see if it’s working just browse the web or kick open the Task Manager again to compare the memory usage results.
As you can see I went from 312MB to 1.9MB which is an appreciable change. Admittedly, my browser hasn’t been open as long as the first test; however, the immediate result of loading Firemin was still significant.
If you right click the Firemin icon in the tray you can adjust two important things:
- Tell Windows to launch Firemin at systsem startup
- Nudge the optimization slider closer to 500
In most cases you won’t crash your computer from playing with the slider. When Firemin says “The faster you set the optimization the more processing power is needed” your performance shouldn’t decrease more than a few milliseconds. You probably won’t even notice it.
One more thing: if you right click Firemin in the tray and choose Optimize Firefox you might have received a disconcerting alert such as this one:
Firemin uses the SQLite Vacuum function to optimize the databases. Although this function is safe, it cannot be undone. If you're not sure what the SQLite Vacuum function is, stop being daft and Google It!
SQLite is just a database program and is usually the de-facto database for client software such as web browsers. The VACUUM function is a SQLite command that cleans the database by copying the current Firefox database to a temporary database. Then it refreshes the original database and copies the temporary database back. It’s used to clean up the file structure and optimize searches. It’s a Firefox database rebuild.
Close Firefox before clicking Optimize Firefox. An ephemeral window flashes on the screen and disappears in the same instant it appeared.
It says “Breaking Firefox” in the title bar which might seem alarming; however, after running Optimize Firefox on my computer my Firefox not only still works but also feels a lot snappier.
Now relaunch Firefox and see if it’s faster.
I bet it is.
If you have any questions please share in the comments below!